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How To Find Wedding Gift Boxes In South Africa
Date: May 10, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Favors & Gifts & Shopping

Hi Everyone,

I received this question:

“I am looking for a gift shop that makes lovely wedding gift boxes. Do you know of any shops in Cape Town?”

This was my reply:

Thanks for your email. Although I am not familiar with Cape Town’s shops personally I did find the following information for you.

How about Theletterpresscompany.co.za who are based in Cape Town. They sell a selection of handmade linen boxes, lined in paper and tied with satin ribbon - I had a look on their website and they look beautiful. Their contact details are:

P.O. Box 50189, Waterfront 8002, Cape Town
Email: info@theletterpresscompany.co.za

I also found a selection of handmade gift boxes in a variety of sizes made in Cape Town at Capementalhealth.co.za.

Alternatively, how about checking out online retailers at Bidorbuy.co.za. I found these reasonably priced handmade boxes which looked very pretty.

You could also consider buying from an online seller at Ebay.com. I found many sellers on Ebay who are willing to ship their gift boxes to South Africa. Of course you will incur a standard international flat rate shipping fee but you might well recoup this with the savings you make by buying from an Ebay seller.

Finally, you should take a look at artisan studios or craft markets in and around Cape Town. If craft markets are anything like British ones then will be an ideal place for you to find stalls with people selling their unique gift boxes. When I researched it I found that craft markets are held regularly at Kirstenbosch and Hout Bay.

I hope that this information helps you. Good luck with your wedding plans!

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Solving The Double Wedding Invitation And Gift Dilemma
Top Tips For A Waiter-free Wedding Reception
Top Wedding Tips For Officiant's Gifts
Tips For Handling Divorced Parents Sensitively At Your Wedding



78 Free Wedding Tips And Book

As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore. For example tips on wedding djs, getting guests to mingle, giving a great speech and tipping wedding suppliers to name just a few!

To give you a flavour of what to expect I have copied the types of wedding tips you will receive below:

Sample Tip 1 :

At the reception hall, fill baskets in the bathroom with miniature hand lotions, breath mints, hair sprays, and hair gels for emergency touch-ups. You may also want to put out a basket with a few inexpensive pairs of pantyhose and
some clear nail polish.

"Thanks for all the tips..and for making them genuinely "free".... the tips I found most helpful of your's were about etiquette ... it helps to remind brides of other people's feelings when they are getting caught up in their own! And that idea about giving framed pictures to the parents is one I will definately do! Blessings!" - Suzanne, US

Sample Tip 2 :

Don’t forget grandparents and other relatives who may feel “left out” during the preparations before the wedding. Take a camera along when you are shopping for your dress or looking at flowers.

Send pictures with a quick note that says, “Here’s me rubbing my feet after trying on shoes that were murder!” Or “Aunt Joan, the flowers were beautiful, but I wish you could have been there.”

"Just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful tips! I enjoy reading them every week!! I will use you're advice throughout the planning of my wedding and on the big day! Thanks again" - Dan

Sample Tip 3 :

For bridesmaids' dresses, consider separates, especially if you have attendants whose sizes and shapes vary widely. Skip the bridal stores and check out department stores for evening skirts and separate tops that are made of luxurious fabrics and trimmed with beading or embroidered details.

"Dear Emily your tips have been very helpful to me in planning for my wedding thank you for all of your help, looking forward to receiving other tips from you. Best Regards" - Cornelia, US


How To Announce A Belated Destination Wedding Reception
Date: March 26, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Destination Weddings & Etiquette & Gifts & Guests & Invitations & Announcements & Planning & Reception & Stationery

Hi Everyone,

I received this question regarding the appropriate wording for a destination wedding announcement:

“My son and his wife had a private destination wedding. I am getting ready to announce it in our hometown newspaper. They do not have a definite date for a reception - do I leave that off - or state that a reception date will be announced later? Please help.”

This was my reply:

Many thanks for your question.

If your son and daughter-in-law have not yet decided on a date, or the finer details of their wedding reception, then it is definitely advisable to leave this information out of the newspaper announcement. Wording for the newspaper announcement of your son’s wedding should be along the lines of:

Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Jones
announce the marriage of their son
Michael Nicholas
to
Amber Frances Franklin
on Saturday, the ninth of April
at
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Hawaii

However, I must point out that I personally have experienced the curiosity of wondering whether friends who have jetted off to get hitched on their own intend on having a reception when they return. Most friends and family of newlyweds want an opportunity to celebrate their newlywed status together! Not only that, but have you or the newlyweds considered the subject of wedding gifts? Most close friends and family will want to celebrate the marriage by giving a gift, regardless of whether there was a wedding ceremony and reception involved.

If you give some indication to friends and family that a late wedding reception will be held in the not-too-distant future then this will ease their concerns over gift-giving and wanting to celebrate with the newlyweds. Whilst there is nothing wrong with adding additional wording to the newspaper announcement I think that a more personal way to let important people know that your son has been married and that they intend on hosting a wedding reception in the future is for you (or your son and daughter-in-law) to send personal announcements to their friends and family. You could include in it wording along the lines of:

“A wedding reception to honor the newlyweds will be held at a date and venue to be confirmed.”

If you at least know the venue of where the wedding reception is going to take place (e.g. your home or the newlyweds’ home) then you could add:

“A wedding reception to honor the newlyweds will be held at 52 Lawson Court, Newtown. Details of the date and time will follow soon.”

Announcements such as these are best mailed out to close friends and family within a few days of the wedding ceremony or as soon as possible after the event.

I hope that this helps. If you need any assistance with ideas for organizing a formal or informal wedding reception check out wedding forums such as forums.weddingsolutions.com and hitched.co.uk which have unique tips and advice from other destination bride and grooms. Also, the knot.com have fantastic ideas for organizing your own wedding reception after a destination wedding.

Good luck and congratulations to the newlyweds!

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Solving The Double Wedding Invitation And Gift Dilemma
Date: March 25, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Ceremonies & Etiquette & Gifts & Guests & Invitations & Announcements & Planning & Stationery & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas

Hi Everyone,

I received this question regarding the protocol for double weddings:

“How do you word invitations for a double wedding? Do you have more than one invitation? One for the guests that are only coming for one party and one for both? Also, will guests feel that the have to bring a gift for both couples? How do we go about this so our guests do not feel that they have to bring a gift for the other couple?

This was my reply:

Many thanks for your question. In response to the first part of your question about whether you should share a wedding invitation with the other couple, the answer is definitely yes. If you are choosing to share your wedding day with another couple then sharing wording on a wedding invitation is inconsequential in comparison. By sharing a joint wedding invitation you will be ensuring that your wedding guests understand that they are being invited to a double wedding. As your wedding ceremony is taking place hand in hand with the other couple’s wedding ceremony your guests will understand why both couples’ names are on the wedding invitation.

Due to the fact that double weddings are not as popular as single ceremony weddings you are unlikely to find pre-printed standard wedding stationery conveying the double wedding invitation. However, you can choose a custom-made invitation to match your color theme and wedding style. These are easy to source on the internet or alternatively you might want to visit a wedding studio or local stationery store. The only limitation you will have when choosing your invitation is that it must have enough space to accommodate your additional wording for the double wedding.

