Words Of Wedding Wisdom: DOUBLE WEDDINGS

Welcome to this series of articles based on my popular book, “The A to Z of Wedding Wisdom” … a few juicy extracts that you might like, to give you a taster of what the book can do to help make your wedding (or a friend or relative’s wedding) superbly successful.

This time, we look at…

Double weddings

Double weddings aren’t very fashionable these days but can offer considerable advantages. First of all they are a lovely idea where two couples who are close friends, or where there are two siblings, can share this fantastic experience together. The other, more down-to-earth reason is that there can be considerable cost savings.

In the case of two couples who share many of the same friends and family members, spreading the cost – particularly of the reception – makes the whole thing more affordable. It also mean that because of the economies that are possible, the two couples together can afford what may be a somewhat more lavish wedding than if they were picking up the tab by themselves.

What are the realities?

Obviously if you’re a bride who wants to be the sole star of the day, a double wedding is not for you.

The issue of having two brides and their families organizing the whole thing can jump in one of two directions. If the two brides get along very well they will share the chores of wedding planning and preparation and so relieve some of the burden and stress associated with doing it on your own. However by the same token, should there be disagreements between the brides and/or their families, you double the aggravation.

The takeout message here is, only go for a double wedding if you know both brides can work harmoniously together – and under pressure, too. Don’t forget that you will have to agree on everything from the design of the invitations to the colour schemes of the flowers to the bridesmaids’ dresses to the choice of menu for the reception. You need to be pretty well in tune with the other person to achieve that.

Can they happen anywhere?

In theory the answer is yes, but in practice some officiants may not be keen on the idea. Some religions may not permit double weddings at all. Because double weddings tend to involve a larger crowd of people than the single variety, some churches, registry offices and other wedding ceremony venues may not be big enough.

If you want to have a double wedding it’s sensible to check with your intended officiant and venue very early on in the planning process a) to allow plenty of time for them to prepare for it and b) to save you wasting time on planning if the answer is no.

Who does what?

When two sisters are the brides, normally their father (or whoever would perform that role) walks the older bride up the aisle and a brother or other close male relative does the honors for the younger sister. The father gives both sisters away in the ceremony, though, and if everyone prefers, he also can walk both girls up the aisle with one on each arm.

To avoid the ceremony looking like a performance of the local choral society, it’s a good idea for the brides to share the bridesmaids. You need two best men/women, though, and you could probably have a maid or matron of honor each.

As far as I can ascertain there are no existing customs regarding the speeches at double weddings, so logic should prevail. Obviously in the case of two sisters the father of the bride or whoever is performing that role can manage with just the one speech, appropriately shared between the two brides. However unless the grooms are brothers, you will probably want to have two best men/women speeches. As the grooms will want to speak and possibly the brides as well, here more than anywhere it’s important to keep the speeches short.

Who goes first?

The usual plan is that the older of the two brides has her name uppermost on the wedding invitations, goes into the church first, and her family take precedence in the seating arrangements over the family of the younger bride (assuming they’re not sisters.) However there are no hard and fast rules about this and you’re perfectly entitled to handle this whichever way you want.

You may want to choose a wedding ceremony venue with an aisle wide enough that both brides and their male escorts can walk up together, and both couples can walk back down together after the ceremony.

For all 174 pages of helpful tips and advice, grab your copy of “The A to Z of Wedding Wisdom” from Amazon (USA), Amazon (Canada), Amazon (UK) and all other Amazons.


Useful further reading for all your social and business writing:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand