do you do when you have brothers and/or best mates
than the ideal number for your wedding party? This
can be particularly difficult if you come from a
It is not uncommon for brothers to tell you
(particularly if you are the groom) "
. When you add close friends
to the mix, it becomes even more difficult.
Emotional blackmail aside, these people are
important to you, so it is a challenge to find a
solution that doesn't scream favouritism or damage
your relationship with any of them.
One of the issues is that most people don't think
beyond being a groomsman when they have expectations
of playing a significant, but non-speaking, role in
your wedding. But there are so many more
possibilities, so let's have a look at those before
we talk about the logistics of who to choose and how
to do that in a way that feels fair to everyone.
While not a common part of Australian weddings,
borrowing the custom of the groom making a formal
entry down the aisle, accompanied by his best man
and groomsmen, is gaining popularity. Expand it to
include his whole group of brothers and besties
and it becomes a jubilant way to include all of
them. Those do not all have to stand up with him.
Reserved seating near the front works very well.
To marry legally in Australia requires that each
of you has an adult witness present. This is a
role of the utmost importance because without
their presence, there would be no marriage.
Traditionally, the bride has been preceded by one
or two small girls who scatter rose petals in her
path. Recently, couples have been thinking very
much outside the box, including substituting
Flower Dudes, adult males who ham up the whole
thing. A Flower Dude or two can not only start
your wedding on a fun note, it gives your special
male person(s) a starring role, and an opportunity
to be as out there as only he can be.
Ring Bearer / Presenter
of the Rings
I've always preferred to have the rings presented
to the couple by an adult. It works so much
better. So, even if you do have a child ring
bearer carry the rings down the aisle, an adult
can formally take the rings from the child and
formally present the rings to the couple. Makes
An age-old custom is for the marrying couple to
share some sort of drink during the ceremony. In
modern wedding ceremonies we see it in several
- Loving cup - sharing of wine, water or some
- Quaich - the Scottish traditional
- Wine blending ceremony, usually a mixing of
white and red wines
- Water and wine blending ceremony
In all of these rituals, the vessel and the
drink can be formally presented, rather than
just placed on a table for the celebrant to pick
up and present at the appropriate time, or for
the couple to pour. The person doing the
presentation can also, where appropriate to the
ritual, carry both the vessel from which the
couple will drink and the drink itself (eg the
empty quaich and bottle of whisky) and pour the
drink into the vessel before presenting. It can
be very theatrical.
Men can and do tie knots! And if you're having a
handfasting the celebrant does not have to do the
physical tying. Let your celebrant do the
narration and choose one or more besties to do the
placement and the tying.
Adapt the Sand Ceremony
Being a relatively recent "invented" tradition, a
sand ceremony can be adapted to include anyone you
want to include and mean anything you want it to
mean. Have two central vessels, one for each of
you, instead of one representing the two of what.
Involve all of your besties, give each a different
colour, decide what these colours will represent
(what they bring to your friendship, is one
possibility, another is the qualities they have
that will support your marriage), and at the
appropriate time, have them come forward to pour
Readings and Speeches
When couples are looking for a role for male
friends or brothers, one of the first suggestions
anyone makes is usually a reading in the ceremony
or a speech. Both are very worthy roles, however,
if you are dealing with trying to give numerous
people equal roles, it might be better to choose
people outside that group.
Allocating roles without
There is only one way to completely avoid hurt
feelings when allocating roles - step completely
aside and let luck do it.
Pulling names out of the hat is something everyone
in Australia understands. And it works brilliantly
when you have to choose one or two people from a
When you need to allocate differing roles among a
defined number of people, a slightly different
take is required. Put the roles in the hat and let
your people each pick one. Simple! You are
hands-off, and no-one can manipulate it, or
imagine that the process has been manipulated.
Fun variations on the roles in the hat
method are some that work really well with a group
- Beer-bottle lottery
- Shots lottery
Get all of your blokes together and set out the
exact number of bottles/glasses as there are
people vying for a role in your wedding. Under
each stick a label on which you have written a
role. Let everyone choose their own
bottle/glass, and that's their role. If there is
any possibility that anyone will take a sneak
peak, just put a letter of the alphabet or a
number on the label, and have a prepared list of
what role each letter/number represents. To
further make sure that, even if someone has a
sneaky peak, nobody can use that knowledge to
their advantage, don't pick the obvious
consecutive numbers/letters starting at 1 or A,
pick random ones.