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Malcolm In The Middle Ages

My fiance and I are having a costume wedding. We thought having everyone dress Renaissance/medieval would be a fun alternative to stuffy black-tie. The problem is, my fiance wants his brother to be his best man, but the guy simply refuses to come in costume. How can I get over the resentment I feel toward his brother for not wanting to fully participate in our wedding?

--Maid Marian

It’s no surprise you long for days of yore, when it was much easier to get the peasants to follow orders. Unfortunately, like most people these days, you only got engaged, not coronated. All you can do is hint how pissy you’ll be for the next 50-some years if you don’t get your way -- which, as a motivational tool, doesn’t have quite the same punch as the power to flick your scepter and screech to the palace guards, “Off with his head!”

It’s your party, and you’ll make him dress like Friar Tuck if you want to! Well, that’s one way of looking at it. But, look where it’s gotten you. Suddenly, what should be a celebration of love is degenerating into petty infighting over who wears the pants in the family -- and if they can demand the rest of the clan wear knickers, curly-toed shoes, and tights.

Ask yourself what really matters: whether your wedding is the epitome of medieval accuracy, down to guests who smell like they bathed once (back in 1434) -- or whether everybody feels included. (“Well, having a historically accurate wedding, of course!”) If that’s how you see it, you’re probably feeling relieved you’re marrying your fiance, not his stuffybutt brother. Um, not so fast. You don’t just marry a person, you marry into a person’s family -- which means you’re vowing to spend at least part of the rest of your life with everybody from the groom’s brother to his flatulent Aunt Frieda.

In other words, it would behoove you to stop stamping your feet and insisting everybody meet your needs and start smiling and inquiring about theirs. But, wait, isn’t this supposed to be your wedding, that “most important day of every girl’s life”? That thinking is not only vomit-inducing, it’s what gets the mother of the bride chasing the mother of the groom with one of those spiked balls on a chain -- typically, over life and death issues like whether the centerpieces should be calla lilies or bud roses.

Shift your priority from getting married to being married, and your wedding could be a training ground for compromising for the greater good -- a skill you’ll be needing frequently once all the jesters and serving wenches go home. Consider that there just might be people out there (your fiance’s brother, perhaps?) who are horrified at the prospect of appearing publicly in, say, green control-top leggings and pointy elf ears, and worse yet, having their paunchy elf self preserved in your wedding album for posterity. Maybe now would be a good time to tell the brother and other guests you’ll have period hats and masks on hand, but all that really matters is that they’re there, stifling their snickering the best they can -- I mean, sharing your special day.

How can you get over the resentment you feel toward the fiance’s bro for not dressing up? Well, about the same way he’ll get over the resentment he feels toward you when he’s up there in a suit and tie looking like he’s trying to sell insurance to the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Posted by aalkon at May 18, 2006 6:27 AM

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Jesus, wtf is wrong with people? Last I heard, the best man's job was to hand over the ring at the appropriate time; what the hell is this shit about "not fully participating?"

Some people need to be shot before they can breed, I swear. Especially people like this twat who apparently have had one glass of shitty mead too many.

Posted by: Kim at May 18, 2006 12:59 PM

Heh heh...love that bit about the "one glass of shitty mead too many!"

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 18, 2006 1:57 PM

You missed the boat on this one, Amy. The brother obviously doesn't care about the fact that he is screwing up the bride and groom's memorys of (it sounds like) the first wedding for each. If he hasn't got the grace to withdraw, he should simply be replaced as best man. In this case the bride and groom should give the best man a gift, a bottle of prune juice.

I was in similar circumstances at my son and his bride's wedding. Her family is of Scottish descent, and the wedding was held in Scotland. We aren't Scottish, but I wore the kilt (against my first inclination) anyway. The last thing I wanted is their remembering me as the guy who uglied up the wedding. It also ended up being fun wearing the kilt, and I'm the kind of person who ordinarily resists fun. My kilt pictures are preserved forever for anyone who wants to look at them. Big deal.

Final thought. To hell with angering the family. If all reasons for conflict are removed, in-laws will manufacture the reasons for conflict.

Posted by: Herb at May 18, 2006 2:13 PM

You, know, my brother was best man at my wedding. And if he ever gets married, I hope I'm picked as his best man. I can see it now: a beautiful outdoor chapel, the blushing bride in her gown, the flowers, the huge cake. But you know what--I hate wearing suits. I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. So that's what I'm wearing. I don't care if it's his big day--I think tuxedos are goofy looking, and I don't wear one. If my Airwalks and my Spiderman shirt aren't good enough for him, well, maybe he can lend me a clip-on tie for the day, but other than that, too bad. So you tell 'em, Amy!

Posted by: Jeb at May 18, 2006 4:06 PM

Jeb, I live in Santa Cruz, land of the crunchy hippie, and I can think of no one who would allow you to show up to their wedding dressed in jeans and a tee. I hate wearing dresses but I wore one to my graduation and I'll wear one to anything else someone asks me to because I know that the day is not all about me. It's a sign of respect. But if someone asks you to borrow the wardrobe from First Knight, I do think you have the right to decline. But going to a special day in your every day gear just looks lazy. Please tell me you own dress slacks?

Posted by: Alanna at May 21, 2006 12:59 AM

I like you, Alanna. (And would you please tell them to pick up my column already in Metro Santa Cruz!)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 21, 2006 8:30 AM

Herb's right. You only get married for the first time once. And no matter how incredibly, mind-blowingly stupid this idea is, it's his brother's duty to show up in costume. It's only for one night, right?

Posted by: Kevin_M at May 22, 2006 6:15 AM

I am amazed that people actually agree with this bimbo-bride. I guess some folks didn't get shot before they bred...

Amy's suggestion - putting out masks and hats - is the perfect, welcoming, inclusive solution by the hosts. Those not so into dressing up could still participate at their own level of comfort. I would add fans to the masks, so the couple's single woman-friends can coquettishly flirt with their bachelor friends... nothing like a wedding to put folks in the mood...

Last time I checked, people show up at Renaissance Faires and dinner theaters in their own clothes - it's the hired help that does the Disney thing.

Posted by: Ben-David at May 23, 2006 1:16 AM

Alanna, I'm pretty sure Jeb was being sarcastic ;-)

Amy - I gotta say I don't agree with this one. Guests, sure - they shouldn't be required to be in period dress, but members of the wedding party are obligated to wear what is decided on by the bride and groom. Besides, I don't see how it could be any worse than some hot pink chiffon number that makes you look like a great mate for a flamingo ;-)

Posted by: Anne at May 26, 2006 7:04 AM

Anne & Alanna: I'd bet Jeb was serious. I went to a wedding for a childhood friend where a member of the groom's family showed in a T and baseball hat, turned backward. This same dumbass showed at the bride's father's funeral a few years later in the same outfit. Pathetic. Common opinion was that his goal was to draw attention to himself and it worked - 10 years later I still remember this loser.

Posted by: Ang at May 26, 2006 10:11 AM

I'm still trying to stop laughing..........LMAO This has got to be the stupidest predicament I have ever heard and Amy your "advice" was priceless. The visuals are just too good. Jackasses like the bride and the groom deserve each other and I for one don't blame the brother for not wanting pictures of him in that crap floating around for his buddies to give him hell about for the rest of HIS life.

Posted by: Amy at June 13, 2006 11:38 AM

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