Valentine’s Day Wedding Theme

A Valentine’s Day theme wedding is sure to be a romantic event with careful planning and operation. Here are some ideas and tips for your big day.

* Invitations: There are plenty of romantic wedding invitation designs out there, choose one with doves, roses, hearts or other Valentine’s Day typical signs to set the mood for your wedding ceremony. Pick your favorite envelopes with red liners and don’t forget the double heart stamps.

* Color Scheme: Pink, purple, red and white are traditional Valentine’s Day colors. However, just choose your favorite shades and hues to decorate your wedding party.

* Wedding Dress: A romantic bridal gown is a must for a Valentine theme wedding. Fluffy skirts, off the shoulder collars, puffy sleeves, sweetheart neckline and appliqués are ideal incorporation for Valentine’s outfit. You may even add a little red or pink touch to your dress, or choose a pink wedding dress for a sweet princess look. Hot lace or light-colored pearl embellishments are also amazing.

* Attire: The groom and his best men should wear formal tuxedos to match the romantic atmosphere. They may even try red or pink shirts to match the color scheme. The bridal party gowns should be as romantic as the wedding theme, but not overpower the wedding dress.

* Flowers: Undoubtedly, roses are the favorite flowers for a Valentine wedding, and pink, purple, red or white blooms match the theme. Pink lilies or tulips are also great choices which add a unique touch.

* Decorations: Besides flowers, there are still other decorations such as candles, lace and ribbons. Scatter heart-shaped confetti on guest tables and hang heart-shaped balloons over the entrance arc for a whimsical touch.

* Menu: A romantic menu could include any foods you like, such as your first date dinner. Choose chocolate covered strawberries as your appetizers. Rich hot cocoa is warm and popular in the winter holiday. Pink champagne is a superb choice for a romantic wedding.

* Wedding Cake: White chocolate and red roses covered heart-shaped wedding cake would be a perfect match for your Valentine’s wedding.

* Wedding Favors: Heart shaped favors may offer your guests a touch of romance. Colorful candies, strawberry jams, sparkling spoons, double heart photo frames are perfect for Valentine favors.

* Wedding Music: Choose love songs for weddings to play during reception.

Your Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings are romantic and scenic, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. Here’s your guide to planning a trouble-free, outdoor wedding.

Who will officiate?
Some officiants will only perform ceremonies within a house of worship, so you’ll need to check with yours in advance before planning your ceremony outside.

Inform your guests
Guests need to know they’re attending an outdoor wedding so they can dress appropriately. It’s also a good idea to send weather information to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the climate.

Be prepared
Combat potential outdoor issues by having the following items on hand:

Plenty of water
Umbrellas
Handheld paper or wood fans
Sunscreen
Bug spray
Tissues/paper towels

Securing your Outdoor Wedding Location
For an outdoor wedding, the draw is the setting, so finding the right spot and coordinating the event around it is the most important task on your to-do list. Your setting options are as limitless as the great outdoors itself. But before getting your heart set on a specific spot, these are some key questions you’ll need to ask.

Is There Privacy?
Keep in mind that if your location is a public space – or even near a public place (like a street or sidewalk), you may have to contend with onlookers. Try to reserve your space in a secluded spot to prevent unwanted guests or distractions.

What’s The Backup Plan?
Obviously you’ll need a plan in case of inclement weather. If your location doesn’t have indoor facilities to accommodate your event should the skies open, you’ll need to rent a tent. Many rental companies will reserve your tent for a deposit and that way, if the weather is nice and you don’t use it, you don’t lose the full payment.

Can You Hear?
Will guests have to compete with roaring waves, gusting winds, honking cars, or screaming children to hear your vows? You may need to rent a sound system and mics for the officiant and yourselves. Your band or DJ should be able to provide this for you.

Outdoor Décor Elements
Let the setting speak for itself – Don’t compete with Mother Nature; rather, subtly enhance your background (whether it’s a sandy beach, blooming garden, or thick forest) with a complementary color palette and décor elements.
Au Natural – Consider details like burlap table linens and vintage furniture to set your scene. It blends into the outdoor setting while also creating a statement. Get inspired by the vintage gems available from Found Vintage Rentals.
Lighting – Create ambiance in your outdoor space by getting creative with your lighting – there is nothing quite like bistro lights, twinkle lights, or lanterns set against a natural scene.

