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Hostesses?

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
889
Has anyone had "hostesses" for your wedding? Or female ushers of some sort? I could use some guidance.

I have a large family and while I am very close to my cousins, I cannot possibly include them all as bridesmaids/groomsmen. I have one particular cousin whom I really grew up with, she will be my matron of honor. This isn't an issue for my family, as she is the only cousin close to my age, and we really grew up like sisters. I also have a cluster of younger cousins, all around the same age (14-16), who are very special to me. But they are all very close to each other, and I would feel bad involving any one of them without involving all of them. So I chose not to ask any of them to be bridesmaids, and instead would like to ask all of them to be hostesses/female ushers/whatever you would like to call that (we haven't decided yet!). I would like to keep the role relatively informal, just having them help seat people, pass out programs, man the guest book at the reception, take a few cute photos and then warm up the dance floor. I want them to feel special, but not actually have to do a lot of work! The plan was to have them wear black dresses of their own choosing, and I would get them blue sashes to match the bridesmaids' gowns. Pretty low key.

Problems that have come up thus far:

1) my mom is diametrically opposed to "young ladies in black dresses." I just thought black dresses were easy. Everyone has one. Even if they decide to buy new ones, they'll be able to wear them again and again. Everyone looks good in black. And black makes them look like ushers. I don't want them to look like the bridesmaids. But this idea is apparently horribly offensive to my mother.
2) In this cluster of cousins are 5 girls and 1 boy. Poor Stephen. We definitely want to ask him to be involved as well, and just wear a suit and we'll give him a tie. Stephen's life story is being surrounded by a gaggle of girls, and he is often embarrassed. I want to make him feel comfortable. Also, do we call him an usher? A host? Or what?
3) Some major drama with one of the girls, whose parents are divorced. Too long to get into here, but suffice it to say, I am not sure if I should have her as a hostess, as there will be nothing but drama. But I'd hate for her to feel left out if I ask all the other girls and not her. I'm feeling majorly guilty already and I haven't even done anything yet.
4) My mom also has a problem with the term "hostess." She thinks only the people paying for the wedding should be called "host and hostess," that no one will understand what the term means, that the girls (and poor Stephen) will be confused and not know whether they are bridesmaids or not, etc. Whatever. I'm not married to the term, I just haven't found a better one yet. FI thinks we should just call them all "ushers." I think "host and hostesses." Mom thinks "usher and junior assistants" or something like that. I'd be okay with "usher and hostesses." I don't know. Any ideas?

What is hilarious is that my mom keeps insisting that it's my wedding, all the decisions are up to me, and she won't ask me for anything. But then I tell her my ideas and she turns her nose up at all of them. Hilarious. Classic wedding planning stuff.

Bridal party = mega stress. And I haven't even asked them yet.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Seems like a lot of opinions and priorities to balance. Such is wedding planning! Perhaps just have them greet and seat guests, without having them have an official name and attire. That way, they are included and you can avoid the other drama. You can also give them each a small token of appreciation for that so you get a chance to tell them how special they are.
 

sillyberry

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Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
1,792
It's very nice that you want to involve your cousins!

First, I would not call them hosts and hostesses. That is traditionally whoever is actually hosting the wedding -- and it isn't your teenage cousins!

Second, if the cousins are all close in age and relationship, I don't think it would be very nice to exclude one and would probably cause undue strife. Although I am a little confused -- will SHE cause drama or will there be drama because of her parents? Particularly if the latter, that would be kind of cruel.

Third, I don't think there is anything wrong with black dresses, but if you do decide to officially include them, perhaps ask their parents beforehand if they think black dresses are inappropriate. They also could wear whatever they want and you could provide a corsage.

Fourth, if you don't want to call them all ushers (which would be my preference), how about "attendants"?

I had my youngest niece as my flower girl, and my other three nieces passed out programs. They didn't wear anything special, nor were they titled or referenced in the program, but it gave them a way to be included and I think they appreciated that.
 

Gypsy

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Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
sillyberry|1312407021|2983426 said:
It's very nice that you want to involve your cousins!

First, I would not call them hosts and hostesses. That is traditionally whoever is actually hosting the wedding -- and it isn't your teenage cousins!

Second, if the cousins are all close in age and relationship, I don't think it would be very nice to exclude one and would probably cause undue strife. Although I am a little confused -- will SHE cause drama or will there be drama because of her parents? Particularly if the latter, that would be kind of cruel.

