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Vermont Vows Wedding Series

This content originally appeared in Vermont Vows and is written by Anna Post.

Guide to Wedding Toasts

Serious, humorous, or poignant, toasts are an integral part of almost every wedding celebration. Each and every toast is different, and on such a special occasion, many friends and family members will be eager to share their sentiments with the bride and groom. While some people are complete naturals at giving toasts, others need a little help, whether they raise their glasses at the engagement party or the reception. To keep the cheer in cheers, the spirits high, and the champagne flowing, here are some tips on which parties call for toasts, who might give them, and what to say—or what not to say.

  • When to give a toast at a wedding?
  • Who gives the toast at the rehearsal dinner?
  • How to write a wedding toast?

Read the guide to toasting at weddings.

Golden Rules of the Receiving Line

This isn't your grandmother's wedding reception! Modern weddings mean modern approaches to traditional rules, but in the age of e-mail invitations, and iPod DJs, it might seem like we're no longer playing by the old rulebook. But even in the modern era, some essential values remain. To have a fabulous reception today involves more than choosing a venue, planning the menu, hiring musicians or a DJ, and arranging for cake and decorations. As the hosts or reception honorees, rule number one for brides and grooms is to offer your guests gracious hospitality and arrange for their comfort and enjoyment during your wedding day party.

Read the golden rules of the receiving line.

Planning the Wedding: Tips from The Pros

In this age of technology—with so much information literally at your finger tips—it's no surprise that more and more brides and grooms like you are going online to start their wedding planning process. This is great—especially if you live far from where you're getting married. But no matter how thoroughly you investigate details or options online, there's still no substitute for real-world footwork.

Photoshop and a fancy website can make anything look and sound amazing—but after seeing a venue in person, you'll know for sure whether it's the right choice. You'll also have a better understanding of any logistical challenges—or fun opportunities—your chosen site might present. Talking with the caterers is great—but why not have them cook for you, too? From florists to cake makers to photographers—the best way to ensure that you're working with true professionals that "get you" is to sit down and meet with them the old-fashioned way—face-to-face. And let's not forget to mention that it's actually fun to get away with your fiancé(e) for a weekend—enjoying great food, exploring great places, and reconnecting.

Here, some tips from the wedding pros on planning a productive wedding field trip.

Who To Invite to the Wedding

The various parties and celebrations that take place between the engagement and "I do" are all important parts of the wedding experience. But who gets invited to the different parts of wedding celebrations? This is not as complicated as it might first appear.

To start with, a general piece of advice: The bride and groom should consider who their wedding guests will be in advance of any parties. The wedding guest list doesn't need to be finalized, but the couple should have a firm idea of who they're certain to be inviting, for a simple reason: Anyone invited to any wedding party (office showers excepted) must also be invited to the wedding.

Read more about who to invite to the wedding and other events.

Out of Town Guests

Every couple planning their wedding is faced with the question of what to do with their out-of-town guests—the concern being that they may end up sitting bored in their hotel rooms with nothing to do and nowhere to go while you and your betrothed are in the final moments of your planning your big day. In truth, however, your out-of-town guests almost certainly will be glad to have some free time to explore the area and rest from their trip. Don't worry: They will understand that you are busy, and you don't have the obligation to entertain them, nor should they necessarily expect to be invited to the rehearsal dinner.

Read the whole guide to handling out of town wedding guests.

The Wedding Registry

Once upon a time, a wedding registry was just for letting guests know your china, crystal, and silver patterns (and, of course, you needed eight of everything). It's a different story today. Brides and grooms are increasingly creating lists that reflect their lifestyles—with the result that camping equipment, power tools, and gas grills are appearing on registries almost as frequently as towels and glassware. While there's no end to what you can register for, it's a good idea to have a plan in mind before you and your betrothed grab the scanning gun.

These registry tips should help get you focused.

Showers in the Forecast: Tips for Bridal Showers

The bridal shower is the ultimate "girl" moment of the pre-wedding process, summoning up images of tea parties, finger sandwiches, and lots of ribbons and bows—but showers can be so much more than that these days. You're not the girly-girl type? Opt for a chic wine and cheese party, where everyone brings a bottle of their favorite vintage. Can't stand to leave your man? Coed "Jack and Jill" showers are all the rage. Showers can also be a ton of fun to plan, with so many possibilities for creating something just right for the bride's lifestyle—and the groom's!

Read more tips for bridal showers.

What's Expected of Wedding Attendants

The ring is sparkly, you've said "Yes!" and you're off on a whirlwind of planning for the big day. Chances are you've already spent some time thinking about who will be your wedding attendants—siblings, close friends, or other relatives near and dear to you. They'll be your support group, errand runners, and ambassadors-at-large at your reception. But being an attendant can come with a hefty price tag; besides clothing and gifts, attendants must also pay for their own transportation. It may also require using precious vacation time or unpaid work days to attend the wedding and pre-wedding events. While it is an attendant's job to assist the bride whenever possible, the considerate bride won't treat her team as her personal minions. Before you extend that all-important "Will you be in my wedding?" invitation, consider what you're asking.

Here are a few important responsibilities of your wedding attendants.

Duties of the Groom

There was an old saying, "A man never knows how unimportant he is until he goes to his own wedding." It was ALL about the bride. Today, many men are more interested in making the wedding a shared experience, a day for the bride and groom to celebrate—and be celebrated—together. And most harried brides—and their harried mothers—will be grateful for the help and input. From personalizing the ceremony and the vows, choosing music that has special meaning, accompanying his fiancee on her wedding errands, planning and event for their about-to-be-joined families—the groom can make a significant contribution.

Read more about the traditional duties of the groom.