Double Weddings: Twice as Nice or Double Trouble?
By: Karen Sullen
Just think of all the benefits a double wedding can bring! Twice the fun, twice the excitement and twice the budget! Double weddings are a great way for sisters, cousins, best friends, and even brothers, to share the costs of their special day. More available resources can mean the difference between two smaller weddings or one large wedding done in grand style. If you and your relative are planning a wedding around the same time, having a joint wedding can also be a blessing for the guests. Out-of-town family won't have to make the trip twice in one year. And you won't have to worry about conflicting dates or deciding who gets to have their wedding first. Although rare, double weddings can be a win-win for everyone!
Here are some planning tips to make sure your double wedding is not double trouble.
Top Billing: Be sure that the wedding invitation reflects both couples' names so that guests won't be surprised at the ceremony. But whose name is listed first? If the brides are sisters, list the oldest sister first. For example, "Your presence is requested at the marriage ceremonies of Jane Smith to Michael James and Janet Smith to Paul Williams…" The remainder of the invitation would be the same as a standard wedding.
Practice, Practice, Practice: There will be some slight variations to the wedding ceremony because two couples will be doing everything, from lighting the unity candle to taking their vows. Practicing the flow of the service with everyone involved will help make things go smoothly and ensure that everyone responds appropriately. I once attended a double ceremony of two sisters where one of the grooms was so nervous. As the pastor said the vows for each couple individually, he said "I do" both times. Guess he got two brides for the price of one!
One Wedding or Two: Some couples have been known to have two mini-weddings instead of combining the two, making sure that each bride gets her spotlight moment. However, this can be unusually long and tiring. A better idea is to work together on the color scheme, theme, and order of service. A joint wedding doesn't mean each bride will lose her individuality, either. Since many brides are already choosing different dress styles for their bridesmaids, it is easy for each bride to express her own style. Just keep everything harmoniously within the same color palate. Shades of colors would be easy to work with, using lavender for one bride and purple for the other, for example.
To Each His Own: The reception is a time when each bride can really make an individual statement. Sweetheart tables can be decorated for each couple with one long table for the wedding party. Each couple could have their own cake and garter/bouquet toss. But the other elements, like the first dance, wedding toasts, decorations and favors can be shared.
Gift Anxiety: One concern for people attending a double wedding involves the gifts. Many may question whether a gift should be given to both couples. Unless you happen to be a family member or friend of both couples, only one gift is required for the couple you know. Since many might be embarrassed to ask, disseminate this information through friends, family, wedding website or tastefully add the information to the reception card or insert.
Sharing Dad: A little girl often dreams of her father walking her down the aisle on such a special day. But for a double ceremony between sisters, who gets that honor? Well, it depends. Dad can escort both brides, if the aisle is large enough to accommodate the three. Or have the eldest daughter escorted by the father and the youngest by the oldest brother.
Working together with a spirit of compromise and understanding is probably the best advice for a successful ceremony, as each detail is discussed in an atmosphere of openness and honesty. With proper planning and cooperation, you can have the wedding of your dreams that is filled with love. What greater demonstration of love than to give another couple the honor of sharing your special day!