Third, I don't think there is anything wrong with black dresses, but if you do decide to officially include them, perhaps ask their parents beforehand if they think black dresses are inappropriate. They also could wear whatever they want and you could provide a corsage.

Fourth, if you don't want to call them all ushers (which would be my preference), how about "attendants"?

I had my youngest niece as my flower girl, and my other three nieces passed out programs. They didn't wear anything special, nor were they titled or referenced in the program, but it gave them a way to be included and I think they appreciated that.

Totally agree (especially with the bolded part). I don't think it's appropriate to call them hostesses. It's not a restaurant it's a wedding.

I think there are lots of creative ways to get everyone involved. I would just ask them what they'd like to do... honestly if they are anything like my nieces the answer will be... "Do? Eat, drink and dance! Don't want to do anything!"

Sometimes we think it's fun to involve everyone in our events... when really it might be a chore for them. So, before you do anything make sure they want to be involved (otherwise you WILL be herding cats) and then ask them what they'd like to do. And let them know that if all they want to do is show up in a nice dress and wear a corsage and see their names in the program... that's okay too.
 

chemgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,163
Gypsy|1312438602|2983843 said:
sillyberry|1312407021|2983426 said:
It's very nice that you want to involve your cousins!

First, I would not call them hosts and hostesses. That is traditionally whoever is actually hosting the wedding -- and it isn't your teenage cousins!

Second, if the cousins are all close in age and relationship, I don't think it would be very nice to exclude one and would probably cause undue strife. Although I am a little confused -- will SHE cause drama or will there be drama because of her parents? Particularly if the latter, that would be kind of cruel.

Third, I don't think there is anything wrong with black dresses, but if you do decide to officially include them, perhaps ask their parents beforehand if they think black dresses are inappropriate. They also could wear whatever they want and you could provide a corsage.

Fourth, if you don't want to call them all ushers (which would be my preference), how about "attendants"?

I had my youngest niece as my flower girl, and my other three nieces passed out programs. They didn't wear anything special, nor were they titled or referenced in the program, but it gave them a way to be included and I think they appreciated that.

Totally agree (especially with the bolded part). I don't think it's appropriate to call them hostesses. It's not a restaurant it's a wedding.

I think there are lots of creative ways to get everyone involved. I would just ask them what they'd like to do... honestly if they are anything like my nieces the answer will be... "Do? Eat, drink and dance! Don't want to do anything!"

Sometimes we think it's fun to involve everyone in our events... when really it might be a chore for them. So, before you do anything make sure they want to be involved (otherwise you WILL be herding cats) and then ask them what they'd like to do. And let them know that if all they want to do is show up in a nice dress and wear a corsage and see their names in the program... that's okay too.
Exactly what I was thinking. Make sure they actually want to do it, and word it in a way that gives them an out if they don't want to!

My sister and I were asked to be attendants at my uncle's wedding and we were actually both very insulted. It felt like we didn't make the cut to be bridesmaids, but they still wanted us to work. We had to wear green dresses that we had to buy (so black is way better here) and do chores like watch the guest book, pass out programs and bring the gifts back to the bridal suite. We felt like second class guests! The bridal party got to have a spa weekend and we weren't included because technically we were just attendants. Heck, the bridal party all got pearl necklaces as tokens of appreciation and we were given little angel statues. It was just totally insulting when we had to do all of the work at the actual wedding and didn't have a good time because we were constantly being told to go do something else for the bride.

This was just our take on it and I'm sure you can work it so they feel a bit better about the situation. Just make sure they actually want to do it!
 

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
889
Thanks for all the tips!

I have to admit I'm really confused about the semantics here. I didn't make up the term "hostess." I had settled on "hostess" after much googling, because it seemed that that was the most commonly used name for a female usher. I thought it was pretty commonplace, and saw lots of weddings included them. So I'm surprised at the reactions here. On the other hand "attendants" to me absolutely means the bridal party (generic word for bridesmaids and groomsmen), so I would not use that. I would find that much more confusing. But everyone seems to define those terms differently. I still don't know what to call them, but it seems someone will be offended no matter what. I'm not really a fan of "usher," because it implies that they are both male and a part of the groom's entourage. But maybe that is the best way to go. I don't know.

