Monday, October 19, 2009

Planning a Second Wedding - What's Appropriate?

With more than 50 percent of today's marriages involving a bride or groom who have been married before, social attitudes regarding what's appropriate in the wedding ceremony have evolved over the years.

Attitudes have changed a lot over the years and the word "remarriage" is rarely used today. In the past, couples quietly stated that they were going to remarry. Today, the couple happily announces their intentions to marry without the prefix of "re," indicating that they are going into the union with an attitude of making this union its own being rather than a repeat event.

Second weddings (or even third weddings, for that matter) now range from quiet ceremonies in a chapel or courtroom to celebrations with as much pomp as many first-time weddings.

However, some feel it's necessary to hold on to at least a few traditions and customs. Etiquette, after all, still exists and rare is the wedding that goes off without a hitch. Knowing how to handle any dilemmas that might pop up is wise for all brides.

Second-time couples are usually older and wiser than their first-time counterparts. More of the ceremony, reception and honeymoon decisions will be theirs, since they are often paying for everything, rather than those decisions lying with family members who are footing the bill.

Sophistication is often the name of the game with today's remarrying couples. Along with becoming older and wiser, the couple has a better idea of who they are, both individually and as a couple. Let that confidence show in the tasteful, classic choices that you make rather than being swayed by ultra-trendy (or even downright tacky) choices made by younger couples. As an example, an older bride knows her body and has a sense of style.

Most second weddings are less formal than a first wedding, but that doesn't mean they are less lovely. While a large, hoop skirt with long train and seven bridesmaids reeks of first-time, fairytale bride, an encore bride might take advantage of her confidence by wearing something that announces her sophistication and maturity. One attendant is more appropriate than your entire pack of sorority sisters, as well.

The guest list for an encore ceremony can still include all of your extended family and everyone you've ever met. However, most couples prefer to scale things down a bit and concentrate on inviting those who would be considered the most important people in your lives.

Children from your previous marriages, of course, will attend this wedding. If they're old enough to stand up for you as a legal witness, and if that's what you desire, by all means go ahead with this plan. If your children are too young to be witnesses, there's no reason for them to sit in the audience and watch. They can still stand up with you, as bridesmaids and groomsmen, junior bridesmaids or groomsmen, or they can stand with you for a special ceremony to bless your new family unit.

Will you be given away at your second wedding? Some say this tradition would be awkward since the one who would need to give the bride to her new spouse, at this point, would be her former spouse. However, there is a school of thought that frowns up on this theory since it would imply the antiquated view that the woman bounced from being under the wing of her father, to her first husband, and now to her second husband. With women being more independent these days and making their own way in the world, it's her choice whether she'll be given away. March down the aisle on your own, have your father or step-father accompany you, or have your oldest child walk you down the aisle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creating a Wedding Guest List

Before you choose a wedding dress or decide on a venue for your big day, there is one very important task that you must get started on as soon as possible.

Creating a wedding guest list can save you a LOT of time and money as you plan your wedding.

A lot of the wedding planning cannot be started until you've decided on a wedding guest list. For example - a decision on your ceremony and reception venue, catering, ordering of invitations, table decorations and more are dependent on the length of your guest list.

You should try to get started on that wedding guest list as soon as the diamond goes on your finger, and refer to it often during your wedding planning over the following months.

Start with a mini file box full of index cards or create a spreadsheet. Either way, you’ll be set to stay organized as you receive RSVPs and gifts. You can keep track of the guests' names, address, phone number, email address, and number of guests for that address. As they RSVP, everything you need to know will be at your fingertips.

Ready to begin your guest list? It's easy as A-B-C! An A-B-C list, that is.

The A list is family, the B list is long-term friends of five years or more, and the C list is people you'd like to invite if your budget allows.

As you get along in the planning and it looks like you can only afford 75, cut it at the B list and leave it at that. Move on. Or, as you receive regrets from people on your A and B lists, begin sending invitations to those at the top of your C list. If you've planned ahead and mailed your A and B invitations early enough, your C list invitations will arrive in mailboxes with time to spare - and your C list people won't even realize they were on the C list at all.

How many guests do you anticipate from your side of the family vs. your fiance and his family? Start out on your road toward marital bliss by deciding early on how you'll divide the invitations. Should your family send out half and his family the other half? Or maybe you'll divide the stack of invitations into fourths, keeping a portion for yourself and giving the rest to your fiance, your parents, and his parents.

How many guests should you expect? Each invitation usually represents two people. However, that doesn't mean 200 invitations will yield a crowd of 400. Most brides end up with fewer guests than originally expected. There will always be a few guests who send an RSVP but don't attend for whatever reason.

Will children be welcome at your wedding, or had you hoped for an adults-only affair? The best time to make this decision is while honing your guest list - not when your distant cousin with screaming triplets shows up at the ceremony.

The best way to let guests know whether kids are invited is by writing on the invitation's inner envelope only the names of those who are invited. Instead of "John, Mary and family," write "John and Mary." Whatever you do, don't state, "No children, please" on the invitation or the envelope.

Feeling pressured to invite your entire company? Invite immediate co-workers and those you interact with each day. Others will understand.

So get started on that wedding guest list now and remember to invite those who will be honoured to attend your wedding and will consider it a compliment to be part of your day.