Outdoor Wedding Flowers
Blooms – An outdoor wedding calls for flowers that can brave all sorts of weather. Look for sturdier blooms like mums, orchids, carnations, alstroemeria, lisianthus, calla lilies, and sunflowers. Also, don’t overlook these hearty, simple floral embellishments that look fabulous by themselves: baby’s breath, bells of Ireland, hypernicum berry, bupleurum, and dusty miller.
Style – Keep your containers and arrangements natural-looking, as an intricately designed, elaborate pedestal centerpiece in a tall candelabra just doesn’t fit. Instead, use loose arrangements in mason jars, wooden boxes, vintage containers, crates, or pails.

Outdoor Wedding Menu
Keep it simple – Even an elegant outdoor wedding calls for simpler fare that can withstand varied temperatures, so avoid items like mayonnaise or dishes which must be served cold. If yours is a casual affair, consider a traditional outdoor barbeque.
Keep guests refreshed – Have plenty of ice and water, along with teas or lemonades, especially if your outdoor wedding will take place in a warm environment. Alcoholic beverages like sangria, mojitos, or mint juleps will also keep your guests refreshed.

Outdoor Wedding Cake Ideas
Make it last – Wedding cakes can melt outside. Opt for fondant icing over buttercream. Stay away from mousse and ice cream cakes. Many types of cupcakes hold up well in the heat.

Outdoor Wedding Attire
Bride – Dare to go casual. Outdoor settings allow for breezy fabrics and shorter hemlines. Knee and tea-length gowns are making a major comeback, while lace and/or organza are good outdoor fabric options. But if traditional elegance is what you prefer then you can still plan a formal dress code – just consider what’s best suited for sun, sand, or grass.
Bridesmaid – You may want to forgo the giant ball gown and instead, stick to a romantic empire or a-line dress in a flowing organza or light-catching taffeta.
Shoes – For both bride and bridesmaids, opt for a wide, flat heel, cute ballet flats, or strappy sandals, as a stiletto may sink right into the ground.
For the guys – Lose the tux and consider an unbuttoned affair. Dress the guys in khakis and sport jackets or crisp oxfords. If you’re heart is set on a tux, get a vest with a full back – which will look better when their coats are off.

Outdoor Wedding Favors

Keep ‘em cool – Personalized paper fans are both decorative and functional.
Keep love blooming – By giving packs of flower seeds.
Plant it – Gift them with miniature potted plants or herbs.
Give – Forgo the traditional favors and donate to your favorite “green” organization in your guests’ names.

Outdoor Wedding Getaway
Up and away – A hot air balloon makes a dramatic statement and affords some romantic alone time with your new spouse
Sail away – Make your exit on a sail boat, yacht, catamaran, or canoe (hint: you’ll need a body of water).
Horseback – Make sure you practice before you galloping into the sunset.
Vintage Flatbed Truck – ‘Cause you’re a down-home couple at heart.
Horse-drawn carriage– This romantic exit is the ultimate departure fit for a princess.

Outdoor Wedding Entertainment

Fun and games – In a natural outdoor setting, you’re not limited to a traditional band or deejay to entertain the crowd; outdoor games like horseshoes or croquet can be a fun and unexpected twist.



Advice for Forgoing the Traditional Wedding Venue

Many wedding venues have outdoor settings available, which makes planning an alfresco event a bit easier (they provide and handle the essentials). If you’re planning your outdoor wedding at a public park, beach or private home; however, you’ll have added details to attend to:

Permits
Public outdoor locations require numerous permits and fees. Be sure to find out about any restrictions on noise, alcohol consumption, number of guests, food preparation, tables, tents, and time limits.

Rental fees
Keep in mind that you’ll have to rent everything – from tables and chairs to bathrooms and sound systems – and these rental fees can up your bottom line.

Details
Attention to detail is key to the success of an outdoor wedding. Coordinating the permits, rentals, backup plans – not to mention the typical wedding details – can be taxing. Seriously consider enlisting the help of a professional coordinator to keep things together.

Accessibility
Is there convenient parking? If not, you’ll need to secure a nearby lot and provide a shuttle – especially if you’ll have elderly guests or others with limited mobility.

Wedding Insurance
Outdoor weddings are a prime candidate for insurance, which will to help recoup losses caused by extreme weather conditions or any other circumstances that prevent your wedding from taking place.

Free Wedding Workbook & Website For Our Couples

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Guest List & Budget
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Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
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Organize Notes into your own Categories
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Send Email in Bulk
Works with your Existing Email Address
and so much more!!

Contact us today to have this set up for you for free.

Choosing Your Wedding Colors

Choosing your wedding color theme is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make when you start planning your wedding. Colors will set the tone of your wedding and determine the dresses, decor, and stationery that you order. Whether you’re thinking about a bold color combination or something more subdued, considering these factors will help you choose the right wedding colors theme.

