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8 Wedding Etiquette Tips for Brides-to-Be

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Hey there brides-to-be, make sure you know these eight simple etiquette rules before your big day gets here!

1. Wearing White

White Dress

The traditional white wedding dress indicates purity, (not virginity, as many assume) and correct etiquette dictates that you should only choose a white gown if you have not been married before.

2. Paying for the Wedding

Who Pays for the Wedding

Traditionally, the cost of the wedding was split between the bride’s parents and the groom himself. The bride’s parents pay for the bridal gown, the photography, the bridesmaid dresses and the entire reception (including the cake!). It is left to the groom to pay the fees for the church, the honeymoon, and his bride’s flowers.

3. Order of Speeches

Who Makes the Speeches

The bride’s father, groom and best man are responsible for making speeches. There is a set format to follow regarding the order of the speeches  Both formats are listed below.

Shorter Version

  1. The toast to the bride and groom – given by the bride’s father or a close family friend.
  2. The bridegroom’s reply on behalf of his wife and himself. He then proposes a toast to the bridesmaids.
  3. The best man’s speech on behalf of the bridesmaids. He then reads any emails or messages.

Longer Version

  1. Welcome by the Master of Ceremonies.
  2. Introduction of the person proposing a toast to the bride and groom.
  3. Response from the groom and a toast to the bridesmaids.
  4. Response by the best man.
  5. Toast to the parents of the bride.
  6. Response by the father of the bride.
  7. Toast to the parents of the groom.
  8. Response by the father of the groom.
  9. Reading of important messages.
  10. Any other comments by those who wish to be acknowledged.
  11. M.C. thanks the musicians, caterers and any others.

4. Ceremony Seating

Ceremony Seating

It is correct for the bride’s family to sit on the left of the aisle and the groom’s on the right. However, with civil ceremonies, a modern trend is to have an open seating plan, with guests ‘choosing a seat, not a side’. This goes with the sentiment of two families becoming one.

5. Walking Down the Aisle

Walking Down the Aisle

It is traditional for the bride’s father to walk her down the aisle. If he is unable to, a close family friend, brother or uncle is considered appropriate. The bride always walks on the left side of her escort so that his right hand is free to draw his sword to protect her. As she walks towards the alter, she will be on her family’s side of the church for support, and as she returns on her new hubby’s arm, she will be on his side of the church, symbolically being introduced into his family.

6. Reception Seating

Reception Seating

Correct etiquette dictates a long top table, with the bride and groom in the center, the bride’s parents on each side of the couple, and the groom’s parents next to them. The most important guests – which should include the oldest family members – are seated closest to the top table.

7. Bar Etiquette

Bar Etiquette

While providing reception drinks and wine throughout the wedding breakfast is the norm, a free bar for the evening reception is a nice touch, if your budget allows.

8. Gift List

Gift Etiquette

You can safely assume that the majority of your guests will want to buy you a gift to mark the occasion and it is correct etiquette for guests to contact the bride’s mother to inquire where the gift list is registered. However, some couples take the much more direct approach and just include details of their gift list in their wedding invitations!

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