With regard to wording for double wedding invitations please take a look at the sample wordings I have given in my previous post where I have listed a variety of contemporary wording options to cover most double wedding situations. However, as double weddings are not as traditional as single weddings, you should definitely feel free to create your own wording for the invitations, so long as the other bride and groom sharing your double wedding are in agreement with you and your fiancé! When choosing wording do remember to emphasize the ‘double’ nature of the wedding so that your guests are fully aware of the type of wedding they are being invited to. You don’t want to surprise them and have them thinking they are seeing double when they catch sight of two brides and grooms on your wedding day! This applies even more so if you do decide that you want to send separate wedding invitations to your own family and friends.

With regard to wedding gifts, it goes without saying that, unless your wedding guest is a friend or family member of both couples participating in the double wedding, that they need only buy a wedding gift for the couple that has invited them to the wedding. I know that the wedding invitation might well bear the names of both couples but your wedding guests will know that the invitation is coming from you (or your parents) to them.

As double weddings are not everyday occurrences the majority of your wedding guests will not necessarily know whether or not they are expected to bring a gift for the other couple. One way of getting the word out is to let your parents, wedding party, close relatives and friends spread the news for you. Even though this is certainly the easiest way to inform your guests that they need only buy a wedding gift for one couple, I don’t know if it is the safest way to ensure that all guests receive the same message. If you would prefer to make the matter of gift giving entirely unambiguous then the best way to do this is to deliver the message to your guests yourself and have the other couple sharing your wedding celebration do the same with their own wedding guests. Whilst it is wholly against wedding etiquette to mention gift-giving in the wedding invitation, you could add the information to your wedding website or communicate it by letter, email or over the phone. You could word it along the lines of:

“We are delighted that you will be joining Mike and I on our special day. If you were thinking of giving us a gift we wanted to let you know that we are registered at Macy’s and Crate and Barrel. Whilst Mike and I are excited to be sharing our double wedding day with Carol and Bob we wanted to let you know that you are not expected to bring them a wedding gift.”

Your guests will appreciate being given the heads up on this gift-giving dilemma and appreciate your honesty.

I hope that this helps with your double wedding planning. Check out my other post too for even more double wedding planning tips.

Good luck!

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Top Tips For A Waiter-free Wedding Reception
Date: November 06, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Catering

Hi Everyone,

I received this question from a bride-to-be regarding how best to manage a wedding reception buffet without using any wait staff.

"I plan to have a buffet at the reception. I will not have wait staff, but will be using china and glass. How can I be effective in having guests return dishes to a specific area once the evening meal is over? Also, when we have a toast, I plan to have champagne. How might I get this opened and served without wait staff? I thought about having the beverage in buckets at each table and asking groomsmen and relatives to open and pour at their tables only. What do you think?"

This was my reply:

With good planning there is no reason why you and your guests should not be able to enjoy a perfect and hitch-free wedding buffet. Although some couples might baulk at the idea of having no wait staff at their wedding reception I personally think that it will add an air of intimacy to your wedding buffet. Just you and your guests - how relaxing!

Wedding buffet clean-up

Here are my tips for how to effectively ensure that your guests return their used dishes to a specific area of your reception venue once the buffet is over.

♥ Discuss with the reception venue in advance the layout of the room and decide on where the best place to set up the station for soiled tableware is. They will probably suggest a rolling table with a garbage can nearby for uneaten food. Make sure that it is not going to look too obtrusive at your wedding reception. It is important to agree these details in advance of your wedding day.

♥ Ensure that the area where the soiled plates and cutlery are being returned to is clearly marked with a sign. This will help to avoid confusion of where guests have to leave their dishes - the last thing you want is your guests wandering around with dirty plates not knowing where to leave them! You could put together a sign politely worded asking all guests to return their used dishes and cutlery to the designated area, e.g. “Please place your plates here when finished. Thank you for your help.” and ask the reception venue staff to place it at the station for dirty plates on the day of your wedding reception.

♥ Before the meal begins nominate someone on your top table to include a few words additional to or in their speech reminding guests that there are no wait-staff. They could ask guests to help out by returning their used plates to the designated area. They could say something along the lines of:

“We hope you enjoy the delicious buffet and would ask that when you have finished eating please take your plates and cutlery to the designated clean-up area [and have them point in that direction so that your guests are clear where they should leave their soiled plates]”.

Remember to thank your guests for their co-operation with this. I think you’ll find that most people will be glad to help you out on your wedding day!

♥ As a back-up plan for those guests who forget, refuse or are unable to clear away their own plates politely ask (rather than nominate!) a couple of responsible groomsmen, bridesmaids or even a couple of helpful wedding guests if they would check that the tables have been cleared of dirty plates. Do this in advance of your wedding day so that you know someone has it covered and that you and your partner do not need to get involved in the cleaning up process!

Champagne Toasts

Whilst having wait-staff to serve drinks at a wedding is helpful it is by no means necessary. Your guests are very likely to be able to open a bottle of champagne and pour themselves drinks. I don’t think you will hear any complaints about this!

Here are my tips:

♥ I agree with you that beverage or ice buckets in the center of each table is the perfect way to display your champagne. It will be within easy reach for the guests on each table and will also serve as a sophisticated centerpiece for each table.

♥ There are lots of ice buckets available nowadays either to buy or to rent. Whilst silver ice buckets look elegant, if you prefer to co-ordinate the buckets to match the color theme of your wedding then how about clear plastic or glass buckets which can easily be decorated with beautiful flowers, trailing greenery and surrounded by candles in colors to match your wedding. You could also use silver or colored pails and decorate them to co-ordinate with your wedding style.

♥ Calculate how many bottles of champagne you will need for each table depending on how many adult guests are seated at each table. Remember that the average bottle of champagne will yield 6 flute glasses.

♥ Champagne is best served chilled so organize for the buckets to contain a mixture of ice and water for the bottle to sit in for at least 20 minutes prior to opening. It is not only preferable to serve champagne chilled but it is also essential as champagne that is too warm will foam over and spill when the bottle is uncorked. So ensure the champagne is chilled - you don’t want your guests sucking champagne off their dinner plates with a straw!

♥ Remember that some guests are scared of opening champagne bottles whether this is due to the loud pop sound it makes, the fact that they usually spill most of it and don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of your wedding guests or that they might never have opened a bottle before! Perhaps you should find a fun way to ask a guest at each table to volunteer to open the champagne bottles at their own table and serve the guests seated with them. You could place a card on each table or, even better, hang a little note off of the neck of the champagne bottle. On the card/note you could ask for a guest or guests at each table to open the champagne bottles and keep everyone’s glasses topped up for the toasts.

♥ You could also print up a helpful little note to help guests who are unsure about how best to uncork the bottles and place one on each table. Here is a sample:

1. Use a napkin to dry off the bottle a bit so you can get a good grip.

2. Remove the foil top and loosen the wire cage. Leave the wire cage in place until you are ready to open the bottle(beware as some bottles have enough pressure built up in them (especially if they have been shaken when being handled) that the champagne cork will fly out immediately upon taking the wire cage off).

