Friday, August 9, 2013

Double Wedding Etiquette
For some couples, there's no better way to spend the most special day of their lives than sharing the spotlight with another couple. When planned thoughtfully and creatively, double weddings offer twice the celebration and heartwarming qualities of traditional weddings. While there are few strict etiquette guidelines about double weddings, observing general etiquette and manners will ensure a stress-free wedding that suits everyone's needs.


    Whether the brides are sisters, the grooms are friends or any other double wedding arrangement, both couples and anyone else involved in the planning, such as parents or wedding planners, need to agree on key areas such as the budget, theme, duties and responsibilities of the various parties and the procedures. One idea is for the couples to write lists of their favorite ideas and the details they envision and compare the two, noting overlapping themes. In some areas they can choose to blend ideas. For instance, one bride chooses the color scheme while the other chooses the motif.

Invitations and Guest List

    For most double weddings, the guest list features many mutual friends. However, the couples need to ensure that their most important (non-mutual) guests are included. Invitations will also need to clearly address the nature of the double wedding. If the brides are sisters, it's customary to send joint invitations. However, the couples may choose to send joint or individual invitations to each set of friends and family.

Attendants and Attire

    For the sake of balance, each couple should have the same number of attendants. To cut down on the size of the bridal party, the brides and grooms may wish to share a single flower girl or ring bearer. Typically, brides wear gowns that complement each other's gowns without looking exactly alike. Bridesmaids and groomsmen can wear matching outfits or different outfits in the same colors. Jewelry and shoes also offer chances to personalize the outfits.


    If the brides are sisters, the groom and attendants enter in pairs and take their places at the altar or the front of the venue. The oldest sister then walks down the aisle. After she has arrived at the altar, the younger sister follows. Some couples choose to have the father escort both brides at once. For brides who are not sisters, the couples should consult beforehand and choreograph the procession. Traditionally the older bride goes first in any situation.
    Couples choose between a joint officiant or two separate ones. The officiant reads the vows, then pauses for each couple to answer separately. The newly married couples are announced simultaneously and each pair kisses at the same time. If there are personalized vows or two officiants, the couples should take turn reading the vows. After the pronouncements, the couples either leave the venue together or in the same order they entered.

Gifts and Reception

    If guests know both couples, they typically bring two gifts. However, they are not obligated to bring a present for the couple they do not know. Since it's generally a faux pas to mention gifts on the invitations, ask family and friends to spread the word, or invite guests to call with questions.
    At the reception, receiving lines can be joint or separate, depending on the size of the guest list and which is more efficient. Usually, each couple has a separate wedding cake, although they may be smaller than traditional cakes.

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