Wedding Styles

As you plan your wedding, you must decide on the type of wedding you want.
Weddings can be broken down into 4 basic types.

   A very formal wedding usually includes an elegant traditional gown with a long train and a veil in a complementary length for the bride. Formal attire (white tie and tails in the evening, cutaways in the daytime) for the groom and all the men in the wedding party. Four to twelve bridesmaids in floor-length dresses. Long dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom. A high noon, late afternoon or evening ceremony. 200 or more guests. Engraved invitations, usually the large size, with separate reception invitations enclosed. A large and lavish reception.

A formal wedding usually has these characteristics: A traditional wedding gown with a chapel or sweep train and a veil for the bride. Formal clothes (black tie in the evening, stroller jackets with striped trousers in the daytime) for the groom and his attendants. Two to six bridesmaids, usually the long dresses. Long or elaborate street-length dresses for the mothers. Ceremony at any hour of the day. At least 100 guests. Engraved invitations, usually with separate reception invitations enclosed. A festive reception.

A semiformal wedding usually means an elaborate street-length dress (or a simple floor-length dress) and a hat or short veil for the bride. Dark suits for the groom and his attendants. One or two bridal attendants in street-length dresses. Street-length dresses for the mothers. A morning or early afternoon ceremony. Fewer than 100 guests. A single engraved invitation to both ceremony and reception. A small but charming reception.

  An informal wedding is usually characterized by street clothes, often a suit, for the bride. Suits for the groom and best man. A maid of honor, but no bridesmaids, in street clothes. A daytime ceremony anywhere, including City Hall. A guest list including relatives and close friends. Handwritten or personal invitations to the small ceremony and reception.

   There are no rigid rules in planning weddings. Today’s couples, besides using their own ideas, have the option of choosing from many different unique combinations and varieties of many customs and traditions to fit their plans. This is only a guide in which to refer to, not a rule book in which to adhere to. Before anything else, the wedding must make the bride and groom happy.

   After you decide on the type of wedding, you have to decide where. If you decide on a formal wedding, you should begin to make arrangements at least six months ahead of time. The date of your wedding day must be chosen with obvious consideration to religious regulations and local customs. The availability of the church, temple, or synagogue, reception hall, and caterer must also be regarded as many of the more popular places and services are booked up to two years in advance. A good banquet manager or caterer can be a tremendous help, so ask questions and rely on their experience.

   It’s customary for the wedding to take place in the bride’s hometown, but this isn’t always practical or desired. A couple can choose virtually anywhere to hold their wedding: a judge’s chamber or an elegant hotel ballroom, or aboard a ship at sea, or the splendor of a Gothic cathedral, or a beautiful outdoor setting in a garden gazebo. They can also choose any time. Their religious beliefs, type of affair, the life style they live, the number of guests, would dictate their final choice.

   The actual procedures of the wedding ceremony vary from religion to religion, on the couple’s preferences, and on the clergyman’s practices and procedures. Even within a given faith, traditions vary, and many couples prefer to write their own wedding vows and ceremony depending upon the options they have to work with. All the ceremony must be carefully planned and discussed with your clergyman and then, if possible, rehearsed before the wedding in order to ensure smoothness.

   The reception can be anything from a small, quiet dinner to a festive party celebration. It can be held in your home, garden, private club, church hall, large restaurant, or ballroom. You can serve punch and cake, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres or imported champagne and a five-course dinner. Depending on the time of your ceremony, your reception can take the form of a breakfast, a luncheon, or a banquet. Some couples like to hold their ceremony at one time and place and stage a reception later in another time and place. For example, they might have a wedding at 10:00 o’clock in the morning and celebrate their party in the evening. The entire reception is entirely up to you. The important function of any reception is to give an opportunity for your relatives, friends, and loved ones to greet you, wish you well, and help you celebrate the happy occasion. Your personalities and life-style will reflect upon the type of reception you will probably choose. One word of advice – A joyful and festive reception is something that many people always remember and can be a happy memory for the rest of their lives and yours also.

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