Category Archives: For the Wedding Guest

Wedding History Day — Catholic Ceremony

Like the Jewish wedding, a Catholic wedding ceremony is rooted in so much tradition and ritual.  There are many important parts to this beautiful ceremony which is why these ceremonies often last 45 minutes to an hour in length.  Suzanne & Peter’s wedding was such a learning experience for me.  Today’s Wedding History Day will cover the various parts of the Catholic Wedding Ceremony and offer some helpful tips and links for brides planning to have a Catholic ceremony themselves.  Enjoy!


1).  The Processional — Groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and maid of honor enter.  Typically the groomsmen escort the bridesmaid with the maid of honor walking alone.  Then the bride enters with her father. (Source: Brides Magazine)


2).  Hymn — Guests are invited to join in the singing of a hymn by the priest. (Source: Brides Magazine)


3).  Greeting or Opening Prayer — The priest begins mass with a greeting or opening prayer. (Source: Brides Magazine)


4).  Old Testament Reading — Choose a reading from the Old Testament.  Ask a family member or close friend (perhaps someone you weren’t able to include in the bridal party) to read. (Source: Brides Magazine)


5).  Psalm — Sung either by the entire congregation or the church soloist. (Source: Brides Magazine)


6).  New Testament Reading — Again, ask a family member or close friend to read the passage of your choice. (Source: Brides Magazine)


7).  Gospel — The priest reads a passage from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. (Source: Brides Magazine)


8).  Homil — The priest reflects upon what he has just read. (Source: Brides Magazine)


9).  Vows and Ring Ceremony — “Memorize and recite the vows together, read the vows from the book, or have the priest read them and respond with ‘I do.’ (Source: Brides Magazine)”  After the vows will be the ring exchange and the priest will bless them as symbols of love and fidelity. (Source: Brides Magazine)


10).  The Kiss — Um, no explanation needed 🙂 Typically, while in the church, couples tend to yield on the conservative side for this one!  (Source: Brides Magazine)


11).  Nuptial Blessing — Priest blesses the marriage with a prayer. (Source: Brides Magazine)


12).  Sign of Peace — “Guests and wedding party exchange a sign of peace by shaking hands and saying, ‘Peace be with you.'” (Source: Brides Magazine)


13).  Communion — The priest offers communion to members of the church.  Non-Catholic attendants do not take communion but walk through line and give the priest a nod or cross arms over chest to let him know they are not participating. (Source: Brides Magazine)


14).  Lord’s Prayer — Said in unison by the entire congregation. (Source: Brides Magazine)


15).  Blessing and Dismissal of the Congregation — The priest gives one more blessing and then dismisses the congregation by saying, “This mass has ended.  You may now go in peace.” (Source: Brides Magazine)


16).  Recessional — Reverse order of the processional. (Source: Brides Magazine)


Also, check out The Knot for more tips on the Catholic wedding including pre-marriage requirements, etc.

All photos courtesy of DC Wedding Photographer Joseph Allen.


Happy Thursday!


15 Wedding Guest Dos & Don’ts (via MSN Lifestyle!)

Alex & me back in college

My friend Alex, who calls himself this blog’s biggest fan, has the unfortunate luck of being my G-Chat friend and, therefore, receiving numerous wedding links throughout the work day and a comment from me that says, “Look how cool this is!” or something of the sort (Alex is not the only friend that puts up with this…but he is the only guy!).  Don’t worry, he sends me ESPN links and pictures of Natalie Portman and other “hot chicks” throughout the day too!  However, last Friday, he sent me a link to Adrienne White’s article entitled, “15 Wedding Guest Dos & Don’ts,” featured on MSN Lifestyle, and I loved it (yea ladies, he’s a keeper)!  I just wanted to point out these dos and don’ts as I think they are definitely things that many wedding guests are not aware of or forget to even consider!


RSVP — Pay attention to the deadline and return your RSVP as soon as possible.

Buy your wedding gift early — Take it from me as a former Bed Bath & Beyond Bridal Consultant…if you don’t selection will be very limited!

