Wedding Etiquette

Engagement Announcement Etiquette

Q. My wedding date is still two years away. When should an engagement announcement appear in the paper?

A. As a general rule, engagements should be published no more than a year and not less than six weeks before your wedding.

Wedding Ceremony Etiquette

Q. Which side of the church/venue should wedding guest be seated?

A. Traditionally the bride's family and friends are seated on the left side of the church facing the altar. The groom's family and friends will sit on the right side of the church. If the church has two center aisles, the bride's side sits on both sides of the left aisle, the groom's on both sides of the right. The parents sit in the center section; the bride's on the left and groom's on the right. More

Q. Which order should the bride and grooms parents be seated?

A. The head usher will escort the groom's mother to her seat.  The groom's father follows a few feet behind the usher, and then takes a seat beside his wife. It lends a nice touch to the wedding for a son to escort his mother down the isle at his brothers wedding whether or not he is the head usher. For a more intimate touch the groom may escort the bride and groom’s parents to their seats.  More

Q. Which order should the bridal party walk down the isle

The wedding party enters, bridesmaids first, the maid of honour follows behind the bridesmaids, and the flower girl and ring bearer behind her.  As everyone takes their places at the front of the church, the organist will change to the music for the bride and her father's entrance.  More

Q. During the wedding, do I walk down the aisle on my father's right
arm or his left?

A. You will take your father's left arm as you walk down the aisle. Your father will then be on your right when your groom joins you from the right at the altar.

Wedding Reception Etiquette

Q. What should the seating arrangements be at the bridal table?

A. Traditionally, the Bride and Bridal attendants are placed to the left of the table and the venue, while the Groom and his Groomsmen are on the right.  A modern alternative is to alternate males and females.

Q. Our wedding reception will be a large, sit-down dinner. What is the best way to direct guests to their places?

A. Use place cards on the tables.  Then display a seating chart (also beautifully lettered) where your guests can see it, so they won't have to go from table to table searching for their places.


Q. We are having a small wedding reception do we need seating arrangements?


A. If you have less than 30 guests you may choose whether or not to have seating arrangements.  Seating arrangements are always optional but with a larger wedding it does help maintain order and make guests feel more comfortable.

Q. Do the bride and groom dance with each other before of after their parents?

A. Traditionally, the bride and groom will be alone on the dance floor for the first dance song. Sometimes the bride's father will cut in and dance with the bride halfway through, but sometimes the second dance is reserved for the bride and her father. Brides who have more than one father figure may wish to dance with both during the song.  It is often customary for the father of the bride to choose and organise the song as a gesture to his daughter.  Shortly after the bride and her father take to the dance floor, traditionally they are followed by the groom and his mother. Finally, the newlyweds dance with their in-laws, and bridesmaids and ushers join the dancing.

Wedding Gift Etiquette

Q. Can we ask for money instead of wedding gifts?

A. Not only can you ask for money instead of wedding gifts, in Australia most brides do.  These days it is not taboo to ask for money instead of gifts as most brides and grooms already have established homes, whether together or separately.  Guest often find it a welcome relief not to have to choose gifts and then lug them to the wedding venue.  The easiest way to ask for money instead of wedding gifts is to include a 'wishing well' with your wedding invitations.

Q. If people bring gifts to our reception, do we have to open them there?

A. Not only do you not have to, you shouldn't. It used to be considered bad manners to even bring gifts to a reception. While that is no longer true, you should still find a safe, out-of-the-way place for guests to leave them until you can open them later. 

Q. Should I buy my fiancée a wedding gift?

A. While there is no rule that says couples should exchange wedding gifts, most do. Usually brides and grooms choose something they know will be treasured for years to come. Special gifts for either the bride or groom include watches, jewellery or luggage.


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