If you and close friend, or you and another member of your family are thinking about a double wedding, it will take a special kind of commitment and present its own special kinds of problems. So as not to start on a sour note, the double wedding can also be a real money saver. Double weddings can, indeed, be a double pleasure, because they can truly be a time where you celebrate not only your joy but also the joy of someone about whom you care deeply.
Some of the problems which may come into play are fairly obvious. To make a double wedding work, you will need to make decisions upon which not only you and your family will need to agree, but you'll also be adding another couple and their families to the mix. The more people, the more difficult it will be to come to agreed-upon conclusions. Ask yourselves the question of whether you and the other couple are really compatible and whether you will be able to compromise some of what you want in order to comply with what they want and vice versa. Only you know how willing you will be to give up or give in. It certainly does not pay to lose a good friendship over a double wedding ceremony, so considered carefully before you decide. To the question of how to make that decision, the following suggestion is offered. Make a list of those things which are the most important to you about your wedding. Include the wedding style, wedding location, type of reception, wedding officiator, ceremony style, type of entertainment (music) and the guest list. Then have your "double" do the same and compare lists. If you find that you are in general agreement, you have the basis for double wedding which will work. If your lists really don't match, consider scratching the idea.
If you find you're fairly comfortable with the level of agreement among the four of you (i.e., the two couples), then the key to planning a successful double wedding is talking, talking and more talking. Make a list, or use a schedule/planner to review what needs to be done and who will be responsible for what. Create a calendar of meeting times for the four of you to sit down and review what's been done and what still needs to be done. These conferences will serve to keep things on an even keel and avoid the possibility of "blow ups."
There are some rules of etiquette that may serve as a guideline, but, as always, in many circles, hard and fast rules have fallen by the wayside.
It's preferable that both couples have the same number of attendants (each) and that their clothes compliment one another's, if they are not identical. Different complementary colors or shades of the same base color works, as does the same color in different styles. Brides may share their attendants (or not) and each has her own maid/matron of honor, or not). To further add to the mix . . . each bride may serve as the other's maid of honor and each groom as the other's best man.
With a church wedding, there is a question of where the parents of the two bridegrooms should sit. They can either share the first pew or flip a coin as to who will sit in the first pew and who in the second.
When deciding on the nature and content of the invitations, a three-panel invitation works well. The middle panel can list the location, date and time. The two side panels can be left for the individual couples. If the brides are not sisters, invitations should be issued separately.
If two sisters are the brides, the processional begins with the two bridegrooms entering followed by the wedding officiant (up to the altar). Each of the bridegrooms positions himself with his best man at his side. The groom of the older sister traditionally stands nearest the aisle.
The ushers, half of each of the two bridegrooms, walk up the aisle together.
The bridesmaids are next; first the bridesmaids of the older sister, then by her maid of honor, who walks down alone.
The older sister follows on her father's arm. Alternatively, but in somewhat a break from tradition, the brides' dad can walk both of them down at the same time. If the father will "give" his daughter away, he generally does so first with the older and then with the younger, after which he takes a seat saved for him near his wife.
Next come the bridesmaids of the younger sister, followed by her maid of honor, who walks down alone. The younger bride then proceeds down the aisle on the arm of a brother, uncle or other male relative.
The first couple ascends the steps, stopping at the left side of the altar rail and leaving room for the second couple. The father stands just below his older daughter.
Then the younger daughter's escort takes a seat in his assigned pew, with his wife, family or friends.
Alternatively, the wedding party can be interspersed in the processional. It's helpful if there is a wedding program explaining the relationship of each member of the wedding party to each of the brides.
Some brides choose to have two separate processionals. The oldest bride goes first, followed by the younger.
The text is read to both couples, each of whom makes a separate response.
When the officiant says, "Now, you may kiss the bride," the couples kiss simultaneously.
The older bride and her husband exit first, followed by the younger bride and her husband, the bridesmaids and ushers of the first couple. Next come the attendants of the second couple.
The reception is usually celebrated jointly, with either one or two separate receiving lines, depending upon what works best logistically.
It's best to buy two different cakes. The couples then have the option of cutting the first piece of each cake, at the same time. If two separate cakes aren't economically feasible, different flavored layers will work.
One thing is for certain, there are lots of logistic issues in a single couple wedding and these certainly may be doubled when two couples are involved. Compromise is the key. Both couples must ready and willing to "give in" for the best of both. If they can, their joy can, indeed, be doubled!