First of all, consider the colors that will make up your background. For most couples, this will be a church or religious establishment followed by a banquet hall. Take trips to the place where your ceremony is going to happen. What color are the carpets? What color are the walls? If there is stained glass in the windows, what colors are used? Take notes and even take photos of your ceremony location. Then take a visit to your reception hall. Again, jot down or take photos of the general decor.

Think about what colors would and would not go with your wedding ceremony and reception locales. If the church you’re getting married in has red carpets and primary colors in its stained glass windows, a lime green and hot pink combination just might clash. Red, navy blue, dark green, or other bold primary colors would go well with the windows, while in summer you can probably do pastels. Loud neon colors would just be too much when there’s already a lot of color happening.

If you haven’t chosen a ceremony location yet, try to find something with a blank pallet of white walls so there won’t be any limitations in your wedding color combination choices.

Don’t forget to think about your bridesmaids. Although you may look good in every color of the rainbow, your gal pals may not. Some people just don’t look good in mustard yellow or fire engine red. Ask your girls if there are any colors they usually try to avoid and cross those colors off of your options list. Remember that darker colors can have a slimming effect, and weight conscious bridesmaids will certainly not want to wear a shade of white.

Once you’ve narrowed down your wedding color theme choices, think about what colors generally go with the season of your wedding. Oranges and yellows can work great for a fall wedding, while light blue and silver surely speak of a winter wonderland theme wedding. Darker colors are usually used in for a winter wedding, while pastels reign for spring weddings.

Bold colors are great for summer weddings or beach-themed weddings. Although those may be the trends, don’t be afraid to break from tradition to use your favorite color combination. Make sure you choose wedding colors you enjoy, and not an outrageous combination you’ll be sick of by the time your honeymoon rolls around! Follow these tips and you’re sure to come up with the perfect combination for you.

Wedding Trends

~ Consider having a theme wedding! Theme weddings are rising in popularity and offer a great, inexpensive way to personalize your wedding. By starting with a theme, you will be surprised at how easy it is to personalize your wedding with your own special touches.

~ You don’t necessarily need to have a period theme, such as a Victorian or Renaissance wedding. Instead, you could make your wedding memorable by personalizing it with your own special theme. There are many themes to choose from, including: “cupids”, “Paris in springtime”, “romantic candlelight” etc.

~ Some brides are useing wedding newsletters to keep their family and friends up to date with their wedding plans and schedules. Newsletters can save you from making endless phone calls, and can be revised three or four times leading up to your wedding date. The newsletter can include such information as: when people are needed for fittings, profiles on yourself and the groom (for guests you may not have met) and other personal information.

~ The new trend in bridal gowns leans toward a more elegant and stylish approach. Many brides are now choosing gowns with simple, but stunning, lines. It seems the trend in bridesmaids dresses and accent colors is moving away from pastel colors. Deep shades, such as burgundy, forest green and navy blue are becoming more popular choices, with cummerbunds and bow ties being made to match.

~ Brides are buying more thoughtful gifts for their attendants. It is being recognized that the best gifts are not the most expensive ones, but the ones that are chosen with your sincere thanks. Some popular ideas include: antique looking, silver frames with a picture of both you and your bridesmaid/attendant, or gift baskets filled with beauty products. The gift needs to say “Thank you for being here and helping to make my day so special”.

~ Because wedding costs can be quite expensive, there is a rising trend in the sharing of the total expense, not only by both sets of parents, but by the couple themselves. This is especially the case with professional couples who have been living on their own for a number of years, who may even want to pay for the entire wedding.

~ Some couples are choosing to be married at their honeymoon destination, and are inviting only close family and friends. There are many destination wedding packages available, so ask for details.

~ Many couples are personalizing their wedding ceremony by writing their own vows.

~ A wonderful, moving new trend is to face the congregation during the ceremony (as opposed to the traditional stance of having your back to them).

~ More couples are choosing to incorporate their ethnic background into their wedding ceremony and theme, as well as their reception.

~ Many brides are now moving away from formal, posed shots for their wedding photography. Instead, candid photography and a photojournalistic approach to the day are rising in popularity.

~ For the reception, buffets are becoming the most popular menu choice as they accommodate every guest’s taste.

~ Multi-flavored and layered wedding cakes are becoming firm favorites. Some brides like to choose a different flavor for each layer of their cake. For example, a layer of chocolate cake, a layer of marble cake and a layer of vanilla cake. Also, more creative decorative ideas are being used, especially fresh flowers.

~ Cake tops are being ordered to match specific wedding themes and color schemes. Brides are also copying the cake tops used by their parents and grandparents at their weddings. If you like, you could follow the trend of placing wedding photos of your parents and grandparents on your cake table, which gives a sentimental and romantic touch.

