Went to a beautiful wedding this past weekend and got talking to the wedding coordinator. She shared with me that the rehearsal was a bit of a challenge as the attendants ranged from age 5 to 26 and most had never been in a wedding before. I’m not here to talk about wedding protocol, but want to share this … the young men did not know how to offer an arm to the bridesmaids to walk down the aisle. Interesting …
I thought by the time a person reached their twenties, this skill would be commonplace. Guess I was wrong. I assumed this practice would have been introduced when a teen attended the 8th grade dance, homecoming, or the prom. And certainly role modeling was occurring, but maybe our young people weren’t paying attention. I understand that today’s generation doesn’t do the formal arm holding like they did decades ago, but let’s take a minute and teach both sexes how this process goes.
A few quick points when teaching this skill:
- Males offer an arm to a female as a courtesy and as a sign that they are “escorting” this lady from point A to point B (FYI- men take hold of a ladies elbow if they are offering assistance and stability on uneven, icy, potentially treacherous paths … they don’t offer an arm typically)
- Men should offer their right arm if walking on streets. (This stems from history when men walked on the outside, closest to passing wagons and cars. This allowed men to be the buffer from dirt or water splashes onto a lady. Guess the man was also there in case a vehicle swerved into walkers – lol. Also, swords use to be worn on the left, so that is self-explanatory.)
- During a wedding processional, the bridesmaid is offered the left arm. The “brides side” is to the left of the aisle and so the groomsmen would offer the left arm to keep the ladies on that side. (Note: Not all attendants will walk together in pairs in weddings today … it is the bride and grooms choice on how this goes.)
- To offer an escort arm, men need to simple bend their elbow to a 90 degree angle, letting their hand cross to the front of their body. The woman gently puts her hand under his arm and curls her hand around his bicep, close to the elbow. (How close the partners walk is dependent on the occasion and their relationship, but typically other body parts do not touch.)
Here is one site to reference and feel free to do more research (Gentleman Offering An Arm to a Lady), but please review this custom with any young person you know and start early. Have you ever seen an 8-year old offering a Grandma an arm? It is precious and a sign that this child is on his way to greatness!
Make the most of your day!