It’s wedding season, and that means blushing brides are donning dresses they’ve dreamed of all their lives to marry grooms they can’t ever imagine fighting with in ceremonies and at reception halls where nothing could possibly go wrong.
It also means that little boys everywhere are fighting their adults to march ceremoniously down aisles to celebrate occasions they do not understand in itchy clothes they can’t wait to remove. (I’m sorry to spill the beans, brides, but I’d be lying if I told you that your ushers and ring bearers participated in your weddings for love. They’re primarily there because their parents made them. And for cake their parents have promised them if they make it to the other end of the aisle.)
Saturday, as all three superheroes participated in the wedding of their much-loved cousin to their NEW cousin whom they all just adore, we got a peek behind the curtain. Because there’s an entire secret life that happens behind that Pinterest-perfect wedding party photo that brides frame on their walls for an entire married life to come. Those bowties don’t just show up without stains on them on their own!
After wrangling three superheroes in wedding clothes by myself this weekend (Super-Spouse was, of course, gone), I decided to write a manual. For the love of all future parents of ring bearers.
The Ring Bearer Instruction Manual
Step 1: Purchase assigned ring bearer clothing. Try on purchased ring bearer clothing. And then, the day before the wedding, try it on again. Because if your superheroes eat entire Costco-sized containers of grapes for one afternoon snack, their shoe size may indeed change between the time you PURCHASE wedding shoes one month before and the time said shoes must be WORN. (Note: If superhero shoe size has in fact changed, simply stuff foot into shoes, give lesson on toe bending and offer copious amounts of cake following the service if superhero can pretend to smile through photos.)
Step 2: Properly prepare ring bearer with instructions. And possibly a good analogy. Superhero 1, who finished The Lord of the Rings trilogy on the car ride to the wedding state, kindly compared his little brother’s ring bearer job to that of Frodo. “You have to protect the ring and get it to Mount Doom,” he told his youngest brother. “Marriage is Mount Doom.”
Step 3: Shower and dress ring bearer approximately seven seconds before departing for the wedding. This will ensure that all clothing remains pressed and pristine and still appears as if you actually ironed it at some point in the day. No one can hold you responsible for the wrinkles that occur when the ring bearer rolls around on the ground in the church foyer waiting for the ceremony to begin. You did your best, soldier. Stand proud.
Step 4: Bribe ring bearer with reception dessert. Yes, we know that you never believed in bribing before you became a parent. And we know this is improper motivation and the kind that will rot your little angel’s teeth. We’re morally against bribing, too. But today is not about good parenting. Today is about survival. And one reception cupcake may make the difference between ring bearer participation and ring bearer humiliation. (If only we had learned bribery with Superhero 1, he may not have stripped his suspenders and angrily threw rose petals at wedding attendees as he walked down the aisle of my sister’s wedding eight years ago. Trust me. We’re seasoned now.)
Step 5: Do not for any reason offer the ring bearer pillow to adorable miniature groom more than three minutes before walking down the aisle. This is for two reasons. 1. He will discover that, although he has spent his entire day DRESSING for this important job and rehearsing it multiple times the entire night before, and his title implies that he may, in fact, get to BEAR a ring, he actually gets to bear NOTHING. There is no ring. The stinking best man, who also gets to stand beside the groom, give the wedding toast and play all day with the groom, gets to hold the ring. While you, the ring bearer, get to bear … a pillow. 2. When he discovers that all he gets to bear is a pillow, the pillow will immediately become a tossing, football-like device that he can throw at other wedding party children. AKA, his brothers.
Step 6: Pack an entire cooler full of snacks. Because by the time your little mini groom makes it down the aisle in his monkey suit, takes pictures in his monkey suit, stands in a reception line in his monkey suit and participates in all the beautiful traditions that those in monkey suits do on this special day, he will be hungry. And because the reception may be at a different location, you may have to drive starving superhero to secondary location … where he will then wait for the bride, groom, best man (that ring-stealing thief) and wedding party to arrive. And be introduced. And be seated. Before HE can get in the food line he has been oogling for the previous hour. Only YOU can prevent hangriness.
Step 7: Celebrate. Because whether your little ring bearer acted like a superhero or a villain on his wedding day debut, at the end of the day, the bride and groom are still married, little man is still alive and YOU get to enjoy dancing, cake and hopefully one photo you can post to Facebook to dupe all your online friends into believing that keeping little boys both clean and smiling in itchy clothes without actual rings to bear is a breeze.
It’s the little things. :)