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Published May 22 2011

Tammy Swift column: Going from bridesmaid to the Captain of the Coffee

The comic hit of early summer just might be “Bridesmaids,” the new Kristen Wiig movie about the hilarious, outrageous exploits of a bride’s best friends before they march her down the aisle.

I guess such a film will enjoy better box office than one called “Matronly Aunts,” a movie about a gaggle of middle-aged women relegated to making pew bows and pinning on corsages at the wedding.

Unfortunately, if I had to be hired as a technical consultant for one of those films, it would be the latter.

My bridesmaid days were so long ago they can no longer be revisited. Let’s just say that the last time I was an attendant, the grand march was accompanied by an Outfield song and the groomsmen wore white deck shoes without socks.

But if you need an expert on how to cut cake or shoo those little kids away from the gift table, I’m your woman.

When I was a little girl, I first noticed these responsible auntly types commanding the coffee urns. They were sweet, blue-haired ladies in polyester pantsuits, and they perched on folding chairs at the end of the buffet line. They poured weak Folgers coffee from silver coffee pots and meted out sugar cubes and cream from tiny silver pitchers.

They also made sure some graceless wedding guests didn’t think they could hog all the Spanish peanuts and butter mints just because they gave the bride and groom a Salad Spinner.

But now I’ve realized something. I have become the Keeper of the Sugar Cubes. I am the Maven of the Mints, the Captain of the Coffee. Like it or not, I have joined the Order of the Matronly Aunts.

As such, I am fully qualified to guard the guestbook. (How else will people figure out they’re supposed to write their name and hometown on the next available line?)

I can pin corsages, pour punch and make sure the cocktail napkins are fanned out appropriately. In a pinch, I can chastise the wedding DJ for playing “Enter Sandman” too early in the evening.

My duties aren’t hard. They aren’t glamorous. They aren’t fun. In fact, on the “fun scale,” they range somewhere between “substitute teacher” and “safety compliance specialist.”

I have even told young couples they don’t need to give me a job. I assure them I really won’t feel left out at all. I will feel perfectly happy if I don’t have to figure out how to pin a cabbage-sized corsage onto a complete stranger’s strapless cocktail dress. I still don’t know how to get 72 rectangular slices out of a 14-inch cake layer. I make a truly ugly pew bow.

But someone needs to do it. Someone who is middle-aged, responsible and boring. Someone who has nothing better to do.

So please excuse me.

I have to make sure the groomsmen haven’t secretly decorated the newlyweds’ car.

Darned kids.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525 or tswift@forumcomm.com