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Traditional Wedding Etiquette - What's expected from you

 

Customs, Roles and Rituals

Whether your dream wedding is beautifully traditional or stylishly modern, certain customs, roles and rituals are still expected. Even if you are set on breaking the mould it is worth having an idea of traditional wedding etiquette, as these can be part of what make a wedding truly special. Take a quick glance at what is expected so that when it comes to planning the perfect day you’ll know where to start!

The Bride and Groom

Of course, the main responsibility of the bride and groom is to get married, but alas, your work here is not done - there are a few other expectations that come before and after the “I do’s”. The bulk of these include the planning of the wedding and whilst traditionally organised by the groom, it’s normal for the bride to help arrange the honeymoon as well – so that she at least knows where she’s going! The pair are also expected to greet guests at the reception and it’s expected of the groom to make a speech in which he thanks the bride’s parents and guests.

Who Pays?

The “rules for who pays what” aren’t set in stone (certainly not with the cost of weddings today) so it’s even more important to decide in advance and avoid confusion or embarrassment than it is to stick with traditions. However, according to age-old customs, the bride’s parents are responsible for the wedding announcements, the bride’s dress, the reception, photography, flowers and the cake. This leaves the groom to pick up the cheque for the rings, venue, bouquets and flowers, gifts for bridesmaids and buttonholes for himself, his ushers and his best man. Oh, and did we mention the honeymoon? That’s usually on him too so brides, you might want to keep that tradition at least!!

Order of Service

Depending on whether you are having a religious or civil service, the content of the following ceremony may vary. Generally though, it’s expected to run something like this:

  • Welcome by the vicar / registrar / celebrant
  • Entrance of the bride
  • Hymn, readings, marriage vows and prayers
  • Hymn or psalm blessing
  • Signing the register
  • Recessional (i.e. everybody out!)

Traditionally the party will leave in a specific order – the bride and groom followed by the best man and chief bridesmaid, the bride’s mother and groom’s father, the groom’s mother and bride’s father, the bridesmaids and the rest of the party. Not all weddings go to plan though, and it’s more important to enjoy the big day than fret over the details.

The Dance

It’s no secret that the first dance usually goes to the bride and groom with their song of choice - but it’s important to choose a playlist of additional tunes which will get everybody on the dancefloor. Etiquette suggests that the bride dances with both fathers, the groom with both mothers, the mother of the groom with the father of the bride and vice versa – as well as chief bridesmaid with the best man. Time to move your feet so get some comfy footwear!

Keeping it Running Smoothly

Whilst traditions and customs are an important part of tying the knot, the ultimate responsibility of the bride and groom is to hold a ceremony which is joyous, cherished and remembered. Don’t get so caught up in ensuring that everything goes to plan that you forget to enjoy yourself – the perfect wedding is by no means the one which goes perfectly to plan. Sometimes it the little unplanned moments that make the best memories.