Wedding Manners

elegant wedding dress with a splash of color

Wedding manners for a Proper Wedding

Ask Miss Manners:

For a wedding to be elegant, having elegant details and displays are just one part of an elegant wedding.

Beautiful Wedding Roses

What many people do not realize is that there are inner and outer elegance just like beauty. A perfect wedding with elegant decorations will feel a little flat if only one part of elegance is achieved.

It is amazing how much thought goes into planning a wedding on its appearance but there is not enough consideration for others.

Well, I can’t blame them really. It is daunting enough to plan a wedding, more over fussing over other everything else. It is easy to overlook one’s manners.

That’s why it is important to come back to the basics.

What is a Proper Wedding Really?

elegant wedding dress with a splash of color

“A proper wedding is simply a dignified ceremony, followed by a celebration for those who care about the couple, in a more formal version of the way they usually entertain. ” – defined by Miss Manners.

(P.S.I wrote this page when I was planning my own wedding so it was fortunate that I’ve read several books on wedding manners. )

The Fundamentals

  • You can’t please everyone. Set the pleasing priority for people of importance.
  • You should allocate 20% more than your set budget. Alternatively, aim to spend 80% of your budget.
  • It does not matter if you like this relative or not. All has to be invited.
  • Even if you are paying for your own wedding, you cannot use that declaration do whatever you like. You must still show some consideration of family etc etc.
  • There must be a balance in personalizing your own wedding as compared to consideration of everyone. Brides should not serve chocolate pudding because its their favorite, but because everyone will like it.”
  • Do not fret over whether or not this person will attend the wedding. Just send the invite and gather the responses.
  • Wedding Manners: Keep It Simple

    • Keep the ceremony short, simple and sweet. It is not the place for a lecture, a sermon, to convert one’s religion or hold your audience captive for your musical talents and showcase.
    • Your bridesmaids are not there to be abused even if it is “your day.”
    • Do not make your guests wear something they will not wear again. Stay away from ridiculous themes.
    • Do not plan a wedding you can’t afford. Have a luncheon, serve soft drinks, have it at your own backyard.

    Wedding Manners: What To Expect From Guests

    • Guests should refrain from sexual innuendos and comments. Period.
    • Guests should also disguise their envy and malice or simple boorishness. If not, they should be be immediately expulsion.
    • If guests do not agree with the choice of bride or bridegroom or simply do not believe in their lasting union, they should make every effort to be happy for the couple and support their friends.

    See more Wedding guest etiquette.

    Wedding Manners: Bearing Gifts

    • Brides should acknowledge each gift with graciousness and gratitude. They will never ask for a returnable slip. They will write thank you notes.
    • Brides also should not have an attitude of expecting gifts.
    • They also should never ask what type of gift they are going to be given, or make a request to see it or suggest something else.
    • Gracious guests know that they may not 100% get their gifts right and will offer to let gifts be returnable.
    • It is very courteous to let the party end it at 10 in the evening. Older folks will appreciate it and the younger ones can go out to party.
    • Do not worry about who is going to give you a shower. It does not matter if you do not have one.
    • If your friend is engaged, offer to throw them a shower.
    • Do not worry about how many guests you can invite and what you can afford to serve them. Count the number invited then figure out what you can afford to serve.
    • Do not worry about whether you’ll like the wedding presents. they are not fees paid for the privilege of seeing you get married.
    • Do not list crazy expensive things at the registries. They should be modest selections
    • See how to properly send a wedding gift.

      Remember Why Are You Getting Married

      • As the wedding draws near, look at the big picture. Do not worry about the little things. Do not let minor annoyances get you down or stress you.
      • Do not worry about whether the bridesmaids will match each other or whether the number of groomsmen will match the number of bridesmaids.

      Look At The One You Are Marrying

      look at the one you are marrying

      • Do not worry whether every minute of your wedding day will be captured on camera or video. Do not attempt to stage shots. Enjoy yourself and you’ll be surprised at the wonderful atmosphere and warm smiles turning up in photos. Plus, wedding photos are for mainly for yourself. Do not impose friends to watch your tediously by showing them pictures and videos.
      • It does not matter if the bridegroom is sufficiently interested in the wedding. At the end of the day, your children will not be interested to know if their dad indeed went to all the florists with you and picked out those special arrangements.
      • Just like all big events, nothing goes 100% right. Stay focus on the big day.

