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Wedding Etiquette A-Z

wedding etiquette



It's a tradition that the bride never arrives bang on time at the ceremony - just a few minutes late.

Bridal Registry 

Nowadays many couples live together before they get married, so they may have much of what they need already. However, guests still love to give the bride and groom something for their home, so maybe it's time to upgrade your bedlinen, your cutlery or china? Some couples ask for money towards their honeymoon. 

Whatever you decide, it's a good idea to have a list of gifts you'd love to receive. 


Think about whether you want children at your wedding. If you're having an evening do then it's not really appropriate and in any case, the parents may be glad of an evening off!


If you and your new spouse are planning on opening the dancing, then think about having some professional dancing lessons beforehand. It's a good life skill to know how to waltz properly! 


A newspaper announcement reads as follows: The engagement is announced between (groom's name), son of (parents' names) of (parents' hometown) and (bride's name), daughter of (parents' names) of (parents' hometown).


A bag of five sugared almonds for each guest used to be the traditional favor, representing fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. Nowadays favors can be much more extravagant but you don't really need to have them and if you're on a budget, then it's probably best spending the money on your food or drink. 


One of their most important jobs is to show each guest to their seat at the ceremony. Make sure they've been well briefed beforehand so they don't stand chatting around at the entrance, leaving people wondering where they should be sitting. 


Traditionally the groom should organise and pay for the honeymoon and make it a surprise for his bride. 


Do you want to invite plus ones? If you're not keen, then a singles table or tables at your wedding could be the solution. 

All individuals over 18 should always receive their own wedding invitation. 


Don't wear any rings other than your engagement ring on your wedding day. Before the ceremony, put it on the third finger of your right hand and then place it by your wedding ring after you're married. 


Giving your bridesmaids a gift as a thank-you is a lovely idea. Jewelry to wear on your big day is perfect. Don't forget to give your young flowergirls and pageboys a framed photograph of themselves in the wedding group. 


Make sure your bridal underwear fits you perfectly, is comfortable and does its job as well as looking beautiful. Get yourself fitted out in a lingerie shop so you're measured correctly. 

Morning coats

It's a good idea to have a dress code on your wedding invitations. If morning dress should be worn by everyone then say so. Or if tuxedos or lounge suits are the order of the day then make that clear. 

No show

Hopefully this won't happen but make sure your caterers know to take away empty place settings, so that there are no gaps. 

Order of service

  • Entrance of the Bride
  • Welcome and Introduction 
  • Hymn
  • Readings
  • Sermon
  • Exchange of Marriage Vows
  • Prayers; Hymn
  • The Signing of the register
  • The Final Blessing
  • Exit


Try not to have guests hanging about waiting for group photographs in cold or wet weather. 


What accommodation is nearby? What do the couple want as a gift? Where can I park? The mother of the bride is a good person to field questions - just make sure she has the right answers and has been briefed properly. 

S is for Speeches

The bride's father gives the first speech, followed by the bridegroom and then the best man.

Thank-you notes

If you want your wedding day to be remembered for the right reasons, then make sure you write those thank-you notes. It's particularly important to thank guests for their gifts because a) they will know you received the present b) it's very rude not to.

Umbrellas (and parasols)

These should be at hand for guests if you're marrying on a rainy day or if you're somewhere very bright and sunny. If guests have to walk outside from the ceremony to the venue, make sure they are protected from the weather if necessary. 


Wear the right veil for your wedding style. If you're marrying on a beach, don't opt for a cathedral length veil and if you're marrying in a large church, a birdcage veil will look out of place. 

Traditionally pregnant brides and second-time brides don't wear veils. 


Think about the weather at the time of year and location you're marrying in. Make sure that guests are going to be warm enough in a marquee and if you're having a destination wedding, put the temperature it's likely to be on your wedding information. 

X factor

Do you really want to invite your ex to your wedding? Or are you happy if your other half does? Sometimes it's best to leave the past alone. In any case, it's something you need to talk about together, to see how you would feel about it.


Always have a chill-out area for small kids and elderly relatives so they can relax a bit and take time out if they need to. 

(Image via Dessy real weddings Facebook page)