~ Less traditional gifts for the guests are being given. New ideas include: personalized chocolates, seedlings, monogrammed wine glasses and small perfume bottles tied with ribbon.

~ Another new reception trend is the replacement of the receiving line. A new, more relaxed way to perform this duty is for the bride, groom and the wedding party to make their way around the room, speaking to guests who are seated at their tables.

~ If you have decided to invite children to your reception, this new trend is for you! By providing a designated play room and a babysitter for children, you will get the best of both worlds. By providing this service, the children are still present, but can be kept entertained and cared for by the babysitter in the play room, leaving their parents to relax and enjoy the festivities.

~ With the wide variety of materials now available, many brides are finding it hard to match their reception decorations, flowers and napkins to the exact shade of their bridesmaid’s dresses. Because of this, a new trend in shading has arisen. By using varying shades of the color you have chosen, you will be able to add depth and interest to your color scheme. For example, if your bridesmaid’s dresses are burgundy in color, you could use a deep red and a light red to achieve a contrasting look.

~ One thoughtful new trend is to donate leftover reception food to charities who provide food kitchens for the needy.

~ More couples are choosing to hyphenate their surnames and some brides are choosing to keep their maiden names, for business or personal reasons. However, it’s not only career women who are deciding to keep their maiden name. If you come from a well-known family, or are an only child, you may feel strongly about keeping your maiden name also.

Order of Events at the Reception

Cocktail Hour

By beginning with a cocktail hour, you will give your guests a chance to gather at the reception facility, deposit their gifts, and meet and mingle with other guests. It will also provide time for lost guests to find their way to the reception. Meanwhile backstage, this time can be used by the photographer to take portraits of the wedding party. If desired, the bridal couple can arrange to eat at this time, ensuring that they will indeed get to eat, thus freeing up their time to mix and mingle with guests later on during the lunch/dinner portion of the reception. The cocktail hour usually takes place at the reception hall.

Receiving Line

The bridal couple can open up the reception hall with a receiving line and invite everyone inside. This will ensure that the bridal couple will have the opportunity to greet each guest at least once during the festivities. The reception line traditionally includes the bridal couple, the couples’ parents, the best man, the maid-of-honor, and any special guests.

Introduction of the Wedding Party

Once the guests are inside the reception hall, the wedding party is then introduced by the emcee as they parade inside. First comes the
groomsmen and bridesmaids, then the flower girls and ring bearer, the parents, and the bridal couple.

Dancing (Option #1)

The First Dance, Father and Daughter Dance, etc. can occur before dinner immediately upon the Bride & Groom’s introduction to the reception area. This will allow the dancing to begin much earlier in the reception thereby eliminating a lull in activities that so often happens. Once the bride and groom have danced, and then the parents and attendants, then the guests will feel comfortable dancing while others may be eating or in a buffet line. This will allow many of the guests who know how to ballroom or maybe Latin dance to do so on a non-congested dance floor.

Toasts

The best man will then make the first toast, followed by the maid-of-honor, the father-of-the-groom and the father-of-the-bride. If they so choose, the bridal couple can make a speech thanking the guests for coming, the parents for paying, and anything else
they may wish to say.

Lunch/Dinner is Served

During this time, the bride and groom (if they have already eaten) can mingle and make informal visits to each table, or even have table pictures taken by the photographer. If guests wish to make speeches, sing songs, tell jokes, do a skit, this would be the ideal time.

Dancing (Option #2)

If the bride and groom haven’t danced their first dance yet, they may now take the opportunity to open up the dance floor with their first dance. Then the father/daughter dance, then the mother/son dance. The attendants then join in the dancing and then the guests are invited to dance as well.

Cake Cutting

The bride and groom cut the cake for dessert. Additional toasts may be made at this point.

Bouquet and Garter Toss

More Dancing, if time allows

Departure of the Bridal Couple

Amid sparklers, confetti, bubbles, birdseed, or rice.

Departure of the Guests

In structuring your reception timeline, make sure to consult with your photographer, your disc jockey or musicians, your reception facility representative and/or caterer, and your bridal consultant if you have one. Also make sure your master of ceremonies is familiar with the scheduling of events.

Wedding Traditions and Customs

  • Best Man:

As marriages were historically accomplished by capture (the groom would kidnap the woman), a warrior friend was often employed. This Best Man would help the groom fight off other men who wanted the captured woman, and would also help in preventing the woman’s family from finding the couple.