3. Have glasses ready in front of you and remove the wire cage.

4. With the bottle upright drape the napkin over the cork at the top of the bottle (this will help to catch the cork rather than it flying across the room and hitting another guest!) and get a good grip on the cork.

5. Hold on tight to the cork. With your other hand get a good grip on the fat part of the champagne bottle and slowly and gently TWIST BOTH HANDS IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. As soon as you feel the cork forcing its way out, apply pressure to push it back in whilst continuing to twist it. This way the cork will be released with a sigh rather than a pop!


6. Take the cork and towel away and start pouring the champagne!

With the help of your guests there is no reason why a waiter-free wedding has to be more complicated than one with waiters buzzing all around your reception venue. By going it alone you and your wedding guests can enjoy an efficiently run yet relaxed and fun wedding reception!

I hope this helps.

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Top Wedding Tips For Officiant's Gifts
Date: September 15, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Budgeting & Ceremonies & Church Weddings & Civil Weddings & Etiquette & Miscellaneous & Planning & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas

Hi Everyone,

I received this question regarding gifts for officiants:

"I was just wondering, do you normally buy something for the Minister that is marrying you? If so, what ideas do you have."

This was my reply:

Traditionally Ministers, as with other types of religious or non-religious celebrants, charge a standard fee for officiating at wedding ceremonies. They are performing the service of marrying you as part of his or her profession and should therefore expect to be paid as such. If you are getting married in a church and if there is a standard fee applicable then it will be listed in the application you will have to submit to the church office prior to booking the church. An exception to this case is if you or your parents are a member of the church, in which case the Minister sometimes waives the fee.

How much?

If the church does not have a set fee, a cash gift is the most common and most practical way to thank your Minister. The appropriate range varies between $150-350. This might seem like a lot of money but you should equate it against how much time and effort your Minister has invested in your wedding - how many meetings they have attended with you, time spent on writing the ceremony, premarital counseling, travel costs (if appropriate), attending the rehearsal and of course the ceremony. When you add these all up then you will see that you are getting a real bargain compared to what you will undoubtedly be spending on other aspects of your wedding.

Usually when you pay a Minister they place the money in a church discretionary fund which they use for worthy causes in the local area. A lot of churches and other houses of worship run solely on donations. It is unusual for a Minister to keep monetary gifts for their own personal use. In this case, you might also like to give your Minister a personal gift to express your appreciation of all their support and effort in making your wedding day a success. Although it is not expected a small personal gift for the Minister is a nice thought.

Ideas for gifts

The gift you choose for your Minister need not be expensive, particularly if you are already paying the Minister a fee for their services. It should be something thoughtful or useful.

♥ If you know the Minister well buy them something meaningful such as small piece of jewelry (if they are female), e.g. a pretty brooch or silver pin shaped like a heart.

♥ Buy your Minister something to do with what they enjoy doing in their spare time. You might get some ideas for this from listening to their sermons (I discovered that my Minister was an avid football fan and I only attended two services prior to my wedding) or asking the Church Secretary what their hobbies and interests are, e.g. gardening, photography, sailing.

♥ If you don't know him/her well enough to know what they enjoy then how about a plant or flower arrangement - they are always a safe but popular choice.

♥ Again, for a Minister you don’t know very well, personal gifts that show thought are a photo frame, book, CD or a piece of local artwork.

♥ You could make a contribution to a charity that the Minister favors in their name.

♥ A useful gift is a gift certificate for a bookstore so that the Minister can buy books for personal fun, for the church library or for other people.

♥ Alternatively, you could buy the Minister a gift certificate for a local restaurant – everyone loves to eat out!

Top Tips

♥ If you are still unsure about how much money to give then ask other recently married couples in your area or church what they gave the Minister.

♥ If you are unsure whether to give a cash gift or personal gift to your Minister the best person to ask is the Church Secretary. They will be able to recommend how much your cash gift should be, and will give you ideas for a gift as they will know the Minister’s personal interests better than anyone!

♥ If you know the Minister personally or if they are a close friend or family member you might well feel uncomfortable offering them money. If this is the case then it is wholly appropriate for you to buy the Minister a gift instead as, or as well as, a cash donation.

I hope this helps!

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Tips For Handling Divorced Parents Sensitively At Your Wedding


Tips For Handling Divorced Parents Sensitively At Your Wedding

Hi Everyone,

I received this question from a bride-to-be regarding how to handle divorced parents in the run up to and during your wedding:

My parents are divorced and although both of them seem happy that I am engaged to a wonderful man my Mum is hesitant about me getting married; I think because of the way that her marriage ended. I am also very worried about how my parents will behave on our wedding day. We haven't booked anything yet but I don't want to be worrying on the day about my parents hurting each other. It's not as if they can't stand being in the same room together but my Mum often gets hurt and is sensitive to what my Dad says. What can I do?


This was my reply:

It is totally understandable that your Mum is hesitant about your future marriage. With the statistic that in some US states 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce its enough to make anyone pessimistic about a marriage working.

Make it clear to your Mum that you are fully aware that the divorce rate is high but you are optimistic and believe that you are lucky enough to have found your soul mate. Explain to her how much you love your fiancé and how your relationship is different to her and your Dad’s. You should reassure your Mum that every marriage is different and not all marriages end like hers. Remind her that she had good years with your Dad and you were a product of that, which I am sure she would not change for anything!

Whilst the prospect of your marriage should be a happy one for your Mum, try to understand that it is bound to stir up bitter-sweet memories for her of her own wedding day. Your Mum will have been anticipating your wedding day since you were a little girl and I am sure that she wants it to be perfect for you.

Point out to your Mum that as you have lived through and experienced second-hand the demise of her marriage, it has given you the knowledge of pitfalls which can occur in a married relationship and how to deal with them.

Try not to let any of your Mum’s negative feelings towards marriage influence how you view your future nuptials. Remember that your relationship with your fiancé and indeed your wedding day are unique to you. Enjoy the wedding planning process - this should be the most fun part for you and your fiancé.

There are bound to be difficult situations for both you and your parents on your wedding day. It is only natural that you are worried during your pre-wedding planning stage about how your Mum and Dad will behave on your big day. You want your wedding day to be perfect without any embarrassing or awkward confrontations. You say that they are able to be in the same room together - well, that is a start!

I recommend that before you start organizing your wedding and booking venues, setting a date etc. that you sit down and talk with both of your parents. Preferably you should speak to them both together or, if this is not possible, separately. Whilst you should not have to remind them of what is and is not acceptable behavior for your wedding day, you should communicate your concerns about possible clashes between them.

Remind them that they just have to get on together for one day which is important to you. Inevitably your parents’ thoughts will drift to their own wedding day but you should remind them that your impending nuptials are a time for looking forward, not into the past! The best scenario you can hope for is that they put any bad feelings they have for each other aside and come together to support you on your wedding day. At the very least they should be able to be civil to one another and maintain a cool composure in front of your wedding guests. They may be divorced but they do have something major in common, namely you!

