April 30, 2010

Better Men and Honored Maids

In my experience as the Church's official witness for nuptial consent, which is admittedly brief, I have observed a disturbing phenomenon. Increasingly, couples are unable to elect a singe Best Man and Maid of Honor. I know, it's awful to have play favorites, and in our PC culture everybody has to be a winner, but this business is a little silly.

To be honest, though, I don't mind the extra person on the bride's side. The way I do things, the Maid of Honor is the hardest worker in the whole ceremony, charged as she is with preventing the bride from falling down the stairs or ruining her makeup with tears, etc. She is responsible for the maintenance of She Who Is High Maintenance, and rightly so, at that moment. So having these two Maids of Honor isn't so bad.

On the other hand, I see no redeeming quality in having two Best Men. The Best Man is charged with two simple but critical tasks: making sure the groom doesn't faint or run away, and producing the rings on demand. Even in my short experience, the question of the rings is fraught with danger. "That's not my ring," said one of my brides once. "It is today!" I responded. To have two Best Men in this job would seem to me a violation of the Airplane Rule. Complexity increases the probability of failure. Keep it simple.

Finally, given that this is happening, I want to suggest some changes in nomenclature. There cannot be two Best Men; it is a grammatical absurdity. As St. Paul reminds us, though all the athletes compete, only one can win the prize, just as he also said that it is better to marry than to be on fire. Like Tyler Durden, St. Paul is full of useful information. If there are two of them, I say they are to be called Better Men.

The same goes for the girls, though perhaps with less force. I say we call them Honored Maids.


Tc said...

Keep it up with insights such as these and you'll be well on your way to "Doctor of the Church." :-)

Brother Charles said...


A spiritual director once said, "You seem to have a lot of insight, but for some reason it doesn't do you much good."

Sara said...

I know a bride to be who is probably going to end up with two maids of honor-- the one she wants and the one her future mother in law wants. Thanks for the reminder to keep this young couple in my prayers today.

Qualis Rex said...

Father Charles LOL! Too much. That comment from the spiritual director was the epitome of a backhanded compliment. Very much like, "your knowledge and expertise are lost in this discussion."

I really needed your pick-me-up today.

NCSue said...

In light of the importance of maintaining political correctness, how about we call ALL of them "persons of importance" or some such?

Joan M said...

There are never 2 Best Men. There is only one best man - any others are groom's men. They have nothing to do, except escort one of the bridesmaids down the aisle after the wedding. That's why there are usually matching numbers of men and women in the wedding party!