      Do Not Forget Your Facial Expressions!

    • If you are the bride, groom, bridesmaid etc and are walking down the aisle, remember to keep your expressions light and happy and joyful no matter whatever upset you 5 hours or 5 minutes ago. It is a happy day!
    • Read more about how to achieve elegant facial expressions.

      Mood of a Wedding Can Be Killed By Bad Jokes

    • Jokes must be kept to a minimum. This applies to being at the altar saying the vows, giving the toast or emceeing the ceremony. Unless you are a famous stand up comedian and have a tasteful discerning spirit on what jokes are appropriate or not, do not litter your speech with jokes.
    • When saying the vows, be solemn but joyful. Do not vibrate with giggles, or look like you are in a funeral instead. Do not pretend to screw or hammer in the ring or pretend to say no when it is your turn to say “I do” or “I will.”
    • Do not have a smothering kiss. Even though the crowd cheers, most of them feel uncomfortable by this very public display.
    • The maid of honor or best-man should check with the bride and groom about the appropriateness of his speech and not make any cringing comments ill-disguised as jokes.
    • Giving the wedding toast

      Lady in a white dress holds a glass at a function

    • Refrain from needless “traditions” if you really do not feel comfortable so. You do have a choice. These include such as cake smashing, bouquet tossing, garter removal etc etc

    Wedding Manners For Engaging the Officiant

    Wedding at A Church

    Before you go asking a priest or pastor to marry you,

    a priest’s notes- adapted from Miss Manners On Painfully Proper Weddings Pg 8.

    “I see marriage as a gift from God…”

    When I conduct a service in which two people make a public commitment to each other, it is with conviction that God had a part in making this marriage happen, and will have a party in keeping it together. The wedding is a religious rite, in my case a Christian rite and I feel prostituted when I am asked to perform a wedding on any other basis.

    …you might want to consider attending his church?

    Elegant Wedding Manners

    When It Comes To Working With Your Photographer

    My interview with a Wedding Photographer. He says…

    “I have been directed and given a list of must-take photographs. Such as, ‘no flash’ during nuptials, the father and bride march in from front angles, the church from the top, significant moments like the best-man doing a reading etc.”

    “I try my best but when on the job, I’ve been accused of being intrusive, too up-close. Plus I have difficulty remember all the listed shots.”

    “I cannot allow instinct to take over and that’s when I harness my creativity the most. I try explaining but many brides do not understand how we photographers work.”

    Some of these shots just cannot be staged.

    More on Elegant wedding photography

    Wedding First Dance

    If you want posed shots, get them done in the studio.

    Have a little faith that the photographer you picked, was operating at his best, and given absolute freedom. Sure, list a few things such as the wedding kiss etc but do not take over the control.

    As Ms Manners say, “They must reminded that they might direct their attention to the sacred moment rather than becoming preoccupied with memories to enjoy later.”

    Proper Wedding Manners Quotes

    By Ms Manners

    “A proper wedding is simply a dignified ceremony, followed by a celebration for those who care about the couple, in a more formal version of the way they usually entertain.

    “…the perpetrators fail to understand the difference between making an occasion enjoyable and making a significant event into a mockery.”

    That’s all for now, at least for this page of general guidelines. Thank you for reading this page! There is more wedding manners to come…

    Other Great Wedding Etiquette Articles

    You might also be interested in:

    Basic Wedding Etiquette – For an elegant bride

    Engagement Announcement Etiquette

    Engagement Party ideas and Types of Elegant Parties Elaborated

    Engagement Party Etiquette, Engagement Party Gift Giving, Bridal Showers And The Works

    All About Engagement and Wedding Rings & Etiquette

    Marriage Proposal Etiquette

    Thank you for reading ‘Wedding Manners’!

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