Discuss with them your hopes and expectations for your wedding day and what roles you wish them to play in it. The more detail you can give your parents the better, so that they know exactly what to expect on your wedding day. Ensure that your parents both understand the logistics of your wedding day. They should know when and where they will be expected to be during your ceremony and reception. Avoid confusion and let them know this information as far in advance as possible - this is crucial to the smooth running of your wedding day.

I am sure that as child of divorced parents you have had to suffer divided loyalties before, but during your pre-wedding planning just try to take into consideration both of your parents’ feelings. They will both want to feel equally important on your wedding day. Ask them to tell you their apprehensions about your wedding day and try to come up with solutions which accommodate both of their requirements.

From what you say, it sounds like your Mum is quite a sensitive person, perhaps more so when in the presence of your Dad. Let’s face it, her daughter’s wedding is going to be an emotional day for her anyway so do expect some tears from her! However, there are some precautions you can take to preserve her emotions and ensure that there are no full-blown family dramas between your parents on your wedding day. Here are my tips for dealing with possibly difficult aspects of your wedding day.

Seating divorced parents

It is understandable that a common concern for a bride whose parents are divorced is where they will sit during the ceremony and the wedding reception. Remember that there are no rules about divorced parents having to sit together at their daughter’s wedding.

During the wedding ceremony

If your parents are able to be civil to one another then seat them together in the front row. If you think that this might be awkward and that they would be more comfortable sitting apart then either seat them in the front row and separate them by seating other relatives in between them, or alternatively your Mum should sit in the front row and your Dad in the row behind her with his relatives.

Another solution is that you do away with having a groom and bride’s side of the ceremony venue and advise your guests that they can sit on either side. This would allow your parents to choose where they would like to sit and would eliminate any awkwardness about their decision not to sit together.

During the wedding reception

To avoid awkward moments and stilted conversation on your top table perhaps you should consider the following options for seating your parents at your wedding reception:

♥ A simple solution would be to try the following seating arrangement on the top table: you and your husband in the centre, your husband’s parents (I assume that they are still married as you have not mentioned anything to the contrary) on each side of you, your best man and bridesmaid next, and then your Mum and Dad at opposite ends of the table.

♥ Rather than having parents sit on the top table with you, you could have a “sweetheart table” which is a popular alternative to a top table (David and Victoria Beckham had one at their wedding!). You and your new husband sit at a table for two which can be situated anywhere in the reception venue, although traditionally it is placed in the middle of the room with the other tables of guests forming a circle around it. This means that you could be surrounded by your family and friends and would be free to get up and mingle with them without feeling guilty about neglecting those guests on the top table. You could choose who to seat your parents with at separate tables. They would probably enjoy the reception more being seated amongst their friends and family.

♥ If you decide not to have a top table at your reception then you should not bother to have your parents’ entrance into the reception announced by the MC. Your parents certainly won’t want the additional attention such an announcement might bring to their marital situation.

♥ Undoubtedly your parents will want to be seated in a place of honor at your wedding reception but you might prefer to have them seated at separate tables. You could have your wedding party (best man, maid of honor etc) seated with you at the top table and then your husband’s parents jointly and your Mum and Dad separately host their own table of wedding guests. Their allocated table could be made up of their family and close friends - this will make each of them feel special and is sure to encourage them to relax and enjoy your wedding reception.

Always make decisions about the seating for your ceremony and reception well in advance so that there is no confusion on your wedding day.

Receiving line

Wedding etiquette dictates that you can either have a receiving line or not – the choice is yours! The purpose of the receiving line is to allow you and your new husband to greet your guests. Traditionally the bride and groom’s parents, particularly those who have contributed financially towards the wedding, also join the line to welcome guests to the wedding reception. Many couples nowadays skip having a receiving line at their wedding and perhaps in your circumstances you would prefer to do this too.

If you do decide to have a receiving line at your wedding then you should not stand your parents together in the line - have other members of the bridal party in between them. Check out SuperWeddings.com for receiving line order and etiquette.

Photography

It is best to fully brief your photographer before the wedding day so that they are aware that your parents are divorced and they can treat the photo groupings sensitively. You should not try to hide your parent’s situation from the photographer - they will need to know how to arrange family photos.

Are your parents likely to refuse to be photographed together? To avoid embarrassing situations on the actual wedding day, sound them out about this so that you have advance warning if a family or group photo is unacceptable to both or either of them. It is important that decisions are made regarding the photos and notice is given to the photographer in advance.

I would imagine that you would love to have a photo of yourself in your stunning wedding dress flanked on either side by your parents. If this is the case, then speak to your parents in advance to check whether they are willing to smile sweetly for the camera for such a photo. Explain to them how important a photo of the three of you together would mean to you – a bit of emotional blackmail never fails to work!

Toasting

It is traditional for your Dad to make a speech and toast you and your new husband during the reception. The best advice I can give you to avoid any awkwardness is to speak to your Dad beforehand and ask him to choose his words very carefully. As your Mum is sensitive, and will be more so on your wedding day, remind your Dad to focus on the positives if he is mentioning his own marriage or your childhood in his speech. Nobody wants to hear about their divorce or recriminations or regrets about his own marriage. Weddings are upbeat optimistic occasions and everyone wants to celebrate your relationship not dwell on the fact that some marriages don’t work out! Alternatively if your Mum is concerned that she may not be represented in your Dad’s toast or she wants to express her own happiness at your wedding, then you could ask if she wants to make a toast of her own. The new modern trend with weddings is that you do not have to stick to traditional wedding etiquette. Increasing numbers of couples are allowing other members of the wedding party to make a toast – it adds a unique element to your wedding day.

Bridal Dances

Again, to avoid awkward situations during your wedding reception, decide in advance whether you want the MC or DJ to announce a “parents” dance. Make sure that you tell your parents ahead of time what you are planning to do. If you think the “parents” dance is likely to make your parents uncomfortable then eliminate it from your reception. You could ask for it to be announced as simply a “bridal party” dance and ask the best man, Maid of Honor or other attendants to partner each of your parents on the dance floor. Simply explain the situation to the MC or DJ ahead of time so that they can make the necessary adjustments to their usual wedding line up.

For great tips and advice on how to appease both your Mum, Dad and even yourself during your pre-wedding planning, read this article from the Wedding Gazette.

Surviving the pre-wedding stage when you are caught between divorced parents is the most difficult part. I have personally attended many weddings where divorced parents were involved and there have never been any clashes. Remember that your wedding day is a happy optimistic occasion and your parents’ conflicts should not blight your happiness.

Don’t assume that your wedding day will turn into a battle ground that you have to survive! Whilst it will inevitably be a challenge for you and your parents, you have all survived a divorce so planning your wedding day should be a walk in the park!

Remember it is your day, not theirs!

Thanks for your question and good luck!

