Wedding Etiquette: bon ton rules of the ceremony

20th January 2020


Planning your wedding doesn't happen every day and often means being able to imagine it.
The first thing you are surely thinking about is the reception: nothing must be missing and everything have to be perfect for the wedding party but aren't you forgetting anything else? If it is true that your guests will remember all the moments lived at your party, it is also true that it is up to you to make another important phase equally unforgettable: the wedding ceremony.

Today I want to share with you the etiquette of the perfect wedding ceremony: tips and bon ton rules to start your big day in the right way!

FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS


Wherever the ceremony will take place, the floral set up is a must.
Flowers have to highlight the beauty of the place without distorting it: sumptuous floral arrangements, for example, are not suitable for small churches or municipal halls with simple features.
A site inspection with your florist is therefore recommended: depending on the style, colors and spaces of the location, it will suggest you the most suitable types of arrangements.

A basic set-up is the starting point to personalize the whole set-up of your ceremony: medium or large arrangements on pedestals and alternated small floral bouquets for benches or seats along the aisle, certainly cannot be missing . It's up to you to choose whether to enrich everything with additional floral decors.

WP TIPS: If your wedding will have a specific theme, I suggest you to avoid using decorations otherwise than flowers at least during the ceremony; make sure that the attention of your guests focuses on the colors of the floral arrangements which will also inspire your ceremony booklets or personalized wedding bags.

aNNOUNCEMENTS AND GUESTS


Announcements, as the entire wedding coordinate, must follow the theme or style of your wedding as long as they retain a certain elegance and sobriety appropriate to the occasion.

It is appropriate to deliver announcements and invitations a month before the wedding day and if according to ancient traditions the wedding was to be announced by the parents, today brides and grooms are the ones who announce it by their own so that only their names will appear.
In the case of a marriage between two persons from two different countries, it is recommended to prepare two types of announcements and invitations in the mother tongues of both.

Etiquette teaches us that it is a good habit to invite relatives, friends and those who have already invited you to their weddings but as a wedding planner I would suggest you to invite especially those who will have the pleasure of being there for your special day.
If you wish to give specific communications on your invitations (e.g. dress code) you can do so with a closing sentence associated with the classic R.S.V.P.


FACTS: Do you know what is the difference between announcements and invitations? Firsts are for those you would like to see to your ceremony, whereas invitations use to be delivered with announcements and they are for those you would like with you even at your reception.


WEDDING PROCESSION

As a wedding planner I would define the entrances moment as the most delicate phase of a ceremony: it is not enough that future spouses arrive where the rite will take place to become husband and wife, it is instead essential that the etiquette is followed also for the wedding ceremony.

Groom, his parents and the mother of the bride must arrive first, that is about 20/30 minutes before the ceremony start; they will be followed by the arrival of grandparents, Maid of honor, bridesmaid, Best man, groomsmen, ring bearer and flower girls.

Shortly before the arrival of the guests, the traditional wedding procession is the following:
  • The priest or officiant;
  • Grandparents of the groom;
  • Grandparents of the bride;
  • Parents of the groom;
  • Mother of the bride escorted by usher;
  • Groom;
  • Groomsmen with bridesmaid;
  • Best man with the Maid of honor;

According to the etiquette, married women will make their entrance to their 
ushers' right while the unmarried women will do it to the their ushers' left.

When the first guests begin to arrive, it would be advisable to hire someone you trust, or a Wedding Coordinator, to ensure that everyone takes their seats and they don't stay outside waiting for the arrival of the bride: unfortunately, at every wedding there is always this kind of inconvenience that creates crowd and hinders the delicate work of photographers and videomakers!

Remember that bride's guests will sit on the left (bride side) and groom's guests will sit on the right (groom side): it would be nice if someone will care to reserve the first rows for your closest relatives.

Once the guests have finally taken their seats, the bride will be ready to make her entrance to the father's left; they will be preceded by the ring bearer who will deliver the wedding rings to the groom and by the flower girls that will drop some rose petals on the ground.

The bride will have to embody the elegance made person with a slow and graceful walk, bouquet at the height of her left side and her gaze to the groom. When the father hands her over to the groom, the latter will greet his father in law with an embrace and then the groom will lift the bride's veil giving her a kiss on the forehead. 

At the end of the ceremony, you will be husband and wife and turning on yourself, you will be in inverted positions so that the bride will be at the groom's right when leaving the ceremony.


FACTS: An alternative to the traditional wedding procession is the couple's entrance, often chosen by the mature couples who cannot be accompanied to the altar by their elderly parents: when everyone has taken a seat, the groom will wait outside for the arrival of the bride to make their entrance together.

WP TIPS: If your ceremony will be religious, it is important that you agree with your priest every detail like readings and songs for entrances. If, on the other hand, you are getting married with a civil or symbolic ceremony, I suggest you to prepare personalized readings and a set list of your favourite songs to make everything more touching.