Yes, we will absolutely ask them if they want to be involved, of course! And we aren't planning on giving them a whole lot to do. But we do want them to have a special role. I think they will want to do it, and I think I may actually have to talk them out of working too hard. My one cousin (who has not yet been asked to be in the wedding) already has grand plans to bake cookies, help decorate the hall, make favors for the shower...lol. I'm like, "take a few steps back! I appreciate the help, but relax and have fun!" No one will be obligated to do anything they don't want to do. But generally speaking, I think the girls will want to. Stephen might say no, and it's fine if he does. But the girls will almost certainly say yes and get really into it. In fact, I think they will want to go shopping and buy new dresses so they all match. They can do that if they want. I'm actually more worried about stepping on the bridemaids' toes than anything else. I don't want them overshadowing the bridesmaids. Yet another reason I'm in favor of black dresses.

So, what I'm getting is that you generally prefer the term "usher" or "attendant," that black dresses are okay, or just have them wear whatever they want, that I should make sure they want to do it before I ask them to do anything, and that nobody should be left out. That sounds reasonable.

As for the one cousin who will cause drama, the situation is long and complicated, and there is a lot of history. Basically, one of the girls, Annie, is my cousin Jim's daughter. Jim and his ex are divorced in the least amicable way imaginable. Jim lives out of state, and Annie with her mother. I am inviting Annie to come to the wedding with Jim and Jim's second wife. I am not inviting Annie's mother. I believe, based on many past events, that Jim will RSVP no. I also believe that Annie and her mother will want to come to the wedding together, and will essentially tell me I have to invite Annie's mother if I want Annie there. Sorry, but no. This woman has caused so much pain to so many people in my family. Not just to Jim. I will not have her at my wedding. I will happily arrange for transportation for Annie to come with another relative, but I will not invite her mother. So in the end, Annie won't be at the wedding, and she will be hurt. I realize this is not my problem, but it weighs on me anyway.

FI thinks the best way to deal with Annie is to ask her is she wants to be a hostessusherattendant and tell her we know it's early and she probably doesn't know what her calendar looks like for next year, but that if she can make it to the wedding we would love to have her as a hostessusherattendant. Then we wait and see what happens when the invitations go out and the s#*& hits the fan. This way she's not left out, but it's also noncommittal. We don't talk it up too much with her. Then if the RSVPs come back that she is coming, super. If not, that's a shame, but at least we don't feel like we left her out of the whole hostessusherattendant thing. I don't know.

The last option I'm considering is to scrap this whole plan altogether. I think my cousins will be a little hurt at not being asked to be in the wedding at all, but they'll get over it. I don't really want to do this, but it certainly would make life easier.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
3,081
Typically, the girls who do guestbook and pass out programs are called "House Party." Do you like that term, or no?

What are the colors of your wedding? If the parents don't like the idea of black dresses, what about another color or shade of blue used in your wedding? Black dresses may be hard to find for a young teenager (I could be wrong about this.)

You're sweet to include these cousins in your wedding.
 

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
889
"House party"? That's a new one for me. Sounds like a...party. I think they might like that, though! Let me mull that one over. Maybe that could work.

The colors are Wedgwood blue and white. I am well aware black doesn't go with those colors. But I thought it would be easy because I imagine they all have black dresses already in their closets, and that way no one would confuse them with the bridesmaids. Also, the bridesmaids will be wearing blue dresses with white faux fur shawls (it will be cold in December!). The shawls I chose are also available in black, and I thought it would be fun to surprise the girl cousins at the rehearsal dinner with the matching black fur shawls (and something nice for Stephen, too, of course). The girls are big into furry boots and fur-trimmed coats, so I think they will like them and actually wear them again after the wedding. Black seems much more rewearable to me than any other color. I just thought it would be easy and they would like it. But I'm open to suggestions. We could do dark blue dresses, I suppose, but then they would almost definitely have to buy them new, and the fur shawls wouldn't work. I don't want them in white fur, too matchy with the bridesmaids. My mom found some champagne-colored dresses that she really liked, but I'm not a fan. Silver would work, but again, they'd almost certainly have to go shopping for new silver dresses.
 

sillyberry

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Messages
1,792
OUpeargirl|1312467803|2983988 said:
Typically, the girls who do guestbook and pass out programs are called "House Party." Do you like that term, or no?

What are the colors of your wedding? If the parents don't like the idea of black dresses, what about another color or shade of blue used in your wedding? Black dresses may be hard to find for a young teenager (I could be wrong about this.)

You're sweet to include these cousins in your wedding.
It's funny -- I'm from the same place you are, and the only time I've ever heard this was at Jenna Bush's wedding! I had no idea what they were talking about when they said it was a Texas thing!

