A Few FAQ’s

Posted by C&G on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do we have to have a bridal party? Can we really have an uneven number of bridesmaids and
groomsmen? Would it be possible for my best friend Joanne to officiate the wedding? Should the ceremony start on time? Does my father have to walk me down the aisle alone? Is a receiving line mandatory? These are just a handful of commonly asked questions that we often get relating to the ceremony and the do’s and don’ts that often accompany its planning. All are very straight forward and none of the answers rocket science, but sometimes it’s nice to have concrete responses from a professional. The most important part of the entire day relates to the exchange of vows and the ceremony itself. So as you plan your nuptials, make sure that the set-up that you have for the ceremony, religious or not, is one with which you feel comfortable. The questions that are most often addressed immediately about a ceremony relate not at all to the questions of marriage and how to ensure that you really are man and wife at the end of your ceremony. The first questions surround the tricky business of anointing those closest to you part of the bridal party. Depending on the ages of the couple (for those under 27) this is the most intense and exciting part of planning the wedding. Who gets to be my maid of honor; who will be
upset if they are not labeled a bridesmaid; how do I tell Marsha she is not in my wedding? All valid questions; here is how to break it down. Especially for women in their 30’s, bridal parties have gone the way of poofy sleeves; out the window. Your wedding party should be those nearest and dearest to you. If the bride only has three friends that she adores and the groom 10, while it might look slightly askew to have 10 groomsmen and 3 bridesmaids, that’s certainly not a reason to add to or cut from either side. The bridal party is not a fashion statement and it’s
not a décor piece (although once in place, they certainly can be used as such). It’s a way to surround yourself with those whom you trust and love the most and make them part of the inner circle on your wedding day. It’s not a time to repay friends for letting you be in their wedding party. Just because someone asked you to be her Maid of Honor does not mean that you have to reciprocate. If the feeling is not genuine behind the action, don’t take it. If you have two future sister in laws, but you only want one in the bridal party (and there is no good excuse – i.e. the second is 40 years older) as to why one would be excluded, for the sake of family harmony, consider giving each other roles to avoid hurt feelings. It’s all common sense, but we will often have clients look at us with genuine confusion and ask “what do the books say”. The bottom line of creating your bridal party and your recessional/processional (respectively who goes down the aisle when and how they all leave the ceremony area) is that you feel good about the outcome. If you have a situation where you want to bend tradition (i.e. who gives the bride
away) just be careful as to how you approach the situation, but make a decision that best suits you. These are decisions that you are going to have as memories for the rest of your life and at the end of the day, the people who make up your bridal party (anyone who is part of the
processional is how this is categorically described) should be those you love the most. Usually once the question of who gets to wear the dress and the rented tuxes are answered, everything else is a bit more straightforward. Generally, for religious ceremonies, couples often choose an Officiant that represents their faith and often, whom is already known to the family. If you want a religious ceremony, but no such person is known to you, or if you are getting married far from home, finding a religious Officiant is very easy; there is someone for every faith that can be
brought in for the ceremony. After Joey on NBC’s hit show “Friends” officiated Monica and Chandler’s wedding, we saw a huge up-tick in couples wanting friends to marry them. While this is a lovely sentiment and the internet has provided quick ways for regular people to be ordained, you must make sure that the chosen friend can eloquently administer your vows. And, if you
choose a friend, make sure that he or sure can project well and speaks easily in front of crowds. This like marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. Determining if you are having an on-site or off site ceremony is one of the first questions that should be answered as this will automatically set the stage for the rest of the day. Timing for a ceremony depends greatly
on the venue; many catering location and churches will not allow a“fake” invitation time, whereas all Jewish weddings mandate a ½ an hour earlier invitation to allow for the Ketubah signing. Make sure that your venue or house of worship is aware of the invitation timing; don’t
just assume that they will be ok with whatever time you choose. Receiving lines are not common anymore, but still done occasionally. Please allow at least 10 minutes for every 100 guests when calculating the timeline; not everyone just walks by with a kiss. We often advise that greeting guests during the cocktail hour or the reception is more enjoyable for the couple and attendees. But for more traditional ceremonies, a receiving line can be a gracious way to welcome and
thank everyone more formally.

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