  • Bridal Party:

The bridal party has many origins, not the least of which are the Anglo-Saxon days. When the groom was about to abduct his bride, he needed the help of many friends, the “bridesmen” or “brideknights.” The “gentlemen” would make sure the bride got to the ceremony on time and to the groom’s house afterwards. The bride also had women to help her. These were known as the “bridesmaids” or “brideswomen.”

  • Bridal Showers:

The Bridal Shower originated with the intent to strengthen friendships between the bride and her friends. In this gathering, the bride’s friends would give her moral support and help her prepare for her marriage. The idea to give gifts is fairly new; originating circa the 1890’s. At one shower, the bride’s friend placed small gifts inside a parasol and opened it over the bride’s head so that the presents would “shower” over her. When word of this hit the fashion pages, people were so taken with the idea that they decided to do the same at their showers.

  • Bride on the left, Groom on the right:

When the groom fought off warriors who also wanted his bride, he would hold onto her with his left hand, while fighting them off with his sword in his right hand (we suppose there were no Southpaws in those days of yore), which is why the bride stands on the left, and the groom on the right.

  • Diamond Engagement Rings:

These lavish gifts were given by medieval Italians in the belief that the diamond was created in the Flames of Love.

  • Garter Toss/Bouquet Toss:

Many things are thrown through the air at weddings: rice (for fertility), bouquets (for luck and protection), and garters (also for luck). The garter is my favorite.  Apparently, in the good old days, before wedding dresses cost as much as small cars, people used to rip off chunks of the dress for good luck.  In long-ago England, in a slightly related custom, friends of the groom would rip off their socks and throw them; the first to hit the groom’s nose would be the next to be married. In the 14th century, it was customary for the bride to toss her garter to the men, but sometimes the men got too drunk, and would become impatient and try to take the garter off her ahead of time. (Eventually the groom got into the act and saved his bride from the unruly mob…we hope). All the same, it got to less trouble for her to toss her bridal bouquet instead.

  • Honeymoon:

Following the abduction, the groom would put himself and his bride into hiding – the Honeymoon – so that by the time the bride’s family found them, the bride would already be pregnant.

  • Shoes on the Bumper:

Tying shoes to the bumper of the car represents the symbolism and power of shoes in ancient times. Egyptians would exchange sandals when they exchanged goods, so when the father of the bride gave his daughter to the groom, he would also give the bride’s sandals to show that she now belonged to the groom. In Anglo-Saxon times, the groom would tap the heel of the bride’s shoe to show his authority over her. In later times, people would throw shoes at the couple.

  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and a Silver Sixpence in her Shoe This rhyme originated in Victorian times. ‘Something Old’ signifies that the Couple’s friends will stay with them. In one version of the tradition the ‘Something Old’ was an old garter which was given to the bride by a happily married woman so that the new bride would also enjoy a happy marriage. ‘Something New’ looks to the future for health, happiness and success.

    ‘Something Borrowed’ is an opportunity for the Bride’s family to give her something as a token of their love (it must be returned to ensure Good Luck), and ‘Something Blue’ is thought lucky because Blue represents fidelity and constancy. The custom began in ancient Israel where brides wore a blue ribbon in their hair to symbolize their fidelity. A sixpence was placed in the shoe to bring the couple wealth in their married life. Some brides still place a penny in their shoe during the marriage ceremony.

    Stag Parties:

    Ancient Spartan soldiers were the first to hold stag parties. The groom would feast with his male friends on the night before his wedding. In this event he would say good-bye to the carefree days of bachelorhood and swear continued allegiance to his comrades.

  • Tie the Knot:

This wonderful expression originated from Roman times when the bride wore a girdle that were tied in knots which the groom had the fun of untying. As a side note, this phrase can also refer to the tying of the knot in Handfasting Ceremonies, which were often performed without the benefit of a clergy.

  • Veil:

Along with these kidnappings and bartering, there were also arranged marriages. In these, the groom’s family informed him that he was to marry…but they very rarely let him see the bride. After all, if the groom didn’t like the bride’s looks, he might not agree to the marriage. With this in mind, the father of the bride gave the bride away to the groom who then lifted the veil to see his wife of all eternity for the first time. (I have to wonder how many of these grooms voiced their reactions aloud.)

  • Wedding:

Although the aforementioned events were common, marriage by purchase was preferred. Quite often the bride was exchanged for land, political alliance, social status and/or currency. Indeed, the Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” meant the groom would vow to marry the woman – and that the bartered goods and/or currency would go directly to the bride’s father. (Side note: the very word “wedding” comes from the root term meaning “gamble” or “wager”.) In short, a wedding seemed little more than the purchase of a bride for breeding purposes. Not a particularly liberated point of view.

