Doing the right thing – Wedding Etiquette

Post updated: 07 February 2021

Wedding Etiquette – Doing the right thing

Not sure about a few areas when planning your wedding? Follow these tips on wedding etiquette to keep you on the right track.


In years gone past this was one area that was very straightforward as they were always sent from the bride’s parents.

With more couples paying for their own weddings and families separating it is sometimes difficult to know what is best when choosing what your invite is going to say.

Bride and groom as hosts – Miss Karen Brown and Mr Paul White request the pleasure of ….
Brides parents as hosts – Mr and Mrs John Brown request the pleasure of …..
Divorced parents as hosts – Mr John Brown and Mrs Kate Brown request the pleasure of ….


Wedding Etiquette Children

Sometimes couples decide that they do not want to have any children at their wedding for various reasons.

If you are not having children make sure that you tell friends and family as soon as possible so that they aren’t surprised when the invite arrives.

If you do decide to have children at your day it is a good idea to provide them with a goody bag to keep them entertained during the meal and speeches. Or you could hire some children’s entertainment so they are not in the same room during the speeches.

Make sure you ask for meal choices and if high chairs are required on your invites.

Who does what

The chief bridesmaid – her role is to support you in the lead up to and on the day of the wedding (so choose well!).
She should be the main organiser of your hen night, help you get ready on the morning of the wedding, hold your bouquet during your vows and organise the other bridesmaids.

The best man – His role is to support the groom, plan his stag party, ensure he gets to the ceremony on time and look after the rings until the vows. He is also required to make a speech at the reception, organise the groomsmen and ushers and return the hire suits after the wedding.

He may also be the “go-to man” on the day for the wedding photographer as the bride and groom should be able to relax and not be bothered with last-minute questions or gathering up of family for photographs etc.

The Table plan

This can one of the most stressed over aspects of planning a wedding especially if there are some friends and family that don’t see eye to eye. Try to keep these parties on different tables to help avoid an unnecessary atmosphere on your day.

Photo: iStock

Traditionally the bride and groom sit at a long top table with their parents, bridesmaids and best men, however, it is becoming more popular for a round table to be used as couples feel this is more sociable. To avoid stress with parents that are divorced seat them with their new partners or ask them if they would like to host their own tables. Close family and friends are normally on tables close to the top table. Children should either be with their parents or have a children’s table.

Ushers – They help the best man on the day, show guests to their seats and hand out the order of service booklets. They may also be asked to read any messages or cards at the reception.


There are generally three main speeches at a wedding, although it is becoming more popular for the father of the groom, chief bridesmaid and even the bride to make speeches.

The traditional running order is:
Father of the bride – he is usually the first to speak, it is his responsibility to thank all the guests for coming, then he would say a few words about his daughter and finally, he would officially welcome his new son in law into the family before finishing with a toast to the happy couple.
Groom – The groom should then thank the bride’s father for his speech, say some loving words about his new wife and thank all those that helped with the preparations for the day, especially parents and bridal party. The groom should finish off by toasting the bridesmaids.
Best Man – He should begin by thanking the groom on behalf of the bridesmaids. He then gives a speech about the groom remembering that this should suit all tastes and not offend anyone. He finishes by toasting the happy couple.

Read More: The Speeches – Who says what and when!

Posted by Paul Crawford


Paul has been a full-time professional photographer since 1990. He is married to Patricia and the proud Dad to 2 fantastic sons. He photographs around 30 Weddings each year in Northern Ireland and is an experienced Photography Tutor running Photography Courses and Workshops as well as running an online photography courses platform & community