Wedding & Bridal Etiquette Guide

Bridal etiquette serves as a template or guideline to help us structure our wedding, so that it really is our perfect-wedding-day. For most of us, our wedding day is the number one social event of our lives and it is natural to want everything to go perfectly from start to finish.

We want to put our own individual stamp on that special day, yet we also want to honour our partner and respective families as well as pay homage to the traditions of the past. Naturally we want every facet of that day to be appropriate. We want to observe customs. We want to know what is expected of us.

Bridal party etiquette, is in itself, a show of respect to the bride and groom. The wedding cast is chosen very carefully, it is a great honour and a high compliment to be part of the wedding planning. The bridal party have their duties and responsibilties, they are part of the production, their main job is to support the bride and groom and to follow wedding etiquette and advice.


Family Etiquette

In the past, it was the custom for the groom's family to introduce themselves and arrange a meeting. This was especially important in the days of arranged marriages. However today, all that matters is that the families meet and often it is up to the couple themselves to take charge and ensure the meeting takes place while avoiding potentially awkward situations.

Share your ideas regarding location, date, size and style of the wedding, with your groom's parents. Gauge their desired level of involvement and include them accordingly. Let them offer help with finances or planning and keep them informed. Remember you can draw on the experience of two mothers. If you ask your future mother-in-law for help, she will grow to love you at light speed - it's human nature.

The Bridal Party

The bridal party are the bride & grooms entourage, they have their bridal party duties & responsibilities to perform. These individuals are carefully picked by the bride and groom as their supporting cast and they each have their wedding etiquette bridal responsibilities, before, during and after the wedding event.

Who Pays for What?

Who pays for what? As times change and customs evolve, bridal etiquette is itself a marriage of respect and courtesy for the entire wedding party. So when a question of wedding etiquette arises, your guide should always be to consider the feelings of those affected.

Wedding Reception

Whether your wedding reception is held at a restaurant or reception hall, it is never appropriate to ask your guests to pay for food or drink. You don't charge them when they visit your house - same thing. Cash Bars have no place at a wedding reception, they can appear nasty and cheap. If you really want to cut reception costs cut down your guest list or find a venue that permits you to bring your own alcohol. The savings will be considerable and no one will be offended. What you don't use, you keep.

Wedding Invitations

Before sending out your wedding invitations, with regards to bridal etiquette, be absolutely specific in the invitations. Find out the names of partners and spouses of people you wish to invite and get them right. This means a phone call. This is also the ideal time to inform your guests of your policy towards inviting children, dates for unwed guests and even gifts registries or cash gifts.

Wedding Gifts Ettiquette

When receiving wedding gifts, it's not good etiquette to mention them on the wedding invitation. It is appropriate, however, to slip a bridal registry card into the same envelope as the wedding invitation (along with the rsvp note).

Etiquette For Guests

Guests Attire

Wedding guests should dress for nice dinner or event which includes suits or black tie for men and dresses or skirts in sophisticated colours and fabrics for women. Lengths can vary according to the style of the event and location. Female guests can now wear black but never white.

Rules for Wedding Guests

Send your reply card well before the `reply by date'. The couple has to know how many people to cater for. Don't ask if you can take a date unless that person is your wife, fiancée or intended.

If you are late for the ceremony, walk down an outside aisle and find a seat quickly and quietly, while looking sheepish. In other words, don't be late.

• Buy a gift both parties can use.

• Guests pay for their own transportation and lodging.

• Don't get rolling drunk.


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