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shirleyann@weddings-nz.co.nz +64 09 524 6812 : 021 2838372

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you give me some information on what a bestman does?? I have never even been to a wedding and I have been asked to be the bestman at my mate's wedding. HELP!!

Your job is to look after the groom The following instructions are the traditional duties of the best man and can be varied in consultation with the bride and especially the groom as it is normally at his request that you 'stand up' with him.

The bestman usually arranges the 'stag night' but he also must make sure nothing horrible happens to the groom. Good clean fun is fine. But no stripping and tying him to a lamp post for the early morning motorists to find. If this sort of thing happens, the bestman is the friend who comes back quickly to free him and get him home intact and unharmed. Sillyness aside. The night before the wedding the bestman and the rest of the bridal attendants usually meet with the bride and groom and their families for dinner so everyone gets to know each other. A wedding rehearsal can be arranged before the dinner as well although often it is a week or so before the wedding day.

The bestman and the groomsmen get dressed at the grooms location and they travel together to the ceremony venue.

The bestman stands beside the bridegroom during the ceremony. He escorts the chief bridesmaid or matron of honour (the bridesmaid is called the matron of honour if she is married.) The bestman usually looks after the rings unless a page boy or flower girl has them on a cushion or nestled in a basket of flowers. A well trained dog has been known to carry the rings. Also a very badly trained dog has been known to run OFF with the rings. At the reception the bestman replies to the groom's toast "To the bridesmaids" on their behalf. (If the chief bridesmaid does not do so on behalf of herself and the other bridesmaids which often happens these days.) Generally the bestman tells tall stories about the groom in the best of taste please or recalls escapades from their childhood days if that is appropriate or about how long they have been friends. He reads out any messages of goodwill which have been forwarded to the couple via fax, e-mail etc. The bestman always reads the messages prior to reading them in public and weeds out those he feels are inappropriate, especially any containing sexual innuendo which older guests would be upset by. It is also the bestman's job to return the male members of the bridal party's hire suits. Please check the pockets in case anything of value has been left behind especially the marriage certificate which does not take kindly to being dry cleaned.

The following day the bride and groom and the wedding party meet for a present opening brunch/lunch or a farewell to out of town guests and the members of the bridal party are expected to be there as well. Remember you have been asked to support a friend at his wedding one of the most important days of our lives and if you keep the word 'support' uppermost in your mind, you will not go wrong. Enjoy the day

This is a very large and often confused question. First of all  the traditional grooms responsibilities.

Your first responsibility is of course the engagement ring. Also the wedding rings. (These days some brides often pay for their groom's wedding ring.) Traditionally the groom paid for the bridal flowers.(Even though they are chosen by the bride.) The bridal transport including the transport leaving the reception.

  • Gifts for the bridal attendants.
  • His own, his bestman and groomsmen's outfits.
  • At the reception all the liquid refreshments i.e.alcohol etc.

The Honeymoon.
Flowers for the brides mother the following day, to say thank you for a fantastic wedding and for her beautiful daughter.

Now days if the couple are already living together it really is up to them to decide how to spend their combined savings on the wedding. Howeve,r if your bride-to-be's family have offered to pay and just want you to help, the above are the bridegroom's traditional responsibilities. I am sure your future in-laws are prepared to sit down and discuss what they will be paying for and there can be some give and take during those discussions on who will pay for what.

Of course this area is the European bridegroom's responsibilities there are many and varied cultures in New Zealand all of which have other traditions. I am happy to answer specific questions on another cultures traditional requirements.

The bestman and the groomsmen arrange the 'Stag Do'. Often other close friends of the groom will help out both with ideas on what and where to go but also paying for the activities. The groom does not pay his way at all. Remember a trip to Tahiti has to be paid for by the bestman and groomsmen as does a 'keg night' in the bestman's garage.This is a time when everyone expects to have some real fun. This is the time, if anyone is going to get drunk it will be at the Stag Do NOT THE WEDDING or on the wedding day more about that later.

