So you have this roommate from college who’s still a dear friend and has a voice like the sun rising over a frozen lake. Asking her to sing a song that’s meaningful to you and the groom will add a sweet, personal touch to your wedding.
Same deal with your buddy who’s a great, effortless public speaker. You know he’ll choose a reading that’s funny and touching. He can also add just the right note to your ceremony.
And your aunt who plays the hammer dulcimer can also help your wedding have a unique and personal feel.
But not all three of them. And definitely not your second cousin Kyle who just started doing open mics and has a tight three minutes of stand-up he’d like to do.
I’m not saying you can’t get strange with it. If your fiancé’s sister plays the bassoon like an angel, let ‘er rip. You just maybe don’t want to have every talented bud in your life get up and do or read a little something.
Your guests are there to see you get married. And that’s pretty much where it begins and ends. They don’t really need to hear twelve different readings. And, unless you come from very specific backgrounds, they don’t care who has more jugglers in the family. They kinda just want to see you get hitched and then get to the cake part, you know? If they’re expecting a half-hour ceremony, stretching things out to an hour is sort of mean, even if little Cheyenne’s card tricks are super cool.
With the first talented friend, your guests are thinking “Oh, how charming!” Friend number two may get a pleasant sigh, or a “How nice!” Special Guest Star number three is when they start to get nervous. You still have them, but there’s definitely a low-grade panic setting in. How many of these are there going to be? Act number four is when you’re hitting the danger zone. You may actually be hitting the point of being rude. Think very hard before you ask that many people to perform or read, and get candid opinions from at least a couple of the people who will be sitting through all this.
Culling the list to just a couple of friends will make your guests happy. You’ll have a wedding ceremony that feels inclusive and unique without making your guests start to worry about whether they’re going to have to bolt for the door or start cannibalizing each other to survive.
You may have a couple of loved ones who offer to do their kazoo rendition of “Sexy Back” or share some of their free verse, which may or may not be a good thing. And you may have to deal with bruised feelings when Clarice is asked to sing but Nell and her sousaphone are not given their chance to shine. My best advice? You and your groom should lie like rugs. Yes, I know, lying is wrong. Except when it comes to people and their talents. It’s not a good area to assume people will be able to use reason and have a little perspective. Tell anyone that you have to gently turn down that you don’t want to impose, and that you want to him or her to just be able to enjoy the wedding. And keep saying that for as long as you have to.
If your mom wants you to let your sister sing Hannah Montana hits at the wedding and won’t let up, give in and try to bear it with good grace.
Then take up the bagpipe. When her wedding comes around, you’ll get yours.