But I think it could be a nice naming solution for a gaggle of teenage girls. :))
 

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
889
But I think it could be a nice naming solution for a gaggle of teenage girls.
FI and I have been calling them the "Teen Girl Squad," lol, but we're obviously going to have to keep that one to ourselves. Especially if Stephen will be joining them!
 

vc10um

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
6,006
blacksand|1312474387|2984073 said:
But I think it could be a nice naming solution for a gaggle of teenage girls.
FI and I have been calling them the "Teen Girl Squad," lol, but we're obviously going to have to keep that one to ourselves. Especially if Stephen will be joining them!
I have a crush on EVERY BOY! (LOVED homestar runner in college!!!)

blacksand, what are the ages? I don't think I owned a bonafide black party dress until I was in college, so it might be something they need to purchase anyway. I know you want to get them the shawls/wraps, but if you're concerned about them having to buy new dresses, why don't you just pick up the tab for that, toss in a cute sterling silver trinket, and call it a day? Then you can choose exactly what color you want (I'm thinking with the wedgewood blue a pretty silvery gray/pewter color would be nice, and probably easy to find for the holidays) and not have to worry.
 

artdecogirl

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Sep 27, 2009
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I love the idea! I think black dresses would be a classic look and set them apart from the crowd but not make them stand out too much, as a few somewhat recent threads point out black is much more accepted at weddings these days and is really pretty common. Let the black dress and a uniform color corsage set them apart as part of the wedding party. One thing, younger girls might like a wrist corsage instead of a standard pin on the chest type and I would include the one gal and just make sure she knows a adult will help her with the dress and transportation if she needs it, I think it would be a lovely gesture in what is probably is a tough time for her. And last the titles, what about "greeters"? Good luck in your planning and minimal drama!
 

chemgirl

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I'm sorry that my earlier post came across as very negative. You are obviously very concerned about making the girls feel included and I'm sure the vibe will be totally different than that at my aunt and uncle's wedding. When I read your first post I was having flashbacks to bridezilla crooking her finger at me and going "pssssst" every 15 minutes while her bridal party chillaxed sipping wine. I'm sure you'll be far more tactful and it will be a totally different experience for your girls!
 

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
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vc10um, FI and I still watch it all the time. It'll be a rainy Sunday afternoon, and after an hour or so of "what do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do you want to do?", one of us will say "I know! Let's watch every episode of Teen Girl Squad ever!" It's still funny. But yeah, we naturally refer to them as the TGS when talking to each other, and we need to, um, stop doing that. LOL.

As for their ages, they are roughly 14-16 now, so they'll be 15-17 at the wedding. Actually, two of them will be almost 18. So they are not super young kids. And let me tell you, these kids have more party dresses than I ever saw at that age. They have formal dances at school all the time, and then there are sports team awards functions, cast parties, choir performances, etc., all much more formal than anything I had at that age! I have definitely seen most of them in black dresses, but I'll ask them what they have. If they all want to get new dresses, whatever! I just kind of want to keep it low key so they don't look like bridesmaids. I could spring for the dresses and forego the shawls, I suppose. And silver would look nice. I guess I'll talk to them and see what they think.

artdecogirl, thanks! I'm glad to hear black is okay for weddings (I've worn black to many a wedding myself, so I hope it is!). I will definitely do whatever I can to make arrangements for Annie to get there if her father isn't coming. Unfortunately, we've tried that in the past for other events, and it usually doesn't work. Annie's mother is just... conniving. She will definitely make things difficult, but I hope it will all work out.

chemgirl, no need to worry. You weren't negative at all, you just shared your experience, which is really helpful, actually. I want to get an idea of how they might see things, and I don't want them doing anything they don't want to do. I will be sure to talk to them first, and to make sure they have fun at the wedding, first and foremost. The best thing they can do to help me on my wedding day is to get out on the dance floor and have a good time. Their smiles always warm my heart.
 

amc80

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Messages
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If you want to designate them in some way, maybe you could get them all matching corsages?
 

blacksand

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Messages
889
amc, do you mean have them wear whatever they want (not matching) and just get them matching corsages? That's a good way to make the whole atmosphere less formal. I think they may want to match each other, though, knowing them. But I'll talk to them and see what they want to do.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
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blacksand|1312492406|2984327 said:
amc, do you mean have them wear whatever they want (not matching) and just get them matching corsages? That's a good way to make the whole atmosphere less formal. I think they may want to match each other, though, knowing them. But I'll talk to them and see what they want to do.
Yep! That's what I meant. I mean they could still blend, but this would make it seem like more of an honor and less of a job. Oh, and I'm not sure that every teenager has a black dress. I know I didn't have one until I was in college.
 

