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Ask the Experts

Attire

Question: My friend and her fianc├ę were due to be married in Sept. 2001. He called it off the day before the wedding; I will not say why. They stayed together and were married in St. Lucia in a civil ceremony this past November. My friend wants to have the religious ceremony and the reception in November 2004 and is unsure how to word the invitation. I've told her that I'd help in any way I could (I am the maid of honor).
Is it a vow renewal? What do we do about the church ceremony? Do we wear the same dresses, etc.? Thanks for your help.

Answer from Euca Burrows Sugarman
By Invitation

Hello, I am the owner of By Invitation Only (an invitation studio), and Euca Do It Event Production. I have been a wedding planner for over 10 years and I am pleased that Johanna has asked me to reply to your inquiry. I would be inclined to say that your friends are sanctifying their vows rather than renewing them - this is really what is happening since they are now being married in a religious ceremony, rather than renewing after some time (renewal usually signifies that several years have passed). They should also check with their officiate for any additional guidance, as this person may have some experience in this area.

On the invitation they may wish to say: You are invited to join us as we sanctify our vows - or even the more traditional "The honour of your presence is requested as we sanctify our vows... followed by location and date, with their names at the end. I suggest this alternative since they may have sent out announcements for their civil ceremony. As, usual the specific wording depends on who is "sponsoring" the wedding - her parents, or the couple themselves.

With regard to the ceremony and the dresses - if the couple were married with many of the same guests attending the civil ceremony then new attire would be appropriate - the question is if this is a formal wedding, or a more toned-down affair, focusing on the religious aspect. If only the wedding party were involved the first time, with a small group of attendees - then I would say to go ahead and wear the same dresses. However, I always council my brides with the following: The laws of what is proper are not so deeply drawn as in the past, and though we want to be appropriate, in this day and age, you really can do whatever makes you comfortable. So, bottom line, the decision is yours.

In this situation, she can choose a full formal wedding, or a smaller affair - whatever is appropriate based on the level of importance to the bride, groom, and families of this ceremony compared to the civil ceremony.


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