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How To Invite Children To The Wedding Ceremony Only

Hi Everyone,

I received this question regarding inviting children to the wedding ceremony only:

"My daughter is getting married next summer and I am helping her with her arrangements etc. How do you invite some people to the "wedding ceremony only", without hurting feelings? Most of the people in question would be children, ones that really would like to be there. The bride and groom would like the reception to be "adults/or at least legal drinking age" only. The wedding and reception will be held in different locations. Keep in mind that the parents of these children will be invited to both the ceremony and reception. Another reason for this is the tight budget. We are trying to give my daughter the wedding she would love...but on a very tight budget."

This was my reply:

Thanks for your question.

This is a topic which is often the subject of fierce debate amongst couples who are planning their weddings. With today's escalating wedding costs many brides and grooms feel that inviting children to a wedding reception is an unnecessary expense. At an average cost of $60 - 80 a head for catering having children at the reception not only increases your wedding expenses but it also increases your guest list to vast proportions. For most couples if they have to make a choice between asking 4 special friends to their wedding reception or the 4 children of their friends, the adults will win hands down. Sometimes children just cannot be included.

I think that nowadays it is becoming more popular for couples to plan an adults only wedding reception so I don’t think that you and your daughter need to explain your reasons for children not being invited to the reception. What you do need to do is ensure that you make it perfectly clear to your guests that children are welcome to attend the wedding ceremony but not the reception afterwards.

Invitation wording

The best way to do this is to send two separate invitations, one to the wedding which will be sent to the whole family who are invited to attend the wedding ceremony, and a second invitation which will be sent to adults aged 21 and upwards who are invited to the wedding reception. You should insert the wedding ceremony invitation in with the reception invitation for those that are invited to both events. I think that if you try to combine the two events on one invitation you risk causing confusion.

If you decide to send one invitation with the words "Adults Only Reception" or "Adult Reception" printed on it, it is very likely to confuse the wedding guests and you might well find yourself under fire with lots of phone calls asking for explanations as to who is invited to which event and why. Families need specifics of who is invited to the wedding reception and who is not so that they can make appropriate childcare arrangements.

This is a delicate situation as you don’t want to offend any of the guests with children. It is far better to make it clear to your guests with children from the outset that if they intend on attending your daughter’s wedding that they will have to make alternative childcare arrangements for the duration of the wedding reception.

The worst thing you could do is send out the invitations to the wedding reception and simply leave the children’s names off of it. This would definitely be offensive to parents - you need to make it clear that their children are not invited to attend the wedding reception because it is going to be for adults only.

RSVP

You might well find if you send out "Adult Reception" invitations that guests rsvp with their children’s names included on it. In this circumstance you will have no alternative but to make a phone call to the guest concerned and apologise that children cannot be accommodated at the wedding reception due to it being for adults only. Although you are not obligated to give guests a reason as to why you are choosing to have adults only, if necessary explain that financial constraints mean that you have to keep the guest list to a minimum. At the end of the day it is your daughter’s wedding day so they should respect her decision.

In the same way you and your daughter must respect a guest’s decision if they decide not to attend the wedding ceremony or reception. Some people are overly sensitive when it comes to children and weddings and can be easily offended. Some parents believe that their children should be invited everywhere! A lot of parents and even people without children will argue that it is rude and improper to exclude the younger members of a family as weddings are supposed to be all about family. In my experience these guests will be in the minority. Nowadays modern parents realize that couples might prefer an adult only reception. At my own wedding I invited children but over half of the parents I invited decided not to bring their children - a lot of them wanted the chance to let their hair down and enjoy the wedding ceremony and reception without having to look out for their children’s welfare. Sometimes parents like a day off!

Gatecrashers

Do bear in mind that some guests might ignore the invitation and turn up at the reception with their children anyway. All you can do in such circumstances is either make a place for the child at the parent’s table or politely tell them that although you would love for their child to join in it is not appropriate as it is an adults only party. Inevitably the whole family will feel insulted and leave but that is something you will just have to grin and bear - it is rude to bring an uninvited guest to a wedding even if it is your own six month old baby! Some parents believe that their children should be invited everywhere.

A possible solution for guests with children

If you are aware of guests who would like to attend your daughter’s wedding but who will be put off by the “adults only” theme to the wedding reception then perhaps there is a solution. You could suggest to them that a few of them group together and arrange for a hotel bedroom to be used as a sort of crèche for their children (this is assuming that your daughter’s reception is being held in a hotel). They could hire a couple of qualified babysitters (depending on how many children there are), the hotel could arrange to have DVD player put in the room (if there is not one there already) and the children could be entertained at their own mini party! It is important that your guests understand that if the children are being entertained on the premises where the reception is being held, that the same rules apply – children are not invited to join in with the wedding reception! This solution would be perfect for out-of-town wedding guests who want their children to travel with them. You do not have to feel obligated to arrange this or pay for it on behalf of the guests but you could suggest it to them. I’m sure they will appreciate that your are trying to help them sort out their childcare arrangements.

Having an adults only wedding reception puts a different slant on the evening. You can concentrate your planning on making it a real party atmosphere. It does take pressure off you knowing that you just have to cater for adults with your choice of menu, entertainment, timings, venue facilities etc. You can organize a reception which probably would not be suitable for children, such as a cocktail hour and dancing going on to the wee hours.
Be warned though - you might be saving money not having to pay out for children’s meals but those parents let loose without their children for the night will drink your bar dry!!

I hope you enjoy your daughter's wedding - how exciting!

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Tips For Hosting An Outdoor Wedding Reception In A Unique Location
Date: July 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Budgeting & Flower & Decorations & Miscellaneous & Planning & Reception & Shopping & Themes & Unique Ideas & Venues

Hi Everyone,

I had this question regarding how to decorate a Village Square in Cyrpus for a wedding reception:

"I would like to ask you a question. My fiancé is from a village in Cyprus in a really beautiful location -very romantic. We have decided to have the wedding reception in the village square. I have no idea how to decorate it as I do not want to spoil the whole thing. The square is concrete, only pedestrians, no statues or sculptures - there are only very old houses like cottages (with very old stones not bricks). We have the permission from the council - they were very excited about the idea because young people have stopped using the square and have their wedding receptions at a pool or a hotel. Please can you help with decorating ideas. Thanks very much."

This was my reply:

Thanks very much for your question. I think it is lovely that you have decided to hold your wedding reception in such a traditional location rather than following the trend of opting for a hotel or pool - it sounds beautiful.

I am assuming that you intend to decorate the Village Square to provide you with a seated area for your wedding guests to dine at and an area for dancing. I would advise you to do some research locally and I’m sure you will find tables, chairs, umbrellas, linen and tableware, etc. which you can rent for the wedding reception. Try to choose wooden rather than metal seats as they tend to absorb heat rather than scorch your guests’ when they go to sit down! I recommend that you use the tables, chairs and possibly ornamental arch (see below for details about arches) to define your areas in the Village Square. You could position your tables and chairs all around the dance floor area in a circle or you could set your tables up at one end of the Village Square and leave the remainder of the space for dancing and the band (if you are having live music). For a distinct layout, replace round tables with large oval or long rectangular tables that can sit up to 16 guests.