  • Wedding Bands:

It is unknown when wedding bands were first worn. They were probably made of a strong metal such as iron. (One can easily guess the portent of an omen if a wedding band broke.) As far back as the ancient Romans, there was a belief that the vein in the third finger ran directly to the heart, so the wearing of rings on that finger joined the couple’s hearts and destinies.

  • Wedding Cake:

Like most any other ritual handed down from the ages, a wedding wouldn’t be complete without fertility symbols, like the wedding cake. Ancient Romans would bake a cake made of wheat or barley and break it over the bride’s head as a symbol of her fertility. (Whether this meant cracking the cake above the bride’s head or actually bonking her on the noggin with it is rather unclear. We’re not sure we want to know…) Over time, it became traditional to stack several cakes atop one another, as tall as possible. The bride and groom would then be charged to kiss over this tower without knocking it over. If they were successful, a lifetime of good fortune was certain for the new couple. Finally, during the reign of King Charles II of England, it became customary for cake to be a palatable palace iced with sugar.

  • White Wedding Dress:

Anne of Brittany made the white wedding dress popular in 1499. Before that, a woman Just wore her best dress. It should be noted that a white wedding dress is in no way indicative of The “purity” of the bride-to-be. Indeed, white is not accorded as a symbol of chastity, but of joy.

Wedding Party

Early in the planning stages of your wedding, you and your fiance should choose those special people who will be your attendants. Usually you choose your closest friends and relatives to share in the excitement of your big day. Following is a list of the traditional wedding participants and their responsibilities.

Maid of Honor

The maid of honor is usually a special friend or sister of the bride. She is expected to help the bride as much as possible.

  • Helps the bride with addressing invitations, serves as a shopping adviser, helps bride with gifts, etc.
  • Attends all pre-wedding parties, showers, etc.
  • Pays for her own wedding attire.
  • Helps in organizing the bridesmaids and their wedding attire, and makes sure they know their ceremonial duties.
  • Is in charge of the groom’s wedding ring until the appropriate time during the ceremony, when she exchanges it for the bride’s bouquet.
  • Along with the best man, signs the wedding certificate as a legal witness.
  • Helps the bride in arranging her veil and train, and also when dressing for the wedding.
  • She is also a member of the receiving line.

Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids are primarily to add a warm, personal, colorful touch to the wedding festivities. They are always invited to all pre-wedding parties, showers, etc.

  • Bridesmaids are responsible for the purchase and fitting of their wedding attire (the bride may wish to buy their accessories).
  • Bridesmaids may assist the bride with pre-wedding tasks and errands.
  • Bridesmaids participate in rehearsal and ceremony and also in the receiving line.

Best Man

The best man is usually a brother or best friend of the groom. He is the groom’s right-hand man in organizing his activities for the day.

  • Helps to host the bachelor party (or dinner, which is optional).
  • Pays for his own wedding attire.
  • The best man transports the groom to the church, and helps him dress for the ceremony.
  • Supervises the groomsmen and ushers and makes sure they are properly dressed and that they know their duties.
  • The best man takes care of the bride’s ring until the appropriate time during the ceremony.
  • He presents the clergy person with his/her fee either just before or just after the ceremony.
  • The best man, along with the maid of honor, signs the wedding certificate as a legal witness.
  • The best man offers the first toast to the bride and groom at the reception.
  • He transports the newlyweds to the airport or from wherever they are leaving for their honeymoon.
  • The best man returns the groom’s formal wear either to his home or back to the formal wear shop.

Groomsmen

The groomsmen are usually close friends, brothers, or relatives of the couple.

  • They pay for their own wedding attire.
  • They attend the bachelor dinner or party (if one is held).
  • They attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • They escort the bridesmaids during the ceremony processional and recessional.

Ushers

Ushers have more details to attend to. They should be specifically instructed as to their responsibilities.