This is the time the bride has no say what so ever in what the groom gets up to with his friends. She should be well and truly occupied with her 'Hens Night' put on for her by her bridesmaids. Just remember that in the cold hard light of day that consequences will arise if foolish behaviour upsets a relationship, keep well away from 'entertainmen't which could cause harm.Good clean fun and lots of bevvies is the order of the evening.

As mentioned earlier do not have the Stag Do the night before the wedding this is best for the bride and grooms families and wedding party to get together for a dinner so everyone gets to know each other before the big day next day.

On the wedding day if the wedding is in the mid to late afternoon, the bestman and the groomsmen often 'entertain' the groom in the morning with a game of golf. Often it is the first game for all of them but a lighthearted competition is an excellent way to keep the butterflies at bay. The most important thing is for everyone especially the groom to eat something reasonably substantial at lunchtime. Especially if a few drinks have been consumed during the morning. The groom does not need to arrive at the church smelling of alcohol or in an innebriated state.

Do I give a present? What Should I wear?

Often in New Zealand weddings are held on the beach. Jeans are a no no smart pants and an open neck shirt fine but unless you know the wedding will be super casual i.e. the groom will wear jeans keep them in your clothes closet. You can always call the bride and ask her how formal or informal she would like her guests to be. Sometimes even the groom is not sure what the guys should wear. Afternoon weddings which will go on into the evening perhaps with a dance to follow stick to a dark suit, but make sure if you are wearing black pants to wear black socks as well.

A dinner suit is very rarely worn these days unless you are a part of the bridal party and you will not be overdressed in a dark suit. Light suits are fine for morning weddings with a luncheon style reception as they normally wind up by the evening.

The present?

You can give money, this allows the couple to buy or add to other gifts of money to buy something they really want. Send it in a card in an envelope saying who it is from. You can ask the bride if they have a gift register in any particular store. The register has a variety of gifts in a list which the couple have chosen as items they want. This allows you to choose the amount you want to spend without breaking the bank and knowing what you have given will be appreciated.

The wedding day.

Arrive about 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony and if in a church give the usher your name and the bride or groom's name as the person you are friends with. If a friend of the groom you should be seated on the right of the church. If a friend of the bride on the left of the church. In an outdoor setting just mingle with the crowd, talk to the groom if he is your mate or introduce yourself to him if he hasn't met you before. Do not start drinking, Weddings are fun for sure but no one likes a drunk at a wedding, the couple want to remember their day as a fantastic day not a day which cost a lot of money and was ruined by a drunk... You have to face everyone the next day as well. Leave the married women alone but by all means seek out the company of the single ladies. They will be pleased to have your company. You do not have to be the life and soul of the party as you do not want to outdo the groom after all it is his day not yours.

My partner and I are being married in April and we want to know do we give a gift to the bridesmaids, the bestman and the groomsman? Do they give a gift to us?

It is usual for the bridegroom to give a gift of jewellery to the bridesmaids. i.e.a necklace or a pair of earings to compliment their gowns on the wedding day. It is optional to give a gift to the bestman and the groomsmen, but if you wish to do so, cuff links are a popular choice.

It is not usual for the bridesmaids, bestman and groomsman to give a personal gift to both the bride and groom, other than the wedding gift as the guests do. It is quite acceptable for them to give a combined wedding present. The bride and groom often give eachother a gift.

My partner and I are paying for our own wedding yet my parents are insisting we ask all their friends, how can we get around this?

We are at present still steeped in the old wedding traditions but beginning to make our own rules for today's weddings. The old way was for both sets of parents to ask their friends and families and if there were any spaces left, the bride and groom could ask their special friends. But then, the Bride's father paid for everything (except the alcohol) therefore they felt they were entitled to arrange the guest list in conjunction with the groom's parents.

Today however, more and more brides and grooms are paying for their own weddings and parents have no monetary input at all. In your case Lucy, your parents in my opinion should pay for the guests they want to invite. However if your venue only takes 'X' amount of people and you have already filled the quota with your friends then you will have to explain to your parents -as you are paying for everything then your wishes take priority.

I do suggest a little diplomatic 'sit down and discuss' session which should work out the problem but be prepared to compromise a little and drop off half a dozen or so people just to keep the peace. Perhaps workmates you have considered inviting could be dropped off

What are the traditional roles of the bridesmaid? I am older than the bride, but never married, would I then be the matron of honour?

