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DENOUDEN: Work the wedding

Candy DenOuden

Engagement and wedding announcements have come pouring in, and the bridal industry is well into its full-skirted bustle and hustle. Must be June.

Wedding season, unlike Christmas, does not fill me with awe, wonder and sheer, unadulterated joy at all the sparkles I will get to look at for the next 30 to 60 days. It does, however, bring its own sense of pomp and circumstance. Much like death and taxes, it's a certainty that we've all been affected by the wedding world in some way.

Despite that, so many people seem uninformed about how to behave at a wedding. Especially amid the rising tide of "I saw it on Pinterest!" do-it-yourselfers, good help is necessary to make the big day a success. Sadly, such help seems as elusive as ever.

I'm going to naively believe ignorance is most people's problem, and that a simple "how-to" guide might help. That's where I come in.

Who am I, a single youngster, to offer advice? Please review my qualifications:

--Bridesmaid (four times);

--Maid of honor;

--Personal attendant (four times):

--Flower pinner-onner;

--Gift stacker;


And, oh yes, multiple-state wedding guest. The first years after I graduated from college closely resembled the first hour of "27 Dresses" (still waiting for that end part), as I essentially worked to make enough money to travel from one wedding to the next.

So, I have a pretty good idea -- or at least I have pretty solid opinions -- of what is, and is not, expected and acceptable behavior in various wedding roles.

Here is a guide:

--Guests: RSVP. Bring a gift -- and please, use the registry. There are few times in life when someone literally lists out exactly what they want. Take advantage. On the wedding day, you sit in a chair, you listen, smile and clap at the appropriate times. Then, you eat, maybe dance, have a drink, some cake -- then you go home. Pretty simple.

--Wedding party: If you're a bridesmaid or groomsman, your job is to wear what you're told, show up on time, smile for pictures, have fun and be supportive. Ladies: Keep tissues on hand at all times. This includes the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony and the reception at the very least. Find out if the families need help beforehand, and pitch in (yes, out-of-towners get more leeway on this). Think the dress makes you look like one of the ugly stepsisters? Tough. Hate wearing ties? Sorry. Take solace in the knowledge that, if you haven't already, you will have your turn dressing friends up in expensive formal wear and making them stand in front of people they don't know. And there are some perks. When else do you have an acceptable excuse to buy washable markers and write ridiculous things all over your friend's windshield? (I also recommend balloons, streamers and confetti.)

--Maid/matron of honor or best man: This isn't just a title to make you feel special. It's a job, so work it. Your mission is to help with whatever is needed, from decorations to invitations to dress shopping to vows to moral support. This typically requires more effort than just showing up on The Day. This often happens naturally, because theoretically, the maid of honor/best man is the bride/groom's best friend -- so it makes sense for them to come early, stay late and help with whatever. In rare instances, though, I've seen negligence. Don't let that be you. Basics: You will be responsible for bachelor/bachelorette party planning. You could be responsible for making sure the bride and groom are ready on time, and have their rings/flowers. You will give a speech. You will not be drunk when you do so.

--Parents of the bride/groom: It's your job to help your son/daughter plan their special day. If you decide to foot the bill, you will spend a lot of money and pretend it doesn't make you want to cry. You will not pick fights with exes/future in-laws. You might make a toast. You might do the parent/child dances. You might cry the whole time. (Again: tissues.) As long as you're there, and you're supportive, it's pretty open. And enjoy yourselves, for goodness' sake.

--Personal attendants: Wear comfy (but still nice) clothes and shoes, because it's your job to run whatever errand the bride or her retinue asks. This could include last-minute decorating, retrieving items forgotten in vehicles, cinching bridesmaids into their corseted gowns, or supply runs. For one of my more interesting jobs, I made a last-minute Ring Pop pick-up. It's never boring, I promise you.

--Bride/groom: Plan ahead. Delegate. Don't sweat the small stuff. And have fun, because, unless you want to be like Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, the objective is to only do it once.

So there it is. Weddings can be a blast, but it is something of a team effort. So, "go team!" and all that. Now that I've solved the wedding world's problems, I'll move on to the federal deficit or how to stop Disney from making sequels.