H&H Weddings

Planning a wedding is stressful enough without having to worry about etiquette guidelines. Let us help you out!

Ask us a question regarding étiquette by contacting us at bonjour@handhweddings.com

etiquette / q & a Apr 6 2016

Q

My partner and I are trying to decide how to walk down the aisle without labeling one of us "bride" and the other "groom". Any suggestions?

A

In terms of marital traditions, LGBT weddings can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Because there are no rules, the options are endless; which can be extremely overwhelming to a couple trying to figure out the best way to celebrate their love and commitment with friends and family.  

The solution to the issue of walking down the aisle can be simple. Many couples have said they always knew who would walk first and wait at the ceremony spot, and who would then follow. Other couples have stated that, in order to avoid “bride” and “groom” stereotypes, they walked down the aisle together, signifying that they are not being “given away,” rather entering matrimony as united partners.
 

Unfortunately, it’s not always this easy. For many couples, neither partner is more masculine or feminine, and neither wants to be labeled as such. At the end of the day, the framework for these ceremonies still lies in tradition. Luckily, there are plenty of options to make your big day memorable and meaningful!
 

If both sets of parents are participating and supportive, one option is to have each bride or groom be walked down the aisle, separately, by their parent(s). Proceeding this way gives each bride or groom their moment in the spotlight.
 

Another idea is two aisles. This less traditional option can take away from attention being paid to one person at a time, but some couples might prefer to walk towards each other to the ceremony spot, signifying that they will meet in the middle. Though, this may get tricky when it is time to leave the ceremony as a couple. If you choose this option, talk to your venue and/or planner about how best to set up the ceremony space.
 

Since weddings are all about the love and support of families and friends uniting, couples might choose to walk down the aisle together. Though if you have a wedding party, it could become quite difficult to walk with your escorts as well without over-crowding the aisle. If this is the case, consider having all escorts and members of the wedding party walk first, with you and your partner to follow as a couple. This is a great way for newlyweds to feel that they are supported by all their loved ones.
 

At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner. You should feel like it belongs to you and the love of your life, so make it your own!

permalink
Tagged: etiquette, we do's
end
etiquette / q & a May 12 2015

Q

Can I invite my ex to my wedding?

A

It’s the question that plagues so many couples planning their weddings; to invite an ex or not? Because the average age of a first marriage is on the rise, people tend to have deeper dating histories. All of this can be great in so many ways, but can be cause for problems when planning a wedding.  
Rule number one, and this goes for Every. Single. Decision (wedding related or not); check in. It seems simple, but it’s oft forgotten. You might be worried about the reaction of your spouse-to-be, but you must ask.  
Rule number two; be honest! Yes, it sounds obvious, but how many times have you conceded to something you weren’t actually okay with? “Yes, I would love to invite your parents on vacation….”  
Rule number three; better safe than sorry. If there is a chance that this ex might cause tension at the wedding, forget the invite. This is the first step for you, as a couple, in the next stage of life. The day is all about you, so make it perfect! There should not be distractions or ill will towards anyone there. It’s all about the love!  
This is definitely on a case-by-case basis, but if both partners are honest and forthcoming, the decision should be clear!

permalink
Tagged: etiquette, we do's
end
etiquette / q & a Apr 13 2015

Q

I am getting married in a few months and as we plan, we are discussing logistics about the ceremony and reception. One thing that came up is whether, as grooms, one or both of us could (or should) carry a bouquet.

A

So many traditions to break, so little time! If you and your man want to stroll down the aisle carrying beautiful blooms, why shouldn’t you!? I would be wary of the functionality of it. Once you get to the spot where vows will be exchanged, you can likely hand the flowers off to a member of your wedding tribe. However, depending on how you plan to walk down the aisle, it may be a nuisance. For instance, if you plan to walk down the aisle arm-in-arm with both parents, it would seem awkward to also be holding a bouquet as both arms are linked with other people’s. If you plan to walk alone, or with only one escort, a bouquet certainly seems like a fine and practical idea.  

If you and your husband-to-be both plan to carry bouquets, make sure they look like cohesive floristry, you’ll want them to compliment each other for pictures and video. 
 

Besides the few, pragmatic things to think about, you should go with your gut. And if that’s saying carry a bouquet, who is to say you shouldn’t? Besides, can you image two bouquet tosses?! Amazing.

permalink
Tagged: etiquette, we do's
end
etiquette / article Oct 23 2014

Wedding Party Attire

Regular
Regular
Regular
Regular

I love a good fashion dilemma, especially when it comes from a bride or groom-to-be. As you navigate what will likely be one of the biggest days of your life, the last thing you want to stress about is wedding tribe attire. Alas, it's something that will have to be addressed! 

Recently, I was talking to a couple who is getting married. Both parties expressed concern that their wedding party wouldn't look cohesive. Nowadays, people are identifying all over the gender/sexual orientation spectrum. No longer can it be assumed that all bridesmaids will wear dresses! Which is amazing, but also stressful.