No you are still chief bridesmaid. Matron of honour is always a married woman. Normally, your chief function is to be the bride's witness and sign the marriage certificates.

As chief bridesmaid it is your job to arrange the 'Hens Night' with the other bridesmaids, talking to the bride to make sure you don't upset her by taking her somewhere she would hate i.e. a strip club if she is a modest wee thing. On the wedding day, you stand beside the bride and take her flowers during the ceremony so she can hold her fiance's hands at various times during the ceremony. You also help 'fluff' out her train if she has one or direct the other bridesmaids to do so if your hands are full of flowers. If you are the only bridesmaid, then the dress has to fend for itself unless the bouquets are small enough to manage in one hand.

You sit beside the bride at the reception and sometimes these days you can be asked to reply to the bridegroom's special mention to the bridesmaids for their help to the bride. That should all be sorted before the day so it is not sprung on you at the last minute.

Sometimes the bride may prefer the chief bridesmaid to wear her engagement ring to keep it safe till she is able to put it back on her finger in front of her new wedding ring. I always suggest to my brides that they wear their engagement ring on the right hand and change it back to the left hand while everyone else is signing the register but sometimes the right hand fingers are swollen with excitement and she cannot get the ring to fit.

The chief bridesmaid arranges to have a make-up bag ready for the bride and bridesmaids so they look great for the photos after all the congratulatory kisses which happen after the ceremony. The brides mother can look after a small bag usually during the ceremony and it is easily popped into the car later especially if there will be photos away from the ceremony venue. Dont forget a small can of hairspray, hair clips, safety pins (the guys often need a pin to secure a broken zip or replace a button!!!!). Sticking plaster for a heel blister perhaps. Remember it is a small bag for powder and lippy and hair comb or small brush mostly.

Your main job is to be there for the bride so she has someone to rely on to help when needed.

My mother wants me to wear a short, fingertip veil and I want to wear a long one which veil will be the right one to wear with my dress. It is very simple, white duchesse satin, long sleeves with points over the top of my hands in the old fashioned style and a full A-Line skirt, fuller at the back with a bustle finished off with a soft flat bow on the back of the waist.

Because the dress has all its emphasis on the back I can not help but agree with your mother the shorter fingertip veil will balance the dress where as the long veil will be inclined to take away from the emphasis on the back. Great you want to wear a veil, you will look beautiful I am sure.

I am considering wearing a veil over my face as I walk down the aisle before my wedding ceremony. Who takes it back, my parents, my bridesmaid or do I hand over my flowers to take it back myself? My mother says it should be the bridegroom's job what is the correct way to do this please? Tracie.

Tracie, so often these days I see the veil being taken back by the wrong people and it is no wonder to me that it is becoming an accessory not added to the bride's wedding dress much anymore. The veil was used in ancient times to show the young woman's purity and modesty and over time it has come to symbolise her passing from her family to the new beginnings with her husband. It is ALWAYS the bridegroom's pleasant duty to to take back his bride's veil NOT her parents or any one else. Your mother is quite correct. Enjoy your day and you will look very, very beautiful as your walk down the aisle with a shimmer of tulle over your face.

One of my favourite friends is to be married soon and I have not been asked to be her bridesmaid or be a part of any other important area of her wedding day. I would love to give her a wedding shower. Am I able to do this or will I make her feel uncomfortable, because she did not ask me to take a role in her wedding day?

What a great question! So often we have a large circle of firends and feel very sad we cannot ask 16 girlfriends to be bridesmaids! The answer to your question is: Your friend will be delighted to have your input and probably will suggest the type of shower she would like. Some suggestions however- Kitchen-Bathroom-Outdoors-His and Hers-Music-Recipes-Tableware-Wine..... The list is endless. Anything goes and you will find your friend will be very pleased you have been so thoughtful. It is also a good idea to ask work colleagues to the shower who have not been invited to the wedding. It gives these friends a chance to give a gift and wish the bride happiness.

