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Wedding party 

Your wedding day is a very special day, and you will want to be surrounded by friends who are very special, and who are happy for you. Before you get caught up in the excitement of the time, and invite a lot of people to be in your wedding, take time to plan and think first. If someone asks to be in your wedding, thank them, taking time to let them know how much you appreciate their being excited about your wedding, but tell them you have not made any definite plans, and will be in touch. Don't make snap decisions.

The formal wedding party normally consists of the following people: maid/matron of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen (ushers may be a separate group or groomsmen can serve as ushers), ring bearer, flower girl, hostesses who serve at the reception.

Having a balanced number of attendants is not nearly as important as the feelings of the people concerned. You should not tell the groom he has to leave out one of his best friends, because you are having fewer bridesmaids just so there will be an even of attendants on each side. Being an attendant at a wedding can be very time consuming and expensive, and should be an honor for special friends. In some cases even special friends may decline the honor due to financial hardships; this refusal should be accepted graciously and with understanding, and other jobs offered (server, etc.) in order to include this person. It is customary to include members of the other's family (sister/brother) in the wedding party if at all possible. If there are special children, you might want to include them, but do not search for children to be in the wedding just because you think they are necessary; children often become fidgety, cranky and frightened, and can become a problem, especially if very young. It is the rare child under the age of 5 who will perform well if at all.

Keep in mind at all times, that this is not a stage production, but a marriage between two people who want to share their special day with their friends and relatives. If you have two best friends, you do not have to choose between them for maid of honor..have two honor attendants, and divide the duties...during the wedding one can hold the ring, the other can be handed your bouquet...one can put on the garter, while the other hold your dress out of the way...a little thought will make this a comfortable arrangement. If the groom's mother feels "cousin Sue" absolutely must be in the wedding, accommodate her. Just remind the mother that the attendants are all close friends and cousin Sue might feel left out of the group since she does not know anyone including the bride. You might suggest alternate jobs...keeping the guest book, etc. If she insists, you must weigh future relationships, against your wishes and make intelligent but compassionate decisions. Above all do not allow something as unimportant as having an extra bridesmaid spoil your day. Life is about compromises, and learning to live with them.

Accommodation must be made for members of the wedding party who live out of town unless they prefer to make their own arrangements. It is acceptable for attendants to stay with you if you have room and will not become frustrated at having extra persons around. The groom pays for the accommodation for his out of town attendants and the bride for hers. Travel arrangements and wedding clothes are generally paid for by the attendants, but if you are in a financial position to pay for the clothes, it is an appreciated gesture.


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