First things first! As the couple getting hitched, what are you wearing? If your attire is casual, the wedding party can take note. Suspenders (no suit jacket required) can be worn, along with jumpsuits, rompers AND two piece top/skirt ensembles. The options are endless! Generally speaking, I would say that as long as the color palette is similar, your group will look cohesive. Also, if you tell your wedding party to "wear whatever," make sure there isn't one person with red on, while the rest of the group is in blues. Your party will appreciate a bit of guidance. No one wants their attire to take any attention away from the newlyweds! Give a general idea of the look and feel or palette that you're aiming for. Even if it's just "blues and purples." That's enough direction to make sure everyone is on the same page! 

If you are having a small wedding party, it won't matter as much, as those in your crew are probably already in touch with each other. 

Lastly, remember that this is your day. You will be looking at these photos for the rest of your life, so make sure you're happy with them! If you want everyone to match in formal attire, that's perfectly acceptable. If you're going for a more casual, mis-matched appearance, own that! Be clear with the members of your tribe about what you want! 

permalink
Tagged: we do's, etiquette
end
etiquette / q & a Jul 2 2014

Q

My husband-to-be and I are planning our wedding and working out some of the logistics of the ceremony. The question of parents walking us down the aisle came up, but neither of us had ever considered that an option. Would it be weird?

A

Nothing is “weird” if it’s what you want. The idea that you are starting a new chapter in your life with the love & support of your parents is beautiful. At the core, that’s what a wedding is about, surrounding yourself with those who have your back.  

We love the idea of couples being walked down the aisle by parents! It’s sweet, it’s romantic and it’s reassuring. Talk to the venue about how you’d like to proceed. Perhaps you and your man want to walk together with both sets of parents. Maybe you want to walk down two separate aisles towards one another. Maybe one of you will wait at the altar for the other.  

There are so many options, but as long as you feel the love on your wedding day, that’s all that matters!

permalink
Tagged: etiquette, we do's
end
etiquette / article Jun 26 2014

Dietary Restrictions

Regular
Regular
Regular
Regular

It used to be that you would offer guests at least one protein and one vegetarian option on the menu for your wedding reception. Nowadays, it seems as though most people have dietary restrictions, which can make a menu meant for the masses seem almost impossible. First and foremost, you know your guests! If you have a lot of gluten free guests, it might be a good idea to make the entire meal gluten free, if possible. Inviting your college friends who all happen to be vegan? No worries! There are plenty of options for them, too! 

Depending on how many guests you have with special dietary needs, you might want to ask your caterer for advice. They will know best how to tackle your needs. After all, you want everyone to enjoy their meal, despite any restrictions they have. Most caterers are so used to prepping for different needs, they probably won’t even think twice about it. 

But, what about you and your spouse!? It is your big day and since you are likely the people paying for the food, you should absolutely love what you a€™re eating. As for the main course, pick one that you know you wi€™ll love and work the rest around your guests! Doing hors d'oeuvres? Make sure there will be a few in there for you to munch on.

There are plenty of solutions, like two cakes instead of one (make a gluten free or vegan cake for those who have restrictions), which might even offer you the chance to try to kinds of sweets!

Lastly, leave a line under the menu option, assuming you're doing a sit-down dinner, where guests can leave notes about allergies and restrictions. 

permalink
Tagged: etiquette, we do's
end
etiquette / article Jun 19 2014

Your Ceremony Officiant

Regular
Regular
Regular

This week's etiquette post is brought to you by the wonderful, Jenn Bean. She is the owner of Marry Me Ceremonies, a wedding officiating service. In the third installment of her guest post, Jenn discusses the in's & out's of who should officiate and how to go about it. Here is what Jenn had to say...

Your wedding ceremony is what the big day is all about and should set the tone for the event!  Thinking about a wedding Officiant and wedding ceremony details are often one of the last wedding planning activities couples address. Unfortunately, if you are not associated with a religious institution you may not have many options for someone to write and perform the actual wedding ceremony.   

Did you know almost anyone can get ordained online to officiate your wedding? There is no better way to make your big day even more special and personal than having a friend or family member play such an important role! One of the services I offer is to write a professional, personalized ceremony that a friend or family can use to officiate your ceremony. While I love officiating, I offer this to all my clients. Here are some things to consider about having a loved one act as your Officiant:  

1. The Officiant should be comfortable speaking in public, using a microphone and being videotaped. It helps if they are also loud. Even with a microphone outdoor weddings can be tricky with wind, wildlife, etc. You want all your guests to hear your ceremony and not miss any of the special or fun elements.  

2. The Officiant should be fun but appropriate, which sometimes is a fine line. Keep your audience in mind and remember your ceremony should reflect you, not the Officiant. Your parents and grandparents may have a different sense of what is appropriate and funny than your closest friends. The rehearsal dinner and after ceremony speeches are better suited for more colorful stories.  

