My fiance and I are planning a destination wedding that will include our two daughters and our parents. However, our brothers and sisters and their significant others also want to come and celebrate. All we are planning is a sunset wedding and dinner afterwards at a restaurant. Are we obligated to pay for their food?
-Submitted by Brittany
If your siblings and their significant others do join the wedding celebration, plan to foot the bill for all wedding-related events. This includes the cost of their meals for the reception dinner and any other events such as a welcome cocktail reception or farewell brunch. You are not responsible for hosting other meals or optional activities, and although some brides and grooms opt to pay for room accommodations you are not obligated to do so. You can however inform the hotel/resort that your guest list has increased and possibly be able to get a reduced rate on rooms (bringing down the cost for you and your parents as well) or a complimentary buffet breakfast since you will have a larger group.
I have ten bridesmaids and they all differ in shape and size. I am worried that I will not be able to find dresses that flatter everyone. What should I do?
This is a very common problem for brides today- but the solution is actually quite simple. Dress designers today try to address this problem when considering fabric and silhouettes. Ask your bridal consultant to suggest gowns that will flatter all body types and bring all your bridesmaids in to look at dresses- not just one maid to represent them all. Also, many dresses now offer the option to change necklines, add straps, or change the length. This way you can have all your maids in the same fabric and color but they can have subtle differences to flatter their individual looks.
My father is deceased and my mother would like my two brothers to walk me down the aisle. I would prefer that my older brother walk with me, but is there also a way to include my younger brother, or is it proper to walk with both?
You may walk with both, but your preference should be the guideline as to your final decision. Customarily, a single person escorts the bride, and your older brother would be the logical choice to serve in your father’s place. One option is to have your younger brother walk you halfway down the aisle, then your older brother take over and proceed to the altar.
My fiancé has three sisters. Do I have to include my fiance’s three sisters in my bridal party? I already have my own two sisters and three friends I want to include- I worry that things will get out of hand with so many attendants.
While it would be a nice gesture to include your future sister-in-laws into your wedding party, only you can decide if it is the right choice or not. Some brides feel the more the merrier but if you worry about chaos ensuing then maybe it is not best for you. Consider things like if you need the extra help on the big day, will they be likely to help your sisters and other maids plan events, and how your fiancé feels about you including them. If you decide against making them bridesmaids, you can always include them by having them do a reading, candle lighting or helping to greet guests.
My bridesmaids are not getting along and I fear that it will affect my wedding planning? How can I keep the peace without looking like a bridezilla?
Weddings are stressful not only for the bride but for the bridesmaids as well. Chances are, your bridesmaids may have some other issues going on in their lives that they are trying to deal with and the stress is pouring over into your wedding planning, causing conflict. Sit down with your bridesmaids and see if the real problem is between each other or if it is other issues. If it is something personal, taking the time to focus on helping your friend or lightening their bridesmaids’ duties will likely help. If the problem is that the bridesmaids just don’t get along, try to have them talk it out or give them duties where they won’t have to work together for long periods of time.
I am having a very large wedding, and my parents and sisters are all very involved. Recently, my fiancé has dropped hints that his parents feel a bit left out. I’d like to include them—but how?
There are many ways to include your fiancé’s parents in the planning of your wedding. After all, it’s their son who is getting married. Here are a few suggestions that may help you.
- Seek their advice about your honeymoon plans, the purchase of your new home, finding an accountant or doctor--in short, any of the matters you’re currently tackling as a new couple.
- Ask your mother to enlist the help of his mother in addressing invitations, planning menus, etc. If they know each other better than just casually, your mothers might also shop together for their wedding day attire.
- Ask your parents to plan a relaxed dinner and get-to-know-each-other evening for just the six of you.
- If his parents have a particular expertise that’s related to wedding plans (such as photography, catering, flowers or music), be sure to ask their advice.
- His mother should be invited to all the showers.
- Sometimes the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner as well.
What is the acceptable time limit for sending out thank-you notes after the wedding? We are planning a very large ceremony and reception and I expect many gifts. Also, is it inappropriate to send printed thank you notes?
Most guests realize that the period immediately after the wedding is a busy one indeed. There’s the honeymoon to consider and then there are myriad activities involved in setting up a new household. No hard-and-fast rule exists, but generally speaking, unless you will be away on an extended honeymoon, thank-you notes should be sent out within four to six weeks after the ceremony. One way to make this task a little easier is to break it up into segments: do a number each day, earmarking your completion date within this general time frame. However, it is never permissible to send printed thank-you notes, unless it is to say a personal note will follow.
There are quite a few little girls I’d like to include in my wedding. Can I have all these without male counterparts?
Yes, you may. Flower girls and junior attendants do not need to be matched to partners.
My matron of honor lives in another state and will not be involved in any of the preparations for my wedding until a few days before the wedding day. I have a very close friend whom I asked to be a bridesmaid and who lives near me. She has been helping me with a great deal of the planning footwork. Would it be proper to ask my bridesmaid to be my maid of honor, so that I would have one matron of honor and one maid of honor? How should I do this so as not to offend my matron of honor? My bridesmaid has been doing so much work that I feel she should also receive a position of honor.
It is entirely proper to have both a maid and matron of honor. Generally, the maid of honor takes precedence and is in charge of the flowers and the ring at the altar and signs the wedding register as the bride’s witness, although either one may perform these duties. Otherwise, their responsibilities may be shared or divided as they are able to fulfill them. Call her to share your plans so that she knows, but you needn’t elaborate on how helpful your bridesmaid has been. It would be a good idea to decide ahead of time which attendant you will ask to do what, so they are both clear on what is expected of them. For example, you might hand one your flowers and have the other take care of your groom’s ring.
My formal, evening wedding will be performed in a synagogue. My mother would like me to wear my veil over my face during the ceremony. Could you let me know what happened to this tradition, and if it is still an appropriate thing to do?
In a Jewish wedding, the decision of whether or not the bride will wear a veil over her face is determined by what type of ceremony is performed—Reformed, Conservative or Orthodox. Your rabbi should be consulted about this tradition. If religion is not an issue, then you can do what is most comfortable. Many veils are designed today that never cover the face, and yet there are still brides who wear face veils that are either turned back by the maid of honor at the point just before she takes the bride’s flowers at the beginning of the ceremony, or after the ceremony, before returning the bride’s bouquet to her, after which the bride and groom kiss and prepare to begin the recessional.
I’ve heard that the girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, fiancé/fiancée and children of members of the wedding party should be seated at the bridal table—even though they aren’t actually in the wedding. Can this possibly be correct? I could end up with a 30-person bridal table! Am I just being silly—or is it improper to only seat the wedding party at the bridal table.
No, you aren’t being silly. It’s a lovely idea when the bridal party is very small (one or two attendants each for the bride and groom), but isn’t feasible with a large wedding party. What is important is that you seat the other half of members of your wedding party at tables where they will be comfortable, have someone they know to talk to, and where they are in view of your bridal table so that your attendants can "mingle" easily with them between courses. After the meal, your attendants aren’t expected to stay in place at the bridal table, so they will be able to spend time with their spouses/companions.