Taj an Ashley & Alexandria’s real bride was dressed like modern royalty on her wedding day with her love Hassan. The wedding took place at Byblos Banquet Hall in Dearborn, Michigan. The bride wore an off the shoulder Dovita Bridal ballgown. The wedding gown has a traditional silhouette that exudes grandeur and formality. Using subtle lace and sequin accents the wedding dress evoked a regal feel for the bridal ceremony and reception.
Deciding to marry your partner means you’re signing up for more than just a wedding ceremony and reception. In fact, it’s kind of like signing up for nine different parties, all designed to celebrate this important occasion. While each is undeniably exciting, hosting a handful of events is no easy task. Here’s the skinny on what parties you’ll be organizing, planning, and just plain showing up for.
Typically hosted by either the parents of the bride or the parents of the groom, this party should take place within one to three months of the engagement. Invitations are often extended to immediate family and a small group of friends, as all guests of the engagement party will also be invited to the wedding.
Bridal Shower or Couples’ Shower
Hosted closer to the wedding date—usually around two months to two weeks prior—the bridal shower celebrates the bride and showers her with gifts. These days, there are no specific guidelines regarding who should host this event, but close friends and/or family of the bride typically host this ladies-only soirée. Many couples are now opting to celebrate with a couples’ shower, though they should not host this themselves.
Bachelor Party and Bachelorette Party
Usually hosted by the groomsmen and the bridesmaids respectively, the bachelor party and bachelorette party take place at least one week prior to the wedding. The guest list typically includes same-sex members of the wedding party and any additional close friends and siblings.
Bridesmaid Luncheon and Groomsmen Luncheon
Either the day before or the day of the first major wedding weekend event, the bride and her bridesmaids, as well as the groom and his groomsmen, attend a brunch or luncheon. The mid-day events usually take place on the same day, but in different locations. Traditionally, the wedding party hosted these celebrations, but most modern couples are opting to cover these costs in light of the myriad expenses the wedding party has already covered.
For couples hosting a weekend-long wedding, especially a destination wedding, kicking off the weekend’s festivities starts with a welcome party. This is typically set up as a cocktail party that all wedding guests are invited to attend. The welcome party is hosted by the couple or by their parents, either the night before the wedding or two nights before the wedding.
Traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents (though just as often hosted by the couple), the rehearsal dinner takes place one or two nights prior to the wedding. For local weddings, rehearsal dinner invitations may only include the wedding party and immediate family. For destination weddings, the intimate environment usually means the invitation can be extended to all wedding guests. This event provides a great opportunity for toasts and speeches to be given.
Wedding Ceremony and Reception
The wedding ceremony and reception can be hosted by anyone—the bride and groom, one set of parents or both sets of parents. Most often, invitations are extended to all guests for both events, but church wedding ceremonies may provide an exception depending on capacity limitations.
With so many venues closing early due to noise restrictions, the wedding after-party has become a popular event following most weddings. Hosted by the bride and groom or the wedding party, this post-reception continuation of the evening is usually open to all wedding guests to attend but is more popular among the younger crowd of friends.
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You’re in the home stretch, brides. Just a few more days and you’ll be walking down that aisle, saying “I do” to the love of your life and jetting off for the honeymoon adventure of a lifetime. But, if it’s the week before your wedding, and you still have A LOT left to complete on your wedding checklist, panic mode might be setting in.
With only a few days left in your wedding planning adventure, it’s totally understandable that a few things on your growing pre-wedding to-do list might slip your mind. Did I confirm the ceremony musicians? Did my sister ever buy her shoes to go with that maid-of-honor dress? And oh shoot, I still have to pack for my honeymoon! We know these thoughts (and more) are constantly racing through your mind and even sneaking into your dreams in your sleep. It’s exhausting — how are you supposed to get any of that bridal beauty sleep?!
Not to mention that since, as a bride, your closet friends and family just want to eat, drink, and be merry to celebrate you and your fiance’s upcoming marriage. But you don’t have time for fun, you have to confirm the florist! safe to say your nerves are probably in need of a little massaging or last-minute guidance.
But more than anything, the week before your wedding, you deserve a giant high-five and while we’re at it, a hug too, because the hard part is over. Now, what’s left is a wedding weekend celebration that will fly by faster than you can cut your very own wedding cake.