3. The Officiant should be responsible. You have enough details to worry about, you need to trust they will be prepared and perform a ceremony that reflects you and sets the tone for the day. They are also responsible for making sure they are legally ordained (and licensed if required in your state) and completing and mailing your marriage license for processing. If you want your union legal and official please follow this advice! One additional consideration, getting married out of the country is often more complicated and expensive to make legal. I recommend getting legally married in the US first. No one has to know you are already legally married, your guests are there to celebrate you love and witness your exchanging of vows.

permalink
Tagged: etiquette, we do's, marry me ceremonies
end
etiquette / article May 29 2014

Creating A Perfectly Personal Ceremony

Regular
Regular
Regular
Regular

This week's etiquette post is brought to you by the wonderful, Jenn Bean. She is the owner of Marry Me Ceremonies, a wedding officiating service. In the second installment of her guest post, Jenn gives couples a few more ideas for making their ceremony exclusively theirs. It's always a good idea to shift focus onto the newlyweds, which is why we are loving these unique ideas! Here is what Jenn had to say...

Your wedding ceremony is what your celebration is all about and should set the tone for the rest of the day! Little details can express your style as a couple and add fun to your ceremony and celebration. I hope these following ideas inspire you to think creatively about your ceremony and find new ways to express your love, reflect your relationship, and include loved ones on your big day!

1. Identify quotes and poems that reflect your relationship. Having a friend or family do a reading is a great way to include special people in your ceremony. Quotes provide a nice transition between ceremony sections.

2.Include fun stories about the two of you, ex. How you met, the proposal, when you knew the other was "the one"€. This provides an intimate look at your relationship and is a great way to add humor and fun!

3. Make it a community event! Instead of the traditional "giving away the bride," ask all parents, family, and/or guests to stand when asked "€œWho supports this couple," have them respond "We do."

4. Incorporate wedding traditions from your cultural heritage and/or something that symbolizes the joining of your lives. Through the magic of the internet you can find almost unlimited options! My favorites include the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony, the Japanese Sake Ceremony (you get to drink during the wedding!), and the Truce Bell, where a bell is rung on your wedding day celebrating the happiest day of your lives. The Bell is then placed in a central location in the home and if you start to argue, one of you can ring the truce bell, reminding you of that happiness and hopefully ending the disagreement quickly.

5. Ask guests for relationship advice. You can have fun notecards and pens available during the reception or, depending on the size of your wedding, you can include in the actual ceremony or during speeches via open microphone. This works best for 75 guests or less.  For larger weddings you can ask a select group of friends and family for statements your Officiant can include in your ceremony.

permalink
Tagged: marry me ceremonies, etiquette, we do's
end
etiquette / article Apr 2 2014

Billy & Pat Vlog

'Walking down an aisle' is a wedding tradition that originated within churches and usually consists of the bride walking down the aisle towards the groom. However, when it's a same-sex couple, how does this work? Check out what Billy & Pat had to say about incorporating or not incorporating this age old tradition into their wedding!

permalink
Tagged: billy and pat, we do's
end
etiquette / article Oct 16 2013

Informal Wedding Ceremonies

Regular

This article is brought to you by the fabulous Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories. Across the nation, she is the leading same-sex wedding planner. She trains wedding professionals around the world, showing them how best to service LGBT couples. Bernadette is doing a three part feature for H&H Weddings. The second part deals with the in's and out's of an informal wedding ceremony.

I've planned many weddings at which the fifty-plus guests stood for ten- to twenty-minute wedding ceremonies. There was select seating for elderly family and friends but generally no more than twenty or so chairs up front. These types of weddings have a nice casual vibe to them, and often the marriage ceremony seems to unfold very organically.

Informal ceremonies can work well €”and they can fail. If you are considering this option, here are some tips:

  • Truly keep the ceremony no more than fifteen minutes long.
  • Even though this is casual, make a plan about the partners' processional. Options including coming in from two different directions and meeting in the middle, walking down a central aisle, and walking down the sides of each aisle and meeting in the middle.
  • Make sure you have a coordinator designated to clear the aisle or form an aisle when it's time for the processional.
  • Greet your guests with a drink (which could be champagne, sparkling water or lemonade) when they arrive, and plan to allow the guests to mingle for about fifteen minutes before your true ceremony start time.
  • Don't mingle with your guests during that time, or your ceremony will definitely start late!
  • Place the ceremony musicians where they will be easily visible by your coordinator so the coordinator can cue the processional music when the time is right (it's sometimes hard to see the musicians when most people are standing!).
  • Make sure you have "an escape route" and destination after the recessional if there's no receiving line. Otherwise you and your partner will get mobbed by your guests and a receiving line will happen spontaneously.

If you follow those guidelines, an informal ceremony can work out very well and can set the tone for a casually fun and upbeat reception. Gay couples seem to enjoy this style of event because it breaks with tradition and because many of them don’t want the grand-entrance processional of conventional wedding ceremonies.

Two of my grooms held their wedding ceremony in their gorgeous living room with thirty friends and family members (who had been drinking champagne and having nibbles for forty-five minutes). The twenty-five-minute ceremony was scripted and delivered by a celebrant who, after asking them to complete individual questionnaires and spending quality time learning about their lives together, beautifully told the story of their relationship. One of the readings was from the book Giovanni's Room, one of the groom€™s favorite novels.

In case you missed it, check out the first article of the three part etiquette series from Bernadette here.

    permalink
    Tagged: etiquette, we do's, 14 stories
    end
    Back to top