  • They pay for their own wedding attire.
  • They should arrive at the church at least an hour before the ceremony.
  • They light the candles about 15 minutes before the ceremony begins (if this assignment is given to them by the clergy).
  • The ushers should obtain from the couple a list of guests for special or reserved seating.
  • They should make sure that grandparents, godparents, etc. have their flowers before they are seated.
  • The ushers distribute wedding service programs to the guests while seating them; or they may put the programs in the pews ahead of time.
  • The usher should introduce himself/herself to the guest and should ask whether he/she is a guest of the bride or the groom.
  • The bride’s guests are traditionally seated on the left side and the groom’s guests seated on the right side. Sides are reversed in an Orthodox Jewish wedding. Ushers may choose to balance the sides if one is filling up much faster than the other. In many church weddings, parents now go down the aisle with their respective children.
  • The usher should offer his/her right arm to the woman of a pair of guests, or to the oldest woman of a group. Other members of the guest group walk slightly behind as the usher escorts them to their seats. Single men may simply walk beside the usher.
  • The groom’s parents should be seated last of all. They should be seated in the right front pew, and then the bride’s mother in the left front pew. After the head usher escorts the bride’s mother to her seat, no more guests are seated until after the processional. In some cases, the families are just simply seated as they come in.
  • After carefully unrolling the aisle carpet, the ushers should take their places. An extra usher should remain to seat latecomers.
  • The ushers should escort the parents of the bridal couple and any special designated guests out of the church after the recessional.
  • The ushers then indicate to other guests pew by pew, when they may leave their seats following the recessional.
  • Check over the church/synagogue to see that it is clean and orderly.
  • At the reception, ushers generally do not sit at the bridal table(s), but sit with the other guests

Mother of the Bride

  • Assists the bride in selecting gown and accessories, wedding colors and attendant’s attire, and personal trousseau.
  • Helps in compiling the guest list, and in addressing invitations.
  • Provides friends with information about gift registry preferences of the bride.
  • Assists in ceremony and reception details.
  • Selects her own dress and consults with the groom’s mother on their styles and colors of dresses.
  • Keeps the father of the bride and the groom’s parents informed on wedding plans and preparations.
  • May take care of incoming gifts.
  • Acts as the official hostess at the wedding and reception. She is the last person to be seated at the ceremony and the first to greet the guests in the receiving line (see previous usher section). The bride’s mother also sits in the place of honor at the parents’ table. However, this is at the discretion of the bride and her mother.
  • May ride with father of the bride to the ceremony or assist in dressing the bride the day of the ceremony.

Father of the Bride

  • Rides with the bride to the ceremony.
  • In the traditional procession, he escorts his daughter during the processional, then sits with the mother of the bride in the left front pew. However, many brides walk down the aisle with both parents. (See also groom’s parents.)
  • Preferably stands in the receiving line or may mingle as the host of the reception.
  • The father of the bride should dress in conformance with the groom and his attendants.
  • The father of the bride is usually the last person to leave the reception, and also bids guests farewell.

Groom’s Parents

  • The groom’s parents should call on the bride’s parents to express their approval as soon as possible after the engagement.
  • The groom’s parents might walk down the aisle with their son.
  • The groom’s parents sit in the right front pew during the ceremony and they are special guests at the reception.
  • The groom’s mother always stands in the receiving line, and the father may stand in the receiving line or mingle with the crowd.

Flower Girl and/or Ring Bearer

  • The flower girl is usually between the ages of 4 and 10. Her dress may be exactly like the bridesmaids’ or something similar. She should carry a small bouquet, or basket. She precedes the bride and her father.
  • The ring bearer is usually between the ages of 3 and 6 years of age. He carries a small pillow with a ring stitched onto it (preferably a fake ring). He also precedes the bride and her father.
  • The ring bearer may be dressed in short white pants, with a fancy white shirt, bow tie, and white shoes; or he may be dressed to match the men in the wedding party.
  • The parents of the flower girl and ring bearer pay for their children’s wedding attire.
  • The flower girl and ring bearer should be included in transportation arrangements.
  • The children and their parents should be included in the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • The children do not have to stand in the receiving line.
  • It is a wise suggestion to have a baby-sitter to take care of the children during the reception so that the parents can relax and enjoy the evening.

Other Participants

You may find that you would like more friends and relatives involved than the size of your wedding party allows. There are a number of other duties that need attention. You might have a friend read a scripture passage at the ceremony; or serve as a candle-lighter; or greet guests as they arrive.

You may need assistance at the reception also. You could possibly ask a group of friends, or relatives, to decorate the hall, and to be in charge of the wedding gifts – take them either to your parents’ home or your home. You might ask younger cousins or friends to attend the guest book, and clean up after the reception.

Tips for budget bridal showers

When hosting a bridal shower, it can be easy to get carried away. Hosts, typically a close friend or relative of the bride, often feel obligated to give the bride the “perfect” party — a concept as elusive as it is expensive.

 
However, if you find yourself planning an upcoming bridal shower on a budget, have no fear: It’s entirely possible to plan a tasteful, fun and sentimental gathering without breaking the bank. Here are five time-saving and cost-cutting ways to throw a beautiful bridal shower:

Invitations

It can be tempting to blow your entire budget for the party on the invitations, but consider saving money (and time) by sending them electronically. Web sites like Pingg.com make sending invitations and tracking responses electronically a breeze. And with an enormous online image database, it’s almost guaranteed that even the pickiest planner will find the perfect invitation design.

