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Wedding Etiquette

Weddings are occasions steeped in ceremony and tradition.  Although they can take many different forms you may like to incorporate some of the following traditions into your day.

Special duties entrusted to key people

Many of these roles are less defined in modern weddings than they were previously, with the Bride and Groom now assuming a lot more responsibility between them.  However, these are the traditional people who undertake the tasks.

The Bride –

Chooses the style of service

Selects her own and the bridesmaids’ dresses

Creates a wedding present list (with some help from the Groom!)


The Groom – 

Buys the rings

Pays the church fees

Chooses his best man and ushers

Arranges (and pays for!) transportation for himself and the best man to the ceremony and for himself and the Bride subsequently

Purchases presents for the bridesmaids, best man and ushers

Buys certain flowers – specifically those for the Bride, the bridesmaids, his mother and the Bride’s mother

Buys buttonholes for himself, the best man and the ushers


The Chief Bridesmaid

Helps the bride to prepare for the wedding day

Aids with the Bride’s dressing on the day

Holds the Bride’s bouquet during the ceremony


The Best Man

Looks after the rings until they are needed during the ceremony

Checks transport arrangements for the guests attending the reception

Reads congratulatory messages at the reception from absent friends and family

Takes responsibility for getting the Groom to the wedding on time!


Bride’s Father

Gives the Bride away during the marriage ceremony

Receives guests at the reception

Traditionally carries most of the costs – including outfits for the Bride and bridesmaids, photographer and invitations (amongst other things)


Bride’s Mother

Is generally involved with most aspects of the wedding

Helps the Bride and Groom compile a guest list

Selects a venue for the reception

Manages catering arrangements (including the wedding cake)

Takes part in the receiving line at the reception alongside other key people



Top Table Layout

Modern families can come in various configurations but there is always a table plan to suit your own circumstances and involve all the people who are most important to you.  The conventional layout is described here.

From left to right along the top table –

Chief Bridesmaid, Groom’s Father, Bride’s Mother, Bridegroom, Bride, Bride’s Father, Groom’s Mother, Best Man

The Receiving Line

Should you wish to have a traditional receiving line the standard order is as follows.  This can, of course, be tailored to your needs.


Mother of the Bride

Father of the Bride

Mother of the Groom

Father of the Groom



Chief Bridesmaid


Best Man


Speeches and Toasts

Wedding etiquette dictates the speeches and toasts should take place as follows.  As with everything else in a modern wedding you are able to break with tradition and invite whichever guests you desire to take the floor!  Remember it’s your day.

The Bride’s Father traditionally opens with a toast to the Bride and Groom

The Groom then makes a speech responding to his new Father-in-law.  In this he thanks his new in-laws and the guests and performs a toast to the bridesmaids.

The Best Man makes the final speech, replying on behalf on the bridesmaids and reading the messages from those not present.