I do not know what the intended colour scheme of your wedding is, but you could choose flowers, candles and other decorations to complement this and carry your theme right through to your wedding reception. From the details you have given me it sounds as if your wedding is going to have a romantic theme to it and so I have used this as the basis for my decorating ideas set out below.

At an outdoor wedding reception Mother Nature provides most of the decorations with the trees, plants, flowers and surrounding views, so you really don’t have to spend a fortune to decorate it. I have set out below some creative and practical tips for you to follow to elaborate on the charming atmosphere your Village Square venue already has.

Decorations for the Village Square

To create a romantic atmosphere try the following:

Lighting

Lighting will help to transform the Village Square into a magical wedding reception venue. I’m not sure from the brief details you have given me whether or not you will have a source of electricity available for your use in the Village Square. Going on the basis that you are not able to use electricity here are some ideas for lighting the Square for your wedding reception:

♥ String up some fairy lights from trees in the Village Square or even along the top of the stone walls surrounding the Square. These white static battery-run LED Fairy Lights are available from Lights4fun.co.uk and cost £4 for 1.5 metres. These will look great as the evening gets darker.

♥ If electricity is available for your use then you could string up normal fairy lights in the same way. These come in a fantastic array of colours nowadays. You can also choose different shapes (butterfly lights, hearts etc) to match the theme of your wedding reception. Strings of lights can be purchased very cheaply and they are a fantastic way of creating a fantasy wedding reception.

♥ If the Village Square does not have great streetlights lighting it up at night-time then you might want to consider renting some spotlights as you don’t want your guests falling over each other in the darkness!

♥ Light large tiki torches or citronella torches that can be stuck in the ground for light and also repel bugs. If you are unable to stick them into the ground (you say the Square is made of concrete) find large buckets, fill them with sand and stick the torches in them.

♥ If there are trees surrounding the Square:

- Suspend paper and metal accordion lanterns from trees with candles in them.

- Hang Chinese lanterns in the branches like these ones available from TheUrbanGarden.co.uk.

Flowers

One of the advantages of having an outdoor wedding reception is the natural beauty which surrounds you and reduces the need for vast amounts of decorating to be done. Visit the Village Square in the weeks running up to your wedding reception and check out how many flowers and plants surrounding the area are in bloom. This will give you a rough idea of how many pots of flowers and garlands of greenery you are going to need to decorate the Square for your reception. Flowers are an excellent way to decorate the Village Square inexpensively.

♥ Garlands of foliage and greenery such as ivy can be strung up around the Square. If you don’t want to use fresh flowers you can buy rolls of artificial greenery off of the internet.

♥ If there are any unsightly stone walls or anything that you want to hide, you can use garlands of flowers, fairy lights or a mixture of both to detract the eye from what is underneath.

♥ To add height and to define the perimeter of your reception space use big potted topiaries. If you can’t borrow or hire them for the day then buy some and they can either be given to members of your bridal party as gifts after the reception or they can decorate your garden! If the topiaries are very tall you can decorate them with fairy lights and ribbons to match your colour theme.

♥ A simple idea is to use galvanized metal buckets or other planters and fill them with flowers. If you are on a tight budget you can use whatever the local flower is which is in season. If money is no object then you can use elegant roses in a colour which compliments the rest of your colour theme.

♥ If there are fittings around the Square from which you can hang baskets of trailing flowers then this could add a colourful element to your decorations.

Arch or arbor

♥ A lot of couples who stage their wedding receptions outdoors choose to have some sort of focal point erected such as an arch. You can leave this unadorned or you can decorate it with flowers and ribbons to match your wedding colour theme or even swathe it in sheer white chiffon or voile. Not only will be arch be a focal point for your wedding guests but it will also provide a perfect backdrop for your wedding photos.

♥ You could place your wedding cake underneath a canopied arbor to create a focal point and help to organize the different areas of your wedding reception around it.

♥ Try to decorate the arch with flowers which co-ordinate with those used on your table settings and bridal flowers. You can ask your florist to decorate the arch or do it yourself.

♥ A definite advantage of using an arch at your wedding reception is that after the event you can place it in your garden as a reminder of your wedding day!

♥ Decorate the Village Square with pastel colored paper streamers. This is very inexpensive but an effective way to add colour and define the area of your wedding reception.

Table decorations

Flowers, floral arrangements and lighting form an essential part of decorating the Village Square but what will really add a sense of uniqueness to your wedding reception will be your choice of table decorations - these help to create an elegant ambience.

♥ You could bring your tables to life and add height to them by anchoring balloons at the centre of the table. Balloons are an inexpensive decoration. eBay sells heart-shaped helium balloons in a variety of colours and prices start at a mere £2.99 for 10 balloons. You could tie colourful ribbons to the end of your balloons to match your colour theme. You could use the balloons to decorate surrounding trees too.

♥ Sprinkle rose petals or confetti onto the tables. They are so many different colors for you to choose from. Have a look at confetti.co.uk. They have real flower petal confetti which is biodegradable - this is important so that you do not have to worry about clearing it up after your reception. It costs £7.99 for 1 pint of confetti. If the weather is likely to be windy then skip this idea as it would make too much mess if the confetti was blown around.

♥ Use greenery to transform the tables by decorating them with garlands of ivy.

♥ Use glittery table linens to add some pizzazz to your wedding reception. These will look great by candlelight!

♥ Cover the tables with white or pastel colored tablecloths and use colourful linen napkins at each setting.

♥ For a quick and inexpensive way to add style if you use long rectangular tables at your wedding reception, try gift-wrap runners down the centre. To find out how to achieve this look click here. The great thing about this is that you can make the wedding favors for your guests to match with the same gift-wrap paper.

♥ For an outdoor feel fill tiny terracotta flower pots with sugared almonds or traditional Cypriot sweets and place them at each table setting.

♥ For favors which double up as table decorations use individually planted flowers of your choice in tiny terracotta pots tied with a ribbon to match your wedding color theme. You can tie a card to them with each guest’s name so that they serve as a place setting as well.

Candles

Using candles to decorate the village square will add a romantic intimate atmosphere and will also provide gentle illumination when the sun goes down in the evening.

♥ Turn plain glass lanterns into something really pretty by twisting lengths of ivy around the rim and fasten them with a small knot at the back. Arrange these on the table or hang from tree branches, trellises or dot about the periphery of the Village Square.

♥ Tie pastel colored organza ribbon in a bow around clear glass votive cups. These can double as guest wedding favors.

♥ As an alternative to lanterns, fill terracotta flowerpots with sand or pebbles and then stand taper candles in them. If you use plenty candles in each pot you will create a beautiful glow.

♥ For easy, inexpensive centerpieces for your tables fill glass bowls with water and place floating candles in them. You could intersperse these with floating flowers too.

♥ As you are having an outdoor wedding you could use scented candles to create a lovely aroma.

♥ As your reception will be outdoors you should also consider using citronella candles to ward off bugs and bees, otherwise your guests will be swatting bugs all evening! If the Village Square is a known hot-spot for bugs in the evenings then perhaps you should consider arranging for an exterminator to spray the area with insecticide the day before your wedding reception.

