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‘And the brother never quit crying’

Jerri Stroud, who’s directed “more weddings than I can count,” said all weddings are the same and different “because each individual puts her touches on her wedding.”

When she first started directing weddings in the 1970s, she said, “if you had three attendants, that was top line. And four or five, well you were pushing it.”

In the ensuing years, she said, she’s had weddings that featured 14 bridal attendants and one in which the groom had 17 attendants, including six “best men.”

Styles and colors of clothing have changed.

“Black is now a favorite,” she said of wedding colors.

She said when she first began directing weddings, she relied upon Emily Post’s etiquette book, for guidance, “and she’s still my rock.”

“There’a re bride’s books of all kinds nowadays,” she said. “Some brides, depending upon the age, look at a book and want some of everything in there.

“I tell them, ‘You can, it’s your wedding. But it’s not proper, “ she said.

She said she also discourages brides and grooms from singing to each other.

“I’ve seen it done beautifully,” she said. “But nine out of 10 times, when it gets to it, they can’t.”

Unexpected family feelings often spill at weddings, she said.

She shared a story of a minister who planned to officiate at his sister’s wedding.

“You need to have a back-up,” Stroud cautioned the brother. The brother assured all involved he’d be fine. But when Stroud learned that one of the groomsmen was an ordained minister, she quietly asked him to be ready to step in.

The wedding day came. The brother of the bride opened his bible, cleared his throat and tried again.

“When he could say another word, he burst out crying,” Stroud recalled.

The groomsman quietly took the minister’s Bible and conducted the ceremony.

“The brother never quit crying and never said a word!”

Stroud said it has been a joy to work with couples through the years.

“The Lord didn’t give me girls, but He gave me brides,” she said.