Friday, February 1, 2013

Wedding etiquette and traditions

Wedding etiquette and traditions

It's interesting:
"Kick things off with a topical wedding-themed icebreaker, as this will show everybody that you've been thinking about the speech right up to the last minute."

Planning a wedding is an exciting time for the bride and groom. A well-executed wedding requires attention to detail and advanced planning. Understanding traditions and etiquette will help the couple better prepare for their wedding day and help guests and family members feel welcome and appreciated. Although traditions and etiquette have evolved through the years to reflect modern tastes, many elements of the wedding celebration remain unchanged.

  1. Bridal Showers

    • Bridal showers are a fun and exciting wedding tradition. The custom of throwing the bride a shower originated in Holland. Legend has it that a wealthy Dutch girl fell in love with a poor miller. The girl's parents disapproved of her choice for a husband and refused to give her a dowry. When the local townspeople learned of her decision to marry for love, they showered the young couple with all of the necessary items to set up a household.

      As with most wedding events, generally accepted etiquette guides the bridal shower event. Traditionally, the maid or matron of honor holds a shower in the bride's honor several weeks prior to the wedding. In the past, the bridal shower was often a surprise for the bride and a girls-only event. Today, it is acceptable to consult the bride on dates and themes for the shower as well as to host a couples shower for the bride and the groom.


    • Tradition and etiquette play an important role in creating, addressing and delivering wedding invitations. The wording of the invitation and the addressing of the envelope can offend and cause hurt feelings if not handled properly. Traditionally, the bride's parents host (pay for) the wedding and therefore extend the invitation to attend the event. Rules have relaxed, however, and traditional family arrangements have changed throughout the years. It is now common for one parent to host, both sets of parents to host, or even the bride and groom to host their own wedding. The proper wording for each situation is available in wedding planning guides, magazines and websites.

    Bride's Dress

    • The highly romanticized white wedding dress was actually not common until 1840, when Queen Victoria wore a white gown on her wedding day. White quickly became the preferred color for wedding dresses and has come to symbolize the bride's purity and joy. Before the popularization of the white wedding dress, brides often selected a color that held a special meaning or flattered their individual coloring. Many brides also chose dresses that could be worn again or altered to create a more practical style when the wedding was over.

      In the past, wedding etiquette dictated that brides only wear a white dress at their first wedding ceremony. If a bride were getting married for a second time, she was expected to choose a different color. Today, most wedding experts agree that the color and style of the dress is the bride's decision. It is completely appropriate for a second-time bride to wear a white dress or a first-time bride to wear a color other than white.

    Gifts and Thank-You Notes

    • Gifts have long been an important component of wedding day festivities. Traditionally, guests would give household items to assist the bride and groom in setting up their new household. Today, couples receive a wide variety of gifts including household items, money, gift cards and even money to pay for some or all of their honeymoon. Guests often believe they are required to bring a certain type of gift or select a gift from the couple's registry. There is not a standard guideline for giving wedding gifts. Wedding experts advise guests to give any gift that they feel is appropriate for the occasion.

      Etiquette experts have long advised couples to send hand-written thank you notes for wedding gifts. With easy accessibility to the Internet and cell phones, hand-written notes often seem antiquated or outdated. Many brides and grooms may mistakenly think that it is appropriate to text or email thank-you notes. According to the Emily Post Institute, hand-written thank you notes are one tradition that has not changed. "All guests should receive hand-written thank-you notes for their gifts."


    • The reception includes some of the most-loved wedding traditions, including the bouquet and garter tosses, cake cutting ceremony, champagne toast and the couple's first dance. Wedding reception etiquette is not as strict as other components of the wedding celebration, as the reception is often considered a time to relax and celebrate the couple's new life together. Most elements of the reception are completely at the discretion of the couple and should reflect the couple's preferences for entertaining guests.


Tags: bride groom, bridal shower, bride wear, etiquette traditions, hand-written thank