♥ Candles glowing from inside lanterns creates a simple and elegant look for your wedding reception. Look at the selection of clear glass lanterns available at Beau-coup.com. They have a wire handle attached to them so you can use them as a tabletop illumination or suspend them from a tree. They come in a variety of sizes. You could present these to your guests as wedding favors.

♥ Place tea lights around the tables for a simple romantic glow.

♥ For informal, inexpensive lanterns use jelly jars. All you have to do is wrap a piece of flexible greenery around the jar just below the lip, and twist a piece of floral wire around the ends to secure and place a nightlight or small votive candle inside. You can decorate the jars with ivy, willow or other local greenery. These are perfect for protecting your candles from breezes.

♥ To add height to your table settings use large votive trees. These are available from Etreasuresgifts.com for $69.95 but shop around. The great thing about these is that you only need a couple of them to add a stunning focal point on the reception tables and the best bit is you can keep them afterwards - a unique reminder of your wedding reception! The pressed two-toned glass leaves can be arranged in any position you want around the 5 votive holders so that the candlelight can shimmer off the leaves.

♥ If you are on a tight budget you could create your own outdoor chandelier of lights by placing a large branch off of a tree into a pot (you could spray paint the branch gold or silver first if you feel creative!), fill it with sand or stones to hold the branch firmly in place and then suspend tea light holders, glass votives or even jelly jars off of the branches using metal wire. If you are using tables for your reception which have a hole where the umbrella slots, you could place a large branch in there and use it as a votive tree.

Centerpieces

As the wedding reception is outdoors you should add height to the tables by adding stunning centerpieces to each of them.

♥ I love this table setting from TheKnot.com. It merges a low candle arrangement with a tall one using fuchsia, bright blue and yellow pillar candles to give the large open space a warm and vibrant feel. This sort of look would great for your Village Square and is easy to recreate.

♥ Use various candleholders of varying height and style and place them on each table. When the candles are lit all across an open space it will create a very elegant and romantic look for your wedding reception.

♥ Use floral arrangements as centerpieces. These can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.

♥ You could fill terracotta pots with flowers to match your colour theme.

♥ Another idea for a unique centerpiece which will look great in an outdoor wedding reception setting is a beach bucket centerpiece as shown here. You take a small metal beach bucket and paint it in your wedding colors. You can then pot a small tree in it and scatter petals over the top of the soil so it does not show.

♥ Fill a galvanized watering can with fresh summer flowers as a centerpiece.

♥ Use tall vases and fill them with flowers. These will help to anchor the tablecloths in place as well.

♥ Have a look at Theknot.com for instructions on how you can make your own centerpiece for the wedding reception tables.

♥ For a stunning citrus centerpiece you could try this idea from Martha Stewart. Tie lemons and grapefruits with yellow taffeta ribbons and pile them into a glass bowl. The bows are secured by pins and sheer yellow organdy drapes from the bowl.

Additional things to consider

♥ For additional colour you could decorate the chairs at your wedding reception. Tie large bows on the backs of chairs with ribbon streamers.

♥ I’m sure that you will be having children attend your wedding reception as I know how family-oriented Cypriot people are (my brother’s wife is from Cyprus!) so how about renting a bubble machine to add a touch of fun. It creates a lovely party atmosphere and the children will love it.

♥ The wedding cake should be given pride of place in the village square as this will form the centerpiece for your wedding reception. If the weather is going to be hot perhaps you should place your cake in the shade or underneath a canopied arch as you don’t want it melting before you and your new husband have a chance to cut it!

♥ If the Village Square lacks colour then choose bright vibrant colours in your wedding decorations to give it an eye-catching appearance rather than using muted pastel colours.

♥ If there are any unattractive features around the Village Square then you might want to shield them off using trellis which can be decorated with trailing greenery and flowers. This is not too expensive to buy and you can use it in your garden after the wedding reception.

♥ Will there be enough bathrooms for your wedding guests? If not, you might want to consider renting port-a-potties. These port-a-potties are fitted out with a sink, vanity unit and mirror. If you decide to do this make sure you decorate them with some fresh flowers, perfumed hand soap to make them more festive.

Weather

♥ Have you had any thoughts about what you will do if the weather turns bad? Perhaps you should have a back up plan in place just in case. Having a backup plan for any outdoor wedding reception, anytime of the year, is always a wise move. It might be a good idea to rent a marquee which could provide your guests with shelter just in case.

♥ If there is a possibility that your guests might get cold in the evening when the sun goes down perhaps you should think about renting outdoor patio heaters like the wedding setting pictured here.

♥ Likewise, if the weather is likely to be extremely hot then think about renting tables with umbrellas which would provide your guests with some shade. You don’t want your guests to be melting in the heat! If it going to be very hot weather you should consider renting large electric fans (which could be powered off of a generator in the absence of electricity) and spreading them around the periphery of the village square.

♥ If there is a chance that the village square might be a windy location make sure that you protect your table settings and your candles.

♥ Even a light wind can blow out candles so if there is a chance of wind you should definitely use votive holders, hurricane lamps or fishbowls which will ensure that your candles remain lit.

♥ You can prevent your table coverings from blowing off by using heavy table items as centerpieces, such as large vases of flowers, potted plants or candles. If it is very breezy put large smooth pebbles on the corners of the table to secure the tablecloths or you could use garden twine to tie pebbles to the corners of the cloth. Another idea is to sew small weights into the seams to weight them down.

One thing I have not yet mentioned is the logistics of getting the Square decorated in time for your wedding reception. It is probably best to decorate the Square on the morning of your wedding. Ask a group of your friends and family to volunteer for this job as you and your fiance will prbably not have time to get involved yourselves on the morning of your wedding. Give them clear instructions for doing it and if possible have a trial run prior to the wedding so that you can plan out where your guests will sit and where the dancefloor should be.

Remember that if you are on a tight wedding budget it is possible to decorate the Village Square and keep your costs down. Try eBay for a lot of your decorating supplies as they are very affordable and will undoubtedly deliver them to you in Cyprus. To save money bulk buy items like citronella candles and garlands of greenery.

My final thoughts are that you don't have to go overboard on decorating the Village Square. You will find that the outdoor atmosphere creates its own magical atmosphere without too many embellishments. If you decorate it with some creativity you can add a romantic touch to your wedding by turning the Village Square into a unique setting for your wedding reception.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Good luck with your wedding!

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Double Wedding Question
Date: June 21, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Ceremonies

Hi Everyone,

I had this question regarding double weddings:

"I am unsure how we should approach this double wedding. We have a lot of ideas about sharing a cake with different flavors in each layer and our fiancées have both agreed on a donut cake, since they are police officers. We have decided on colors for the wedding, and many other items, but we have not discussed how to do the ceremony. We know that it will be two back to back ceremonies, since our dresses are completely different and we are a little selfish and want them separate, but who should go first? Or how should we decide? I don't want to upset the other bride in anyway, but I am unsure how we should do this."

This was my reply:

I think it is such a lovely idea to have a double wedding with your friend. I expect most of your guests will never have attended this type of wedding before so I understand that you are probably anxious about making the right choices for the ceremony.