Food

Skip hours of baking and frosting and provide your guests with a creative and low-fat ice cream cake. Ice cream sandwiches from The Skinny Cow look sweet when stacked in a pyramid and topped with creative garnishes. Your guests will be thankful for a low-fat snack option, and you will have time to actually enjoy the party. Sandwiches come in strawberry shortcake, chocolate, vanilla, vanilla/chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, mint and cookies n’ cream flavors. Use one flavor for a consistent look or mix and match flavors for extra guest options.

Drink

Sangria is an unexpected and delicious drink to serve at your shower. Added bonus: the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find. You can even substitute grape juice and seltzer water for wine for a tasty non-alcoholic version. The only other ingredients required are slices of fresh fruits such as oranges, pears and peaches, and about 1/4 cup of sugar. For variations on the classic recipe, check out Cooks.com or AllRecipes.com

Games

Rework an old classic by playing a game of Bridal Shower Bingo. First, create copies of a blank grid resembling a bingo card. As the guests arrive, have them fill out the grid with gifts that they think the bride will receive. (The free space is in the middle and players can write their own gift in this space.) As the bride opens a gift, players cross it off their bingo card. Award a prize to the first person to fill five spaces in a row, across or diagonally.

Favors

Pamper your guests with homemade body scrubs in simple, elegant glass mason jars. You can even customize the recipe below to include your favorite scents and colors.

You will need:
3 cups Epsom salt (or coarse sea salt)
1 cup oil (almond, canola or olive oil usually works best)
Essential oils for fragrance
Mason jars

Instructions:
First, measure out your salt and pour into a large container. Measure out the oil and slowly pour into the salt while stirring. Finally, add the essential oil to the desired strength. Attach any desired ribbons, hang tags or other decorations to the outside of the jar.

Your Wedding Rehearsal

This list of tips and advice should help you make the most of your rehearsal time. They are based on real-life experiences from having performed wedding ceremonies and coordinated rehearsals. You are sure to find it useful.

The purpose of the wedding rehearsal - This gives you the opportunity to figure out all the tiny logistical details of entering, exiting, which way to face, handling the rings, handling the bouquet, etc. Having all these minute details rehearsed in advance will make your wedding ceremony run smoothly so you and your parents can be proud. When we coordinate a wedding rehearsal, we always go through the entire ceremony two times to be sure everyone is comfortable with what they are supposed to be doing. The first time is always a mess – don’t worry about that. It gets better each time.

Who should attend the wedding rehearsal - All members of the wedding party including bride, groom, best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer, readers, mothers and fathers. Everyone should arrive on time because we will start on time.

10 Tips

#1 - Know in advance of the rehearsal where any large decorative structures (wedding arch, ferns, pedestals, etc.) are going to be so we can avoid the area.

#2 – Have a few chairs set up to represent the front row, so we can judge the amount of space needed and also because we will practice seating the mothers.

#3 – Many brides and bridesmaids bring mock bouquets made of paper plates and ribbon to the rehearsal. This is an excellent idea so everyone can get used to holding them. The bride may also want to have a mock veil or train if you are going to wear them in the ceremony.

#4 – If there is going to be an aisle runner, decide ahead of time who will pull it out and at what point in the procession it will be done. Traditionally, it was done just prior to the bride’s entrance but recently it changed so that the entire wedding party walks on the runner. It’s your choice.

#5 - Decide if you want the groomsmen to come in all together in the beginning or paired up with bridesmaids. If they are to enter in pairs, decide in advance who will walk with whom.

#6 – If you are going to have a unity candle, we will practice that with the actual candles that will be used in the ceremony. Each unity candle and their holders are configured slightly different, so it will be important to rehearse with the same one that will be used at your wedding. Notice, a unity candle is NOT recommended for outdoor weddings.

#7 – If you are having a rose presentation during your ceremony, we will rehearse that as well. Since this part of the ceremony may be a surprise for the recipients of the roses, plan on just the Bride and Groom remaining a few minutes after everyone else has left and we will rehearse that part separately.

#8 – Bring your marriage license to the officiant at the rehearsal. Traditionally, it is the Best Man that is responsible for remembering this detail.

#9 – Be prepared on the evening of the rehearsal to pay any vendors that are supposed to be paid prior to the wedding.

#10 – It may be convenient to meet with other wedding professionals such as caterers, photographers, decorators, florists, etc on the evening of the rehearsal. Arrange time to meet with each of them separately from the rehearsal time. The rehearsal time should be dedicated to rehearsing.