Be on time — Let’s face’s just plain tacky & rude to show up late to a wedding ceremony.  Plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early so you can find your seat, get your program, use the restroom prior to the ceremony start, etc.  If you do arrive late and the ceremony has already started, wait outside of the ceremony unless otherwise directed.

Pay attention to dress code — Always dress nice for a wedding but also, dress for the venue and according to the bride & groom’s instructions.  Jeans and shorts are typically not appropriate attire.

Stay out of the photographer’s way — Let the photographer capture the moments that he or she was hired to capture.

Congratulate the family — Make sure to thank the family for hosting you and congratulate them, even if you’ve never met them!  It’s a very emotional & expensive day and they will appreciate anyone that takes the time to thank them.

Party — Dance, drink, and have a good time.  Brides & grooms are often fearful that their guests will not enjoy themselves so be sure to get up and show them that you’re having a good time!

Sign the guestbook — Whatever the couple is using as a guestbook, be sure to sign.  They want to remember who was there for their special day.

Remember your favor — As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, favors can really add up in costs.  Plus, they are the couples’ way of thank you for attending.  Remember to grab your favor on your way out.



Assume you can bring a guest — You shouldn’t invite someone along unless it specifically says “and guest” on the invitation.

Bring a large gift to the wedding — Large gifts are difficult for the couple or family to transport after the wedding.  Have these items shipped directly to the couple’s home if you are set on a larger gift.

Forget to turn off your phone — Again, just plain tacky & rude for your cell phone to go off in the middle of the ceremony or speeches.  Turn it off or at least on silent so you don’t interrupt any of the wedding events.

Wear white (or light ivories, etc.) — Let the bride be the only one in white!

Get wasted — Have some drinks and enjoy the bar but don’t get wasted.  It makes it difficult for others to enjoy themselves.  Plus, a wasted guest can be hell on vendors and many will cut them off or request that they leave (at the bride & grooms’ approval).

Talk forever — When the newlyweds visit your table, keep the conversation short.  Remember that they need to make their rounds and thank each guest for coming, so don’t keep them chatting forever.

Happy Wednesday!

Mazel Tov!!! Wedding History Day — Jewish Wedding Rituals (Part 2 — The Reception)

Remember last week’s post on Jewish ceremony rituals?  Well, here’s Part 2 — The Reception as promised!  Also, be sure to come back tomorrow for photos of Nicole & Alex’s Real (Jewish) Wedding!


1 ) Blessing the Challah — The bride & groom’s parents or another special honored guest (i.e. Grandfather as in Vicki & Mike’s wedding) makes the blessing over the challah, an elaborately braided bread (Source:


Photo credit:

2 ) S’eudah Mitzvah — The food portion of the reception.  Usually, chicken and fish are served at Jewish dinner receptions.  Kosher meals are often served (Source:  At Vicki & Mike’s wedding, the meals served were not Kosher.  However, one table was served Kosher meals.  Ashley explained to me that those eating Kosher meals all had to sit together and there could not be other non-Kosher meals served at that table.  In addition, Windows was not allowed to remove the plastic from the guests’ plates…they had to serve the plates just the way they came.


3 ) The Hora — The chair dance.  It is derived from the tradition of carrying royalty on chairs.  This, like the breaking of the glass, is another Jewish tradition that is widely recognized (Source:


4) Mitzvah Dances — The couple is seated and guests entertain them by dancing in front of them with masks, costumes, and props.  At Nicole & Alex’s wedding, the bridal party had planned quite a few surprise dances for the couple (Source:


5 ) Mezinke Tanz or  Krenzel — One of the last dances of the night to honor the parents who have married off their last child.  The word Krenzel comes from the word “crown”…referring to the crown of flowers placed in the mother’s hair during the dance (Source:


6 ) Birkat Hamazon — The blessings after the meal.  Prayer booklets can be handed out to guests.  After prayers, the 7 blessings are repeated and then a “blessing over the wine is recited as two glasses of wine are poured together into a third, symbolizing the creation of a new life together with a new marriage” (Source:


Check back tomorrow for photos of Nicole & Alex’s Wedding!

