The traditions behind wedding
ceremonies are part of what make them one of, if not the most, classic formal events most people attend. The formality
and tradition are indicators of the importance of etiquette for the event. Here
are some etiquette tips to help you navigate the event with class.
Who pays for what?
Money is frequently one of
the biggest sources of tension around a wedding. In this particular situation,
etiquette can actually function as a peacemaking tool. Traditionally speaking,
the bride or her family pays for the following aspects of the celebration:
bride’s gown and accessories
for her attendants
involved with the reception, including a wedding entertainer and
ceremony, which includes musicians as well as decorations
The groom and his family are
responsible for paying for the following:
for the groomsmen
for special women associated with the wedding (mothers, grandmothers, etc.)
- Boutonnieres for the men in the wedding
- Compensation for the person who
officiates the ceremony
The bridal party covers the
costs of their own attire, as well as any cost associated with travel and
lodging for the event. Regardless of how many parties or showers they are
invited to, it is only necessary to purchase one gift for the couple.
The most traditional wedding
etiquette dictates very specific means of getting gifts to the bridal couple.
It is customary for every person or family invited to the wedding to have one
representative who is also invited to a bridal shower. Gifts are to be presented
at the shower. If invitees are unable to attend a shower, gifts should be
mailed or delivered ahead of time or up to one year after the wedding date.
This means that nobody should bring gifts to the ceremony or the reception.
However, etiquette also dictates that those who do so are to be treated
cordially. The bridal couple is to send a thank you note for each gift received
within one year of the wedding date, too.
Traditionally, the bride
chooses the color and style of the bridesmaid dresses and accessories.
Similarly, the groom determines the style and color of the groomsmen’s formal
wear. The only two people who can get away with wearing white on that day are
the bride and the groom. Guests and family members should steer clear of white and
usually black, too. There are some black tie weddings and certain weddings in
which the bridesmaids wear black. These are exceptions.
These guidelines most affect
the mothers of the bride and groom. Etiquette indicates the mother of the bride
is allowed to choose her dress first. It should compliment the colors of the
wedding party. The mother of the groom then chooses a gown of similar style,
usually tea length or floor length that is also complimentary on the color
Wedding party responsibilities
It is an honor to be asked to
participate in somebody’s wedding. It is also a commitment that involves both
time and money. The money has already been discussed. Responsibilities follow. Bridesmaids,
especially the maid of honor, are expected to help the bride with details
surrounding the wedding both before and after the ceremony. Tasks may include
stuffing invitations, running errands, hosting a bridal shower and tending to
the train during the ceremony. Groomsmen serve similar functions for the groom.
They typically work together to coordinate transportation for the newlyweds
after the reception, throw the bachelor party before the ceremony and tend to
the logistical needs of the groom throughout the planning and actual event.
Ushers have fewer responsibilities
before the ceremony, but are essential pillars at the ceremony. They are tasked
with seating guests and family members. The house party passes out programs,
ensures guests sign the guest book and store any gifts in a designated
At the reception
To guide all your guests
through appropriate etiquette practices during the reception, it helps to have
a professional wedding DJ. San Antonio
based Cutting Edge Entertainment
provides DJs who know how to function as emcees during a wedding reception,
directing buffet lines, special dances and any toasts.
What about the kids?
Etiquette indicates children
should only attend a wedding if their name is on the invitation. Traditionally,
the bride and groom only invite children who are part of the wedding party
(flower girl and ring bearer) and those in their immediate family. If the
reception will not be child-friendly, some couples provide childcare for the
children of friends or family who do not live nearby. Guests who live in the
area should be expected to find their own babysitter.
Your wedding is your special
day. Etiquette simply provides a structure in which to plan and a guide you can
reference should any conflicts arise. After the planning, focus more on
celebrating than on the etiquette.