Kudos to your daughters for agreeing to share a wedding, rather than putting both families through wedding planning twice. This decision speaks well of their common sense.

There are actually two issues here. The first is how to help your guests understand what a double wedding is, so that they feel comfortable that they know whether to bring two gifts, what to expect, and so on. The second issue is what to say on the invitations. With extremely rare exceptions, information about gift-giving is never properly included in the wedding invitation itself.

According to conventional etiquette, a guest at a double wedding gives a gift only to the couple he or she knows, and simply wishes the other couple well in the receiving line. Your difficulty, of course, is that double weddings are rare today-guests don't necessarily know the custom.

The easiest and safest way for your daughters to clue in their friends is by word-of-mouth. Most people will have questions about wedding plans. This is your daughters' opportunity to mention their double wedding and slip in a brief explanation. The spiel goes something like this:

"Would you believe it? My sister just got engaged too! To Bob's brother! Isn't that amazing? No, I don't feel like she's stealing my thunder at all! Actually, we've decided to have a double wedding. It's going to be so much fun! We're a little worried that guests will be confused and think they have to bring two gifts when they only know one of us, and things like that, but we're thrilled to be able to plan together."

The story is equally appropriate delivered in person, by letter, by e-mail, or over the phone.

The wording of the invitation is still an interesting question. If double weddings are rare, sisters marrying brothers are even more rare, and you don't want half the guests phoning you to tell you that there must be a typo in the invitation, as both grooms have the same last name.

The most conventional wording would read like this:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bride
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Groom
request the honor of your presence
at the weddings of their children
Emily Susan Bride
to
Francis Lee Groom
and
Martha Ellen Bride
to
Peter Michael Groom
Saturday, the tenth of October
St. John's Episcopal Church
New Brunswick, Connecticut

I've included the groom's parents as "hosts" to emphasize that both grooms share one set of parents. The brides are married to the grooms, rather than the more contemporary "and," in order to visually and grammatically pair each bride with her correct groom. You can adjust the name and title format as needed to reflect personal preferences, divorced parents, and so on. You can also add the church's address if you aren't including a map card, or the year, if you wish.

Another option would emphasize the double nature of the wedding:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bride
request the honor of your presence
at the weddings of their daughters Emily Susan [large white space] Martha Ellen
and [center the "ands" on each bride's name] and
Mr. Francis Lee Groom [centered with brides] Mr. Peter Michael Groom
sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Groom
Saturday, the tenth of October
St. John's Episcopal Church
New Brunswick, Connecticut

Again, you can fiddle with it to get the names, hosts, and location into a wording that accurately reflects your situation.

Original article by Wende Vyborney.

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