Happy Monday!

Mazel Tov!!! Wedding History Day — Jewish Wedding Rituals (Part 1 — The Ceremony)

Although I haven’t been working in the wedding industry long, I have already experienced three Jewish weddings.  Packed with tradition and ritual, the Jewish ceremony and reception each have so much history behind them.  They are fascinating to be a part of!

"Mazel Tov!"

Like most, the extent of my Jewish wedding knowledge prior to working in this industry was the Wedding Crashers trailer.  However, I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand these various traditions.  While not all of the weddings I have seen have followed as closely to every single ritual, Nicole & Alex’s wedding last night at Briar Patch incorporated almost all of them.  Before posting pictures of Nicole & Alex’s wedding, I think we should review some Jewish wedding rituals (Broken into two parts: Ceremony and Reception Rituals…stay tuned for “Part 2 — The Reception” next week)!


 1 ) The Tish — The Jewish ceremony begins with the groom’s tish, where he presents the week’s Torah portion while his male friends and family heckle him.  During this time, the bride is entertained in another room by her female friends and family (Source:


2 ) Ketubah Signing – Following the Tish, the Ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, is signed by the groom, rabbi, and two male witnesses (Orthodox); the bride may also sign, along with two female witnesses (Reform & Conservative) (Source:  At Nicole & Alex’s wedding, Nicole did not sign the Ketubah.  However, at both Carolyn & Matt’s and Vicki & Mike’s weddings the brides did participate in the Ketubah signing.


3 ) The B’deken — This is the first time that the bride and groom see each other.  During the b’deken, or veiling of the bride, both fathers and all the males lead the groom to the bride’s room where both mothers and all the women are surrounding her.  The groom places the veil over the bride’s face “indicating that he is solely interested in her inner beauty” (Source:


 4 ) The Chuppah (or Huppah or Chuppa…) — The Chuppah is a canopy or tent-like structure under which the ceremony takes place.  This is one place where personality can show (Source:!  For example, Nicole & Alex had a fabric chuppah with a big tree on it for guests to sign (similar to the family tree-style guestbook).


5 ) Circling — The bride circles the groom seven times upon entering the chuppah.  This represents the 7 wedding blessings, the 7 days of creation, and the idea that the groom is the center of the bride’s world.  Sometimes, couples decide to circle each other (Source:


6 ) Kiddushin — This is the ceremony that takes place under the chuppah, beginning with greetings, a blessing over the wine, and a sip taken by the bride and groom.  This is also the time when the rings are given.  In some Orthodox weddings, it is not permitted to have a double-ring ceremony, meaning that the groom places a ring on the bride’s finger but the bride does not place a ring on the groom’s finger (Source:


7 ) Sheva B’rachot – Seven blessings either recited by the rabbi or by honoring special guests and allowing them to read or sing the blessings.  In Sephardic weddings, “the parents wrap the couple in a tallis, literally binding them together” prior to the sheva b’rachot recitation (Source:


8 ) Breaking the Glass — Ah, yes…one of the few traditions of the Jewish wedding ceremony that is known around the world.  This is the time that everyone shouts “Mazel Tov!” and starts partying.  However, it is also “a symbol of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem; a representation of the fragility of human relationships; and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever” (Source:


9 ) The Yihud — Meaning “seclusion,” to remind you of your new partnership.  After the ceremony, the bride and groom will go into a private room for about 15 minutes of personal time.  They may share a small bite to eat together or even a little “action” (if you know what I mean 😉 ).  Whatever they do, it is a few minutes of complete alone time between the bride and groom before heading to the reception (Source:


Tune in next week for Jewish Wedding Rituals (Part 2 — The Reception) and for photos of Nicole & Alex’s wedding!

Happy Thursday!

