Off the Record

In many ways, modern technology makes planning a wedding much simpler and as a prospective bride you are, no doubt, very savvy about how to make it work for you. The days of running around from one vendor to another are over. Only the vendors who have made the cut to the “last round” need to be visited in person. The Web can offer you any number of short cuts and time saving advantages. For example, most manufacturers of wedding and bridesmaids’ gowns have Web sites. That works especially well if you have chosen attendants who live in different cities and want to include them in making selections.

Vicky asks: “Most wedding venues no longer allow prospective brides to sneak in for a peek in order to hear what a band or orchestra sound like. How can I get an idea of what these musicians sound like before I hire them? I hate to go by looks and references alone.”

Dear Vicky: You are correct. This is a luxury that venues no longer provide — they have found it to be disruptive of the wedding in progress. To combat this, most live music groups have prepared a CD with samples of their different kinds of music they play. Some groups have one, or more, vocalists and these too appear on the CD. Some more sophisticated professionals have prepared DVDs, so you can not only hear, but also see the group “live.”

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Another way to catch a live glimpse is to visit bridal shows that have performances going on during the time the show is in progress. Call the show promoter in advance, so you can check credentials, before you see the group in action. You may also wish to ask to see still photos that the group has taken at affairs they have played. For a listing of many of the region’s bridal shows, visit for up-to-date information.

“Decking” Order

Jessie asks: “Is there an order for who picks a gown first? I want to pick my wedding gown, first, and then have everyone else pick a style that ‘matches’ mine.”

Dear Jessie: Traditionally, the bride gets to pick her gown first and it is her gown that sets the style for others to follow. The mother of the bride gets to selects her gown, next. The mother of the groom gets the next pick. If you can arrange for your mom and your mother-in-law to-be to go shopping together, that creates an opportunity for the two moms to get acquainted. The degree of formality and colors are the bride’s choice and the moms need to make their selections based on the bride’s wishes. 

Of Maids and Men

Alice asks: “Can a married person be a Maid of Honor? And what would I call a married or widowed ‘Best Man’?”

Dear Alice: Neither the best man nor the maid of honor has to be unmarried. A married or widowed man retains the title “Best Man,” while a married or widowed maid of honor is called a “Matron of Honor.” Divorced honor attendants are okay to chose, but be sure that choice wouldn’t offend your religious beliefs, or the sensitivities of your guests. Several Christian denominations have guidelines about who can be honor attendants. Some religions require that the official witnesses must be of the same the faith in which the ceremony is conducted. It’s advisable, if you are having a religious ceremony, to check with your officiant.

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