So before the big day arrives and you’re off walking down the aisle and into the arms of your life-long love, be sure to take a gander at our grand to-do list for brides-almost-to-be. It’s best to get all of your belongings in order, sooner rather than later, so you can kick your feet up and enjoy every second of your wedding celebrations, without making last-minute trips to pick up travel-sized shampoo or texting your bridesmaids at midnight begging them to help you with an unforeseen wedding dress emergency.
If you think you’ve done it all, crossed all your t’s and dotted your I do’s, click through our list of the 50 final things all brides should take care of before their one-of-a-kind wedding day.
Get the full list here.
Photo: Ashley Caroline
If it’s not your first time tying the knot, there are probably a number of questions running through your head. What can you do again? What should you do differently? And what just totally doesn’t fly? We asked our wedding experts to walk us through eight of the biggest questions that couples ask when planning a second wedding.
Whether it’s your first wedding and your partner’s second, vice versa, or you’ve both been down the aisle before, if one of you has previously tied the knot, there are definitely a few details that aren’t as cut and dry as they are the first time around. Thankfully, wedding planner Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events, has first-hand experience to help guide you. “I just got married for the first time, but it was my now-husband’s second marriage. These are the big things we took into consideration as we planned our wedding,” Nichols says.
Is it alright to have a big wedding?
It depends! Says Nichols, “If you both previously had larger weddings, and they were less than five years ago, it might not really be appropriate to have a large wedding now. However, if it is one of your’s first weddings, then it might be OK.” Ultimately, it is up to the two of you to choose how big or formal your second wedding might be. “One thing to be sensitive to is if there are children from the previous marriage,” Nichols adds. “If they’re young or may be uncomfortable in a large wedding setting, this might be something to take into consideration. For my recent wedding, my husband had two tween/teenage sons from a previous marriage and we chose to have a smaller wedding. We both felt it would be ‘easier’ on the kids if it wasn’t a big, over-the-top affair.”
Can we have a religious ceremony?
“This is something you ultimately should decide together as a couple and with your clergy person,” says Nichols. “Every religion is different in terms of what is considered respectful and acceptable when it comes to second marriages.” Know that some faiths may be opposed to having a religious ceremony for your second marriage—and may not allow you to hold the wedding in a house of worship.
Can the bride wear white?
“Sure! It is her wedding day, and if a bride wants to wear white, she should be able to wear whatever she’d like,” Nichols states.
Can we have a wedding shower or bachelor/bachelorette parties?
This is a trickier one. “In my opinion, if it is the bride’s first wedding, yes, you can have a shower or a bachelorette party. If it is the bride’s second wedding, in theory she would already have many of the things ‘needed’ for starting adult life in your own home, such as pots and pans, etc.—which are some of the most common shower gifts,” Nichols explains. Of course, many couples choose to get new housewares to reflect their new relationship and marriage. “Feel our friends and family out on this one,” says Nichols. “If someone is offering to host a celebration for you and everyone is enthusiastic about the idea, it’s okay to have a shower. I just would recommend keeping the guest list on the smaller side.”
Nichols also wants brides who are marrying for the second time to know that some friends may opt to not buy a second shower gift—and may skip the wedding present, too—if they were there for the first wedding, and that is 100% okay on their part. “It’s also important to be sensitive to any female friends or relatives who have not gotten engaged or married yet,” Nichols continues. “It may sting a bit if you’re asking her to be a bridesmaid (again) or host a shower (again) when she hasn’t had her ‘turn’ yet.”
Should we invite our exes and their families? In which instances?
“Generally my advice would be no, unless situations are such that you are still very friendly and close with your former spouse and/or his or her family members,” says Nichols. “In the event that your second marriage is after the death of your previous spouse, I think inviting your deceased spouse’s family is a very nice gesture. Just know that it might be a hard situation for them, and that they may not attend.” Long story short, it depends on the nature of your relationship with your former spouse, as well as how long ago your previous marriage was. “For most couples, I think the answer here would be no,” Nichols concludes.
Can we have a registry?
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Though for some, a manicure is a standard part of their self-care routine, many women don’t spend much time worrying about their nails. Oftentimes, that changes after getting engaged, when so many people – friends, family, even strangers – are focused on your hands so they can gush over your new ring. This is a perfect time to find your bridal manicure style. [Read more…] about Pick Your Bridal Manicure Style