When considering a double wedding, it is one of the most important questions any bride-to-be has - who goes first? No matter how generous you feel towards your friend on her wedding day, as a bride yourself you will want to shine on your special day and have the limelight directed on you as you walk down the aisle and take your vows. There is nothing selfish about feeling like that!

Although the logistics of your double wedding might seem complicated, with efficient organization prior to the wedding ceremony, everything will run just as smoothly as it would for a single-ceremony wedding.

Traditionally the elder bride enters first and does everything else first as well. If you, your friend and your partners are all agreeable though there is no reason why you can't switch it round and have whomever is the youngest of you and your friend walk down the aisle and perform her vows first. However, it might be the case that you and your friend are the same age or you might both feel that the "age" issue is not an appropriate means of deciding who will go first.

With a double wedding there is always going to have to be a certain amount of compromise between the couples organizing the event. I shouldn't imagine that reaching a fair decision about who should have their wedding ceremony first will be a huge problem between the two of you . After all, you must enjoy a special relationship with your friend already if you have come this far in your wedding planning and have decided that you want to share your wedding day with each other.

You and your friend might both feel virtuous telling each other that you don't mind who goes first but you want the decision to be fair to both parties. If the thought of tossing a coin, pulling straws or shaking a Magic 8-Ball to come to the decision does not appeal to you, then perhaps you should consider if any of the following points are appropriate to either of you - they might well help you to reach that important decision of who goes first!

♥ Are there any specific reasons why one of you would prefer to have their ceremony first? For example, do either of you suffer from stage-fright or nerves and prefer to get the ceremony finished with early on in the day so that you can relax and enjoy the rest of your wedding day?

♥ Would one of you prefer to have more time available to get ready on the morning of the wedding? If so, then perhaps you would be glad to have the later slot for the ceremony.

♥ Do you or your friend have young attendants (flower girls or page boys) who are likely to perform better earlier on in the day?

♥ Does the officiant have a preference as to which of the ceremonies takes place first? You have not said if you are getting married in a Church, but if you are you will inevitably find that the minister has the final word in deciding the ceremonial arrangements. It is worth checking with him when making your decision of who goes first.

Whilst sharing your wedding day jointly with your friend can add an especially meaningful aspect to your friendship, it can also cause problems in a friendship if either of you feel aggrieved about the decision of who should go first. You need to come to a decision which both couples are happy and comfortable with. Do make sure if you have any conflicting feelings over the decision which has been made that you resolve them as soon as possible. Both you and your friend should have a relaxing and unforgettable wedding day, not one that leaves you seething with resentment and ruins a friendship!

Whatever decision you come to, don't feel that either one of you will be taking second place to the other. Whether you walk up that aisle first or second, you can be sure that you will be the star of the show for your family and friends!

For more information about planning a double wedding including wording for invitations, reception arrangements, and top tips for organizing the logistics of it all, take a look here.

I hope that you have found this useful. Thank you for your question.

Good luck with your double wedding planning!

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Solving The Double Wedding Invitation And Gift Dilemma


Wedding Gifts: How Much Money Should A Mother Give To Her Children
Date: May 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Budgeting & Relationships & Traditions & Customs

You are more than welcome to send me your wedding related questions, I will always do my best to answer. Here is a recent question I received:

"Hi Emily, I appreciate reading all of your helpful tips. As a Mother of 5 children. this information will come in handy especially that my son was married last year and my daughter will be married next year.

The question that is looming in my mind is the appropriate gift that should be given to my children. Where I live money is the only gift that is given except in rare instances. So my question to you is what is a fair amount to give? In the case of my son I did what all groom's parents do, Rehearsal dinner etc. For my daughter we will be paying for the entire event except what the groom's parents traditionally pay for. Do I make a distinction based on that or not? Also how much would you recommend giving? I'm sort of stumped and need advice on that. Any suggestions?"

I gave the following advice:

Congratulations on your children's nuptials. I totally understand your predicament as you want to be equally fair to both your son and your daughter with regard to how much you give them as a wedding gift.

The first step is not to feel under pressure about this. I recommend that you examine your own financial state of affairs and determine what the maximum amount of money you can comfortably afford to give to each child is. Traditionally in the UK parents give their children wedding gifts of anything up to £5,000 (approximately $9,000). This is usually equivalent to the average cost of a honeymoon.

Without doubt you will be spending a lot more money on your daughter's wedding than you contributed towards your son's wedding. You should use your own judgement as to whether you should make a distinction between what you contribute to each of your children as a gift. Is your son likely to feel aggrieved that your daughter has garnered more financially through her wedding than he did when he got married? The last thing you want is for any family members to fall out over money.

If you think that in fairness your son should be given more money than your daughter then perhaps after deciding the amount you should speak to your daughter and explain why you intend to give your son a larger cash gift than she herself is to receive from you.

Good luck and remember to relax and enjoy your daughter's upcoming wedding!

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When And How To Invite Guests To An Out Of State Wedding
Date: April 26, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Checklists & Guests & Invitations & Announcements & Planning & Traditions & Customs

Hi Everyone,

This morning I had this question relating to sending out wedding invitations:

" I am having an out of state wedding, 9 hours away. When is the best time to send out my save a date cards for my October wedding, I have put inside my cards, hotels that are giving my guest's a discount on their rooms. I want my guests to have enough time to plan in advance. Aso when should i send out my wedding invitations?"

This was my reply:

- Thank you for your question.

I have always thought that the traditional 8 weeks before a wedding to send out invitation cards was a little short. I guess in times gone by people may have had less choice and commitments in their lives, who knows, but it does seem we are all so much more busy nowadays and people can go on holiday all times of the year.

When I got married 6 years ago in Scotland, I was living in England and the majority of people were traveling up from there. I know it isn’t another state but even with 7 hours driving to a place most had never been to I wanted to take as much stress out of the situation as possible. Thus when I sent the invitations I included a map of the town and a list of the different places they could stay. I also included my own descriptions (tried to make it funny!) and my review of places to eat in the town as many were making their stay in Scotland part of a week’s holiday.

I had a lot of good positive feedback on this, because it showed I cared and though I couldn’t make the bookings (nor would I want to get involved) I outlined everything they might need as well as I could. For example many guests were bringing children and thus I had a section on where they might take them for an afternoon. I felt like I was working for the Scottish Tourist Board !

I would imagine if people are traveling to your wedding they will be staying more than the one day and thus the help and advice you can give will be very much welcomed. I never sent save the date cards because I had spoken to everyone I really wanted at the wedding to ensure they had nothing booked on that date – I just sent the invitations and my booklet 4 months before the wedding. I know this isn’t traditional but as they say in the UK – “horses for courses” – maybe you also have that expression in the States.

In your case I would send out the save a date cards with your hotel info during May or June, I always think the earlier the better because this gives guests the opportunity to shop on the internet for cheap flights etc. You can then send your invitations out 8 weeks before the wedding.

I hope this helps.

Ultimately go with what feels best for you, modern weddings vary so much from traditions and customs set hundreds of years ago!

Good Luck

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As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore.
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