Frequently Asked Questions About Weddings

Wedding couple
  Caiaimage/Tom Merton / Getty Images 

Whether you want to put your best foot forward at your own wedding or you're attending a wedding and don't want to make a mistake, you probably have some questions about proper etiquette. Even if you think you know what's appropriate and what isn't, it's still a good idea to brush up on the basics. As you're getting ready for the event, don't forget that it's about much more than putting on some fancy clothes and partying with friends.

Wedding etiquette rules change, but if you are unsure of what to do, you can rely on some of the established guidelines.

Who Pays for What?

Traditions still exist, but today’s brides and grooms are more pragmatic. Parents may pay for it, but with the cost of weddings continuing to rise, that isn't always possible. Often the bride and groom cover many of the expenses of their own wedding.

The Best Way to Toss the Bouquet

Take several factors into consideration, such as the number of single women at the reception, the setting, and the sensibilities of the wedding party. If the bride wants to avoid hurting the feelings of the single woman, she should turn her back and toss the bouquet over her shoulder.

Proper Wedding Dance Etiquette

The traditional order of the wedding dance can be modified to suit the bride and groom’s situation. There's typically the first dance, followed by the father-daughter dance, and then the mother-son dance. You might add additional dances as appropriate.

What Should the Toasts Say?

Toasts to the happy couple are supposed to be supportive and uplifting. They may be funny, but good taste is always in order. Never say anything that would embarrass either the bride or groom.

Where Do I Sit at a Wedding?

Traditionally, the bride's guests sit on the left facing the altar, and the groom's guests sit on the right. However, that isn't etched in stone and can vary according to the wedding couple's wishes.

What Should I Wear to a Wedding?

Most wedding invitations will give you a clue about what to wear. If the invitation is white linen, and the wedding is in the evening, it will be more formal than one held earlier in the day.

Do I Bring the Wedding Gift to the Wedding?

Remember that the bride and groom’s attention will be on the ceremony and each other, so be considerate and follow general etiquette rules. If possible, send the gift in advance, so the couple doesn't have to worry about lugging a bunch of gifts home before they begin their honeymoon.

May I Bring a Guest to the Wedding?

Be considerate of the fact that weddings and receptions are expensive. Only bring a guest if the invitation states that you may.

Is a Gift Appropriate for a Second Wedding?

Gifts are always appropriate for any celebration, no matter how many times one of the newlyweds have tied the knot.

May I Take Pictures or Video of the Wedding?

With most people having a camera on their smartphone, it's likely someone will snap a photo or get a clip of at least some of the event. However, it's only appropriate if you have the bride and groom's permission.