Love and Courtesy: Mastering Wedding Etiquette for Your Big Day

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Planning a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and while it promises joy and celebration, it also comes with its fair share of questions about wedding etiquette. From the moment of your engagement to crafting the guest list, navigating the world of wedding traditions and customs can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. However, armed with knowledge of wedding etiquette and thoughtful considerations, you can create a celebration that leaves a lasting impression on your guests and captures the essence of your love story.

Engagement Etiquette

Engagement etiquette - Minstrel Court
*photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

Starting the journey towards marriage begins with asking a significant question, but it’s essential to understand how to proceed correctly. Engagement etiquette is essential for creating a positive and respectful environment during social interactions and celebrations. Whether you choose to follow a more conventional route or opt for a modern approach, knowing the appropriate etiquette is crucial.

Popping the Question

One of the most common challenges for a partner is how to propose. There are lots of factors to take into account when popping the big question. Before proposing, ensure that you have discussed the topic of marriage with your partner and have a clear understanding of their feelings and readiness for this step.

In some traditions and cultures, it is customary to seek the blessing or approval of the partner’s parents or close family members before proposing. Read the room and find out the family dynamics to know what is expected of you. Ask your partner about the right course of action and get her feedback. If they expect you to ask permission first, then go for it.

Engagement Ring

The most important rule is to choose a ring that suits the recipient’s taste and style. Consider their preferences, such as the type of metal, gemstone, and overall design. As for the price, some traditions hold that the ring should be equivalent to a two-month salary for the groom. However, that is an ignorable rule if the couples are both up for something cheaper.

Many proposals happen with the groom kneeling and presenting a surprise ring. It is a tradition that you don’t necessarily have to follow today. Many couples prefer to shop for the ring together and find something that suits their taste. Once the engagement is announced, the recipient traditionally wears the ring on the ring finger of their left hand.

Public Announcement

The couple should inform their close family and friends about their engagement before making a public announcement or sharing it on social media. This shows respect for those closest to them.

The bride and groom should share the engagement news together, whether it’s in person or through a joint announcement. Avoid situations where one partner learns about the engagement through social media or from someone else before being told by their partner. Friends and family should also avoid publicly congratulating the couple before they have made the announcement themselves.

The Costs: Who Pays for What

Wedding Costs Etiquette - Minstrel Court
*photo by Yomex Owo on Unsplash

When starting to plan a wedding, the first crucial step is to estimate the overall cost and determine how much both families are willing and able to contribute. In the UK, who pays for the wedding depends on various factors, such as following traditional norms or adopting a more modern approach. The idea of sticking to traditional roles to pay for the wedding no longer makes sense for many couples. Having said that, an awareness of etiquette and tradition is essential. Here are some of the aspects of the wedding you may like to know who pays for:

Engagement Party

It is the bride’s parents who will traditionally host the engagement party. When it comes to the engagement and wedding rings, however, the bride’s family has to pay.

Marriage Licence

It is the groom’s side that will pay for the marriage licence and the fees associated with it. But today, they can come up with a division and split the costs.

Wedding Reception

The bride’s family is also responsible for the cost of the wedding reception. In modern settings, however, the two families can split the cost. It is also worth noting that many times, it is the bride and groom themselves who pay for the reception, but the families also make some contribution.

Wedding Dress

Tradition again expects the bride’s side to pay for the wedding dress. The cost might as well include all the accessories associated with the dress, like the veil, shoes, and bridal bag. The groom’s suit, however, is the groom’s family’s responsibility.


The flowers, which are part of the venue decoration, will be purchased by the bride’s family. The groom, on the other hand, is supposed to pay for the bride’s bouquet. The bride’s bouquet is a significant floral arrangement the bride carries during the wedding ceremony.


The groom mostly pays the honeymoon expenses, with possible help from his family. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to use cash gifts they receive from their guests to pay for the trip with them.

Guest List Etiquette: Who to Invite

who to invite - wedding etiquette - Minstrel Court
*photo by Ricardo Moura on Unsplash

Creating a wedding guest list is a challenging task, involving tough decisions and potential political considerations. Questions about plus-one invites, including cousins, and managing unexpected RSVP changes further complicate matters. To ease this process, it’s crucial to follow guest list etiquette guidelines to manage this significant yet stressful aspect of wedding planning. Here are a few notes to consider:

Inviting Relatives

When it comes to creating a wedding guest list, one of the most delicate tasks is deciding whom to invite among your extended family members. Striking a balance between maintaining family ties and keeping the guest list manageable can be a challenge.

One key thing to keep in mind is to treat your family equally. Don’t try to invite only one uncle, thus disappointing the others. Avoid tension as much as possible, even if it means spending more money.

There are also those relatives who invited you to their wedding. It is only polite to invite them to your own wedding as well, especially if you are still in contact and the relationship hasn’t fallen apart.

Inviting Cousins

Cousins often hold a special place in our hearts, as they can be both friends and family at the same time. However, deciding whether or not to invite all cousins or only a select few can be a tricky decision for any couple. With large families, the number of cousins can quickly add up, potentially overwhelming your guest list. On the other hand, excluding some cousins might lead to hurt feelings and strained relationships.

Remember that close bonds and relationships are what matter here. It is only natural for you to invite the cousins you and your family have the strongest bond with.

Inviting Children

The question of whether to invite children to a wedding is a common dilemma for many couples. While having children at your wedding can add a sense of joy and playfulness to the occasion, it may also present logistical challenges and disrupt the intended atmosphere. Striking the right balance between accommodating families with children and maintaining a more adult-oriented event requires careful consideration.

If you don’t plan on inviting children, don’t write messages like “children are not invited” or “adults only” on the invitation cards. In fact, it is better to just avoid mentioning their names on the envelope. It is also a good idea to call the couples with children and explain the reasons for your decision.

Wedding planning should be a joyous experience, and by embracing wedding etiquette, you can create an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion for everyone involved. With etiquette as your guide, your wedding day is sure to be a beautiful testament to your love and the start of a new chapter filled with happiness, joy, and cherished memories.

2 thoughts on “Love and Courtesy: Mastering Wedding Etiquette for Your Big Day”

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