blacksand

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889
Thanks, amc. I'm surprised to hear a few of you say you didn't have black dresses until college. I'm pretty sure almost all of my dresses were black at that age! In fact, when I was that age, most of these kids' parents were getting married, and I remember wearing a black dress and black shawl to almost all of their weddings, with just different accessories so no one would know it was the same dress every time! But maybe times are changing. I'll ask the girls what they have and what they like, anyway. I'll definitely involve them in the decision-making.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
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blacksand|1312496638|2984369 said:
Thanks, amc. I'm surprised to hear a few of you say you didn't have black dresses until college. I'm pretty sure almost all of my dresses were black at that age! In fact, when I was that age, most of these kids' parents were getting married, and I remember wearing a black dress and black shawl to almost all of their weddings, with just different accessories so no one would know it was the same dress every time! But maybe times are changing. I'll ask the girls what they have and what they like, anyway. I'll definitely involve them in the decision-making.
What if you went with navy? Still classic and something they can wear again, but maybe it will make your mom happy. I wanted a black dress at that age, my mom just wouldn't let me have one. She thought they were "too mature." I was always jealous at other weddings or parties of the girls in saucy black dresses! :cheeky:

The "House Party" term was strange to me as well when I first heard it, but that's what we commonly hear them called at work. I've also heard jr. bridesmaids et al be called "Ladies in Waiting." That term kind of makes me want to gag, because let's face it, none of us are royalty!
 

Guilty Pleasure

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I'm from Texas. I've always called people who do those sorts of tasks the "house party." I am not sure why this is the name, but perhaps it is related to "bridal party" which includes bridesmaids and groomsmen. The ladies in the house party are the equivalent of ushers.

I asked three college friends to be in my house party, and they wore whatever they wanted plus a corsage. These were girls that I would have asked to be bridesmaids if I didn't have so many sisters! I was a bridesmaid in two of their weddings, and in the house party for the other one. I invited these girls to the bridal luncheon I hosted the day before the wedding and gave them gifts as well, though not as expensive as the gifts for my bridesmaids since bridesmaids have to buy dresses.

If I were you, I would let the girls wear whatever they want and give them a small corsage or posie. You could include their name on the program to honor them and give them small gifts.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
2,201
Guilty Pleasure|1312601996|2985249 said:
I'm from Texas. I've always called people who do those sorts of tasks the "house party." I am not sure why this is the name, but perhaps it is related to "bridal party" which includes bridesmaids and groomsmen. The ladies in the house party are the equivalent of ushers.

I asked three college friends to be in my house party, and they wore whatever they wanted plus a corsage. These were girls that I would have asked to be bridesmaids if I didn't have so many sisters! I was a bridesmaid in two of their weddings, and in the house party for the other one. I invited these girls to the bridal luncheon I hosted the day before the wedding and gave them gifts as well, though not as expensive as the gifts for my bridesmaids since bridesmaids have to buy dresses.

If I were you, I would let the girls wear whatever they want and give them a small corsage or posie. You could include their name on the program to honor them and give them small gifts.
I really like the idea of corsages. Makes them feel like they have an official role.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
3,081
Guilty Pleasure|1312601996|2985249 said:
I'm from Texas. I've always called people who do those sorts of tasks the "house party." I am not sure why this is the name, but perhaps it is related to "bridal party" which includes bridesmaids and groomsmen. The ladies in the house party are the equivalent of ushers.

I asked three college friends to be in my house party, and they wore whatever they wanted plus a corsage. These were girls that I would have asked to be bridesmaids if I didn't have so many sisters! I was a bridesmaid in two of their weddings, and in the house party for the other one. I invited these girls to the bridal luncheon I hosted the day before the wedding and gave them gifts as well, though not as expensive as the gifts for my bridesmaids since bridesmaids have to buy dresses.

If I were you, I would let the girls wear whatever they want and give them a small corsage or posie. You could include their name on the program to honor them and give them small gifts.
Yup! I just asked my "house party" to wear pretty spring dresses. I didn't want them in black, because we aren't using it anywhere in our wedding and it's so much darker than the other colors we're doing, but otherwise will let them wear whatever they like. I'm not even giving them a "name." I just have two friends doing guestbook/passing out programs, and two friends reading, and one singing.
 
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