My partner and I have been together for over 10 years and as we are expecting our first child we have made plans to formalise our partnership. We do not want a formal wedding ceremony and I do not want to be a 'bride' but we are finding it difficult to choose a ceremony and theme to suit us which will also suit our parents? Can you help?

Congratulations! A new baby how wonderful!

First of all, I have to ask, have you discussed the ideas you have with your parents? As a parent of adult sons and one of them who has a very long term unmarried relationship with his lovely partner, I have become so accustomed to them being 'a couple' I accept what they do as their business.

In saying this, I wonder if your 'collective' parents are the same? I am sure they will all be delighted with your news and be pleased to help. However, if this is not the case and I do appreciate the fact that you want them to 'feel right' about your ceremony, can I suggest you talk to them all together NOT separately, about your plans and what you would like to do.

Be prepared to take on board ideas and in the same context ask them to listen to your ideas/wishes. You could well be very pleased with the outcome. However please contact me again if I can help, should you still have dificulties.

My daughter is living in London and will be returning with her partner to New Zealand to be married in May this year. She has arranged most of her wedding via the internet from London and sent me copies of the e-mails to and from the wedding companies she has employed. However, I have heard the photographer has not been in the wedding photography business long and some reports of his work are not good. I am anxious my daughter will be disappointed with the result. What do you suggest I do? How can I check up on her choice of photographer without alarming her and perhaps creating 'bad blood' between them?

A very tricky problem! Can I suggest you go back to the source of the rumour "that the photographer's work is not that good." Find out from them on what grounds they have that opinion. If that fails, all the photographers I have worked with are very happy to show off their work. As mother of the bride, it would be very unusual for the photographer booked to 'shoot' your daughter's wedding, not to make a time for you to see his work. Only after seeing for yourself, would I step in and suggest to your daughter the photography is below par, but at this late stage, make sure you can engage another 'suitable' photographer for the wedding. Be aware, your daughter's deposit will probably be retained by the original photographer.

I am designing a friend's wedding gown and she has asked for flowers around the neckline of her dress as the only decoration she wants. However I am finding it hard to add them as she has a very full bust and I know the flowers will not be right. Any suggestions on how to tell her.

Tricky! I can see your point. Can I suggest you use your calico model with the flower idea and see if she realises then how it will look. Perhaps flowers in a feature at the back of her dress to balance up the larger sized bust could be an idea but you are the designer and I am sure you will have other, more suitable ideas.

I am at sixes and sevens as I hear so many conflicting opinions about the lingerie I should wear on my wedding day. Should I spend a lot of money on a torsolette etc or will my normal lingerie be enough?

My grandmother always used to say 'You must have clean underwear dear, just imagine how embarrassed you would be if you got knocked over wearing grubby underwear!"

Quaintly old fashioned but the ring of truth is definitely there. Consider the gown you want- will it have a low back? If so a normal bra would not be suitable. you would need to buy a bra which you could wear under your dress with out showing. A very old friend, a fashion designer, has always said "I tell my clients to purchase their underwear as soon as we have decided on the style of gown". This allows no room for mistakes as the underwear is worn to all the fittings and the gown is made to cover where necessary.

So in my humble opinion it may not necessarily be expensive but it must be comfortable yes you do need to purchase the correct lingerie for your wedding day!

This situation is becoming more and more common as either the bride or groom or both often have step parents. your choices I am sure have been considered and you cannot choose. The problem can be solved by asking a brother if you have one to be your escort, or your mother, or you may simply arrive with your attendants.

There are no hard and fast rules anymore about who should and should not be your escort. Maybe one of your stepfathers has been the caregiver you remember most as a child then he could be your choice. Maybe your mother would like her current husband to be your escort. All of them would understand if you chose your birthfather as your escort.

It could be an easy way out to talk to each of them and see how they feel. Evangeline which ever way you choose remember it is your wedding day!!

The easiest way of getting round the 'whom walks out with whom' is for you and your new husband to greet both sets of parents as you leave then they are obliged to stay where they are until you have left. They all find their own way out with the rest of the guests. Or you can have them come up to you and greet you immediately after the ceremony, followed by the other guests. This is the easiest solution in the open such as a garden setting or on the beach.

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