The Wedding Series – Planning, Etiquette & Protocol

“Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale.”
~ Author Unknown

Weddings often have a fairy tale aura about them, especially when they are held at beautiful venues, everyone is dressed up (sometimes in clothing they will never wear again!), music is playing, champagne is flowing, there are flowers everywhere and love is in the air. As well, smaller and simpler weddings can be equally charming and storybook-like. It’s a time when romance takes center stage and the Bride and Groom — starring leads in their own story — are feted like no other time in their lives.

How did weddings begin? From the myth of the caveman bopping a woman over the head and dragging her off by the hair to later legends and lore that tell us that a man, with the help of his male friends and relatives (the early groomsmen!), would kidnap a woman and fight off any of her family members who tried to rescue her, and even hide her from her family until the marriage ceremony could be performed — with or without her consent. It’s believed by some that the custom of the bride standing to the left of the groom in the wedding ceremony originated because a man would protect — or guard — the woman with his left arm while battling her family with his sword that he held in his right hand.

The word, “wedding” originates from the Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” which meant that a man would purchase a woman from her father by paying with money, land or material goods. This practice dates back to ancient and Biblical times. Today, of course, weddings continue to involve the exchange of money, but in a very different way! It seems that everyone associated with the wedding, the couple getting married, their parents, friends, relatives, wedding party participants, guests and so on all wind up paying for some aspect of the wedding. Nonetheless, weddings continue to be extremely popular and major events in the lives of an endless number of brides and grooms.

According to the “The Wedding Report,” website, in the U.S. during 2013 2,156,320 weddings occurred at an average cost of approximately $25,000 and an average attendance of 130 guests. That amounts to a $54 billion industry.

Where will your wedding fall among these statistics? Will it be large and lavish, small and simple or somewhere in between? Regardless of the size and components to your wedding, there are some important realities to consider, including (A) even the smallest wedding will involve important details that must not be overlooked, (B) complexities will arise that you might never have anticipated and (C) this is a milestone in the lives of you and your intended and you want it to be very special, if not perfect. That involves planning, time, a budget, lots of patience and a keen understanding of the needs of your family, friends and others in your life.

Why a Wedding Is Not All About the Bride

A wedding is a celebration of two people who want to share their joy at getting married to each other with their family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and others to whom they are close. Therefore, while the bride traditionally is the center of the wedding event, she should be kind, considerate and thoughtful of the person she will be marrying and everyone involved in the planning process. The bride-to-be should also make every effort to include her fiancé, parents and future parents-in-law in the planning, and take great care not to burden her attendants and guests with excessive expense and inconvenience.

Ironically, it’s that very starring role that causes many brides-to-be to become over-stressed and suffer lapses in civility toward those who are working hard to make her special day her dream come true. This phenomenon has given rise to the term and concept of the “bridezilla,” a bride who becomes obsessed (some might say possessed) with micromanaging her wedding and alienating everyone involved. She believes that all revolves around her and that everyone should bow to her desires, needs and decisions. No one wants to be around such a person, and certainly the bridezilla herself doesn’t want to see her dream wedding reduced to a nightmare.

Thus, both bride and groom should never forget that regardless of who is paying for their wedding, they themselves are host and hostess as well as honorees of their wedding. As such, they are expected to be gracious to everyone who is being kind enough to help get them to the altar in style, however large or small the contribution.

The Wedding Plan

Every event begins with a plan, and your own wedding might be the most important event of your life. To help keep you calm and focused, you will need to put together your Wedding Plan, so getting that database or spreadsheet fired up to keep track of tasks is a good idea to keep track of expenses and other details! To that end, I’ll be blogging on the following wedding topics for the next many months (and the list might expand!):

  1. Popping The Question
  2. The Engagement Ring
  3. Telling Family and Friends
  4. What Kind of Wedding? Let Us Count The Ways!
  5. The Newspaper Announcement
  6. The Engagement Party
  7. Communications: Keeping Everyone Informed
  8. Setting the Date
  9. Choosing The Wedding and Reception Venue(s)
  10. The Wedding Planner
  11. The Traditional Wedding
  12. Non-Traditional and Informal Weddings
  13. The Destination Wedding
  14. Assembling the Wedding Party
  15. The Roles of the Mother and Father of the Bride
  16. The Roles of the Mother and Father of the Groom
  17. The Role of the Maid (or Matron) of Honor
  18. The Role of the Best Man
  19. The Role of the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
  20. Who Will Officiate?
  21. The Wedding Invitation (and Save the Date)
  22. The Wedding Invitation List (and Announcements List)
  23. The Wedding Website
  24. Gift Registries
  25. Wedding Gifts – Viewpoint of the Bridal Couple
  26. Wedding Gifts – Viewpoint of the Guests
  27. Deciding on the Wedding Theme and Colors
  28. Planning the Reception
  29. The Bridal Dress
  30. Other Wedding Attire (Groom, Attendants, Parents, Guests)
  31. The Wedding Cake
  32. The Bridal Shower(s)
  33. The Bachelorette & Bachelor Parties
  34. The Wedding Rehearsal
  35. The Wedding Rehearsal Dinner
  36. The Day Of The Wedding
  37. The Wedding Ceremony
  38. The Wedding Reception
  39. Wedding Photos / Videos
  40. The Wedding Bouquet (and other flowers)
  41. Wedding Announcements (Newspaper)
  42. Marriage Announcements
  43. The Honeymoon
  44. Thank-You Notes
  45. Post Wedding Parties
  46. If You Decided To Elope

Please join me as I blog about the many aspects of weddings, and feel welcome to join the conversation!

Until next time,

Jeanne

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