Wedding History Day — Intermezzo

Before I posted pictures from this past Saturdays wedding, I wanted to do a little wedding history post.  I learned something new on Saturday!  I was assisting Ashley with Windows Catering & she explained to me that the couple decided to do something a little bit different with their meal.  They were serving 3 courses: salad, intermezzo, and the entrée.  Intermezzo??  I had never heard of it before.  Apparently, the groom wanted to do something unique and different and this definitely served that purpose!

In music, an intermezzo is a composition that fits between other larger acts or musical work.  Intermezzos are usually small, light, and refreshing courses in a meal.  They are typically served in the form of a sorbet or a light wine such as Prosecco.  Karyn and Joshua served a strawberry sorbet for their intermezzo on Saturday.  They are used throughout Europe as a way to cleanse the palate in between courses.

The purpose of the intermezzo is to allow your taste buds to full enjoy the flavor of your next course (i.e. cleansing of your palate).  Karyn & Joseph’s intermezzo was traditional, in the sense that it was served between the first course (salad) and the main entrée.

Photos will be posted tomorrow of Karyn & Joshua’s wedding…keep an eye out for intermezzo pictures!

Happy Tuesday!



Wedding History Day — Jumping the Broom

One of the things I have enjoyed most about working so many weddings is learning all about different traditions and customs across cultures.  There is so much unique history that can be tied into your wedding day with everything from traditional ceremonies (i.e. Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, etc.) to wedding superstitions, and more.  I thought it would be fun every once in a while to research the history and discuss some of the different customs that I have been exposed to so far in my experience working at weddings!  Its fun to understand where some of these traditions originated and what the history is behind them.

One of the very first weddings I worked back in October was Adrienne and Sam’s with Events in the City.  They were such a fun couple and it was a BEAUTIFUL wedding!  Their ceremony was at the gorgeous Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington, DC.  Seriously, just look at how insanely beautiful this church is:

Yea, AMAZING.  Anyways, I attended the rehearsal Friday evening with Megan Pollard where I watched her run through the ceremony a few times with the bridal party.  They were finishing up the practice ceremony when Adrienne said “And then we JUMP over the broom!” and she and Sam jumped from the steps at the alter onto the floor.

The day of the wedding  I was a little confused as to whether they really were planning to have a broom on their alter to jump over.  The broom they had sitting there was not the kind we buy at Walmart to sweep our kitchen floor but more of a traditional, old broom that looked something like this (but of course with lots of decoration on it):

We set up the ceremony with candles down the aisle and broom at the alter.  At the end of the ceremony (which was so dramatically fabulous!), Adrienne’s father placed the broom at the center of the alter on the floor and Adrienne and Sam jumped from the stair onto the floor and over the broom.  Everyone cheered as the couple walked back down the aisle with huge smiles on their faces.

I never did ask Megan what the significance of that tradition was.  It was not until recently, when I decided to research wedding traditions and superstitions, that I stumbled upon the custom of “jumping the broom” and I remembered Adrienne & Sam.

It seems that “jumping the broom” is a custom that dates back to somewhere around the 1600s in Africa but has roots in Celtic cultures as well.  It has become a popular African-American wedding ceremony tradition and represents joining of the two families .  Some sources also say that it represents the “sweeping away” of the old to enter the new part of their lives with their spouse (or new beginnings).  Apparently, the custom originated during the time of slavery when slaves were not permitted to marry.  They would marry secretly within their community and the act of jumping the broom became a legal bonding act that legitimized the marriage in the community.  Many believe that today, jumping the broom is a ritual passed down to African-Americans from their ancestors to remind them of a time when their vows were not legally sanctioned.

Although there are many different beliefs on the true meeting of this custom, I think it is a beautiful tradition with so much history and background.  I truly enjoyed seeing Sam & Adrienne honor a part of their history and incorporate this awesome ritual into their own wedding ceremony!

What are some rituals that you have seen or performed at a wedding?  What other rituals would you like to learn more about?

Visit sites like for beautiful wedding brooms decorated in your wedding colors!


Event Coordinator:  Events in the City

Ceremony Venue:  Universalist National Memorial Church

Photographer:  Duhon Photography