The Ins and Outs of Planning a Double Wedding

When it comes to a wedding, why not double the happiness?! Sisters, close relatives, or good friends may wish to express their mutual fondness for each other by sharing their wedding day and planning a double wedding. This kind of affair, in the long run, can save both couples money. At the time, however, it can be quite an extravaganza to plan and coordinate, with twice the number of attendants, more guests, and a lavish outpouring of food and drink. And, of course, a joint reception always follows a double wedding. So what should both sets of brides and grooms keep in mind when planning one of these events? Here are some tried-and-true etiquette guidelines.

How can I differentiate myself from my fellow bride? What about our bridal parties?

Brides can wear differently styled wedding dresses with trains and veils of about the same length. Attendants of both brides dress with the same degree of formality, and in the same color or complementary shades (deep plum and pale lavender, for example). For a formal wedding, ushers all wear traditional black-and-white formalwear (with different but complementary bow ties and cummerbunds for the grooms and best men) or, for a ceremony before 6 pm, cutaways.

What's the best way to announce a double wedding on the invites?

The two brides may wish to issue a joint invitation, particularly if they are sisters or very close friends. List the elder bride's name first on an invitation for a double wedding. If the brides are twins, list their names alphabetically. It is also appropriate to send separate invitations if the brides are not sisters or simply want their own stationery suites, but insert a card informing guests about the unique situation.

Anything in specific I should keep in mind for the ceremony?

For the procession (if there is one aisle), you can split the entire bridal party (ushers, bridesmaids, honor attendant, flower girl, bride) to go one after the other for each bride, in the same way as you did for the invitations. The attendants can also walk two by two, one sister's maid of honor paired with the other's honor attendant, and so forth. At the head of the aisle, attendants usually separate so that those of the first bride are on the left, and those of the second bride are on the right. The ceremony may be divided into sections, with each couple completing each part in turn: First one couple speak their vows, then the other. However, the final blessing may be given to both at the same time. Then each pair kiss and turn to face their guests.

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