An A-Z Guide to British Wedding Etiquette and Wedding Planning – Part 1
Inspiration - 19.12.16
Inspiration - 19.12.16
Whether you’re tying the knot in a religious venue or having a civil ceremony, you’re likely to walk down an aisle before saying your vows. Wedding etiquette, a bride is escorted down the aisle by her father, but this could be another close relative or friend. While it’s also expected that the bride will be a little late, it’s not polite to keep your guests (or your anxious groom) waiting for too long! Guests – if you’re sticking to wedding etiquette, friends and family of the bride should sit on the left with the groom’s relatives on the right. These days etiquette isn’t too concerned about sides, but it’s always polite to leave the front row seats for immediate family and close friends.
Always ask your chosen ladies if they would like to be your bridesmaid rather than assuming, and be understanding if they politely turn down the opportunity. A good bridesmaid should take the role and responsibility seriously. There are no rules when it comes to buying outfits, but it’s important to be clear about finances. Generally speaking, it’s always kind if a bride offers to pay for bridesmaid outfits. If you’re expecting bridesmaids to pay for themselves, you need to give them some choice in what they are going to wear.
Wedding cake isn’t essential, but it’s a lovely tradition worth sticking to. Cut it when the time is right during your day. You don’t have to stick to a rigid timetable, but make sure its included in your wedding planning for the day.
We all love that romantic first dance moment. Choose a song that means something to you both, whether it’s a smoochy love song or something more upbeat and fun. If the thought of swaying around the dance floor in front of your guests fills you with fear, don’t do it – simply get the music started and bring the wedding party on to the dance floor with you.
We all imagine being presented with a beautiful diamond at the same time as the proposal. In reality, nowadays many couples like to choose the ring together which is a great idea. Set a budget in advance and try on several styles, stones and settings before making your decision.
While it’s lovely to give each guest a small favour, it’s not essential and is something you should only consider if the budget allows. Keep costs down by giving a favour that doubles up as a place name, or a simple sweet treat that guests can enjoy with coffee.
Wedding etiquette is that a wedding list should be set up before the invitations are sent out, and details of that list can be mentioned discreetly in the information sent with each invite. Asking for money can be a practical option, but you should expect that some guests would prefer to buy a present. If you ask for cash, explain what you are saving up for, and consider putting together a more traditional gift list as well.
The veil… to wear or not to wear? Only you can decide whether you’d like to wear one, or whether you would prefer a beautiful tiara, elegant hair pins or fresh flowers. If you go for the veil, make sure any embellishment doesn’t compete with your dress and, if you’re having a ‘blusher’ that covers your face, don’t forget to flip it over your head for the ‘kiss the bride’ moment.
Invitations should be sent out 8-12 weeks before the big day, and you should send them to everyone you would like to attend the wedding (including the bridesmaids and best man!). Always include useful information such as directions and details of local accommodation. It’s also perfectly acceptable to include details of your gift list, although it should be discreet and not written as if a gift is essential!
Jewellery can accessorise your gown beautifully, but it’s important to choose wisely. Wedding etiquette means you will obviously wear your engagement ring and, ideally, should keep the fingers on your left-hand clear of any other rings. A necklace needs to work well with the neckline of your wedding dress, and you might choose delicate earrings or hair pins. Often, less is more! Wearing a watch isn’t the done thing – you don’t need to be checking the time on your wedding day.
Throughout the wedding planning, it’s crucial to consider everyone involved in your big day. While it is your day, it’s also of huge importance to your close family and friends. Compromise can be essential. If your groom has his heart set on a live band, but you’d prefer a DJ, you need to find a middle ground or decide whether it really matters to you.
Some guests may bring gifts on the day while others will order from a gift list. Whatever you receive and whenever you receive it, be sure to keep a detailed list. It’s crucial to thank every person for his or her generosity and for sharing your special day. While no one expects you to be writing thank-you notes on your honeymoon, wedding etiquette is to write them as soon as you arrive home.
A well-planned wedding menu should take all guests into consideration. While you can be daring with spices and flavours, you should also offer less adventurous alternatives and cater for any dietary requirements. And, be sure to offer plenty of food, especially when you start to serve alcohol. A well-fed guest is a happy guest! Stay tuned for part 2 coming very soon!