Ceremony Etiquette and Samples

I've included some fairly common wedding ceremony questions with regards to etiquette. There is always plenty of flexibility in wedding ceremony do not be afraid to be creative and to step outside the box of normality and dare to be different.

Which side of the church do I sit on?

Left side of the church is the bride's side
Right side of the church is the groom's side

Although if the two sides look uneven it's a perfectly acceptable practice for the ushers to escort guests to the side that has less people.
Remember if it's a Jewish wedding, switch sides...bride on the right, groom on the left.

What is the correct order for the attendants in the processional?

There are many variations to the processional, here is one.
The groom and best man are already at the altar
Groomsmen first
Bridesmaids follow
Maid of honour
Flower girl and ring bearer
Bride walks with her father, other escort or by herself.
If you have a big wedding party your groomsmen and bridesmaids can walk in pairs.

Which side of the church does the bride walk up the aisle with her father?

Traditionally, the bride walks on her father’s left side. If the bride has a long train, you might want to consider being on your father’s right side so that he doesn’t have to walk around your train to take his seat.

What is the order of the recessional?

Bride and Groom first.
Flower girl and ring bearer next.
Maid of honour and best man.
Bridesmaids and ushers in couple pairs.
If you have an attendant without a partner they walk alone

What do I do with my veil at the ceremony?

Your maid of honour will assist you and put your veil over your face before you walk down the aisle.
After your father walks you down the aisle he will turn your veil up and give you a kiss.
Your maid of honour will fix the veil so that it's in place and looks neat and tidy.

What do I do with my engagement ring?

Generally before the ceremony put your engagement ring on your right hand
After the groom puts your wedding band on, you can slip on your engagement ring, although it's best to wait until after the wedding ceremony incase you drop it.
Your wedding band should be worn first so that it's closer to your heart.

I'm going to be wearing gloves ... what happens when we exchange rings?

You can buy gloves with a pre-sewn slit on the ring finger or you can slit the seam of the glove yourself allowing easy access to your ring finger without having to remove your glove.

When do I give my bouquet to my maid of honour?

Keep hold of your bouquet untill just before you start to exchange Vows, you can hand her your bouquet. Your maid of honour can bring your bouquet up to you when your marriage certificate is being signed and will hand it over to you after you have finished signing. Try and remember to place your bouquet with the heads of the flowers outwards for the photographer, as the photographs look so much nicer.

I have children, or I've been married before, can I wear a white dress?

Etiquette states that you shouldn't wear white but choose off white or have colored accents or panels sewn into your white dress.
Etiquette also states that you shouldn't wear a veil. So why not wear a tiara, floral head piece or hat.
If you want to stick to etiquette those are the rules. If you don't really care about the etiquette then by all means wear whatever you want. It's your wedding, do what you feel comfortable with, please yourself and not others.

Who sits in reserved seats and how can I reserve seats/pews at the ceremony location?

Reserved seats are for immediate family and anyone else that is important to you. These seats are up front...best seats in the house
Use bows, decorations or rope off the seats/pews that are reserved
Let your ushers know who will be sitting in the reserved sections.
You can also include this information when sending out your invitation cards. These cards will then be showen to your ushers.

Who walks me down the aisle my father or my stepfather?

Depends upon how close you are to both men, if you have a preference then you can decide. If not then generally your father is the one who gets the privilege.

Should I have a receiving line at the ceremony location?

If you are not having a reception or a receiving line at your reception location, then yes. Ask the church if they will allow you to have a receiving line on their property first. If there is another wedding immediately following yours, the church may require you to leave the premises.

What order do people stand in for the receiving line?

Here are two examples of receiving lines.

Line Up Example #1

Bride's Mother
Groom's Mother
The Bride
The Groom
Maid of Honour
Men can mingle

Line Up Example #2

Bride's Parents
Groom's Parents
The Bride
The Groom
Maid of Honour
Best man
Groomsmen, etc.

This very same line up can be used for the receiving line at your reception.

What happens if I forget what I'm supposed to do?

DO NOT worry, the Officiant or Celebrant will be there to guide you through the ceremony. He or she will be there to assist tell you where to stand, what to say and what to do. Making mistakes and forgetting is a normal occurrence at every wedding. The main thing to remember is to smile be happy and do not worry about a thing, let other's do all the worrying for you. some people love to worry, they are experts at it.

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