Formal Usually a religious ceremony, the formal wedding is followed by an elaborate reception at a private club, hotel, garden or mansion. The guest list includes as many as 200 or more. Engraved invitations with separate reply cards are mailed. A soloist or a music ensemble is often a part of the ceremony. The bride wears a long gown with veil and train; her attendants wear complementing gowns. The groom and his groomsmen wear tuxedos. There are generally four to 12 attendants, including the maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, the best man, a flower girl, ring bearer and one usher for every 50 guests. The reception is most often a sit-down dinner or buffet with elaborate flowers and decorations. A music ensemble, orchestra, a band or disc jockey provide the music. The bride and groom often depart by limousine or horse-drawn carriage. Semi-formal A semi-formal ceremony may be held at a religious site, hotel, private club, a home or garden. The reception is generally held at the same location, with 50 to 150 guests. Guests are mailed engraved or printed invitations. The bride may wear a long or short gown; her attendants dress to complement. Depending on the bride’s attire, the groom and his attendants may wear either tuxedos or suits. There are two to six attendants, with one usher for every 50 guests. A flower girl and ring bearer are not necessary The food at the reception can be a cocktail buffet, sandwiches or snacks. Flowers and decorations are simple. Music can be provided by a small group of musicians or a DJ.
Informal The informal ceremony is held in a chapel, the office of the justice of the peace, or in a home or garden. The reception may be held at a church facility, private dining room, a restaurant, or in a home or garden. The number of guests is fewer than 50, and invitations may be written or telephoned. The bride and her maid/matron of honor may wear a more casual dress or a suit; the groom and his best man, a suit or sports jacket. No other attendants are necessary. At an informal reception the food is light and simple. Flowers and decorations are optional, and though music is not necessary, you might choose to have some recorded background music for a more elegant ambiance.
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