Wedding Etiquette - the Forgotten Necessity

So many things can influence the choices a bride and groom make when it comes to wedding etiquette. Cultural traditions, religious traditions, and personal taste all play an important part in planning. However, listed below are some "norms" in wedding etiquette and planning. Use these helpful tips as a guide as you see fit. Most importantly, remember-it's YOUR wedding day and you should do what you feel most comfortable doing. Have fun and have a blessed marriage!

The Big Question: Who Pays for What?

Wedding etiquette suggests the bride pays for:

  • The ring for the groom
  • Gifts for her attendants
  • A gift for the groom
  • Some brides also pay for accommodations for out-of-town guests
Wedding etiquette suggests the groom pays for:
  • The bride’s engagement ring and wedding ring
  • The honeymoon
  • A gift for the bride
  • The marriage license
  • Gifts for his groomsmen/ushers/ring bearer
  • Accommodation for out-of-town groomsmen/ushers
  • The bride’s bouquet
  • The bride’s going-away corsage
  • Corsages for mothers and/or other special ladies
  • The boutonnieres for men in the wedding party
  • The gloves, ties and accessories for the men in the wedding party
  • Fee for clergyperson or judge

Wedding etiquette suggests the groom’s family pays for:
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • A gift for the newlyweds

Wedding etiquette suggests the bride's family pays for:
  • The costs of the reception
  • The bride's attire/trousseau
  • Invitations, announcements, thank you notes (including mailing costs)
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Ceremony costs
  • Transportation for bridal party from ceremony to reception
  • All gratuities for all services: parking, security, etc.
  • Bridesmaid luncheon

Wedding etiquette suggests the attendants pay for:
  • Their attire including accessories
  • Travel expenses
  • A gift for newlyweds

What Are the Maid/Matron of Honor’s Responsibilities?

It is very important that the bride choose someone very responsible and dependable to be her maid/matron of honor (MOH), such as a sister or close friend. According to wedding etiquette, it is perfectly acceptable to have both a maid of honor (not married) and a matron of honor (married) if you so choose.

The Planning Stages:

The MOH can be very helpful to the bride in planning and taking care of some details in advance. If she lives nearby, she might help address invitations, keep track of gifts received and thank you notes sent out, and make favors or table decorations. The MOH also helps the bride coordinate fittings for the bridesmaids’ dresses and gets fitted for her own dress. She also attends the engagement party and other pre-wedding parties, including the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The MOH is also responsible for throwing a bridal shower for the bride. Proper wedding etiquette suggest that the other bridesmaids can help with this task.

At the Ceremony:

The day of the wedding, the MOH has the important job of helping the bride and keeping her calm and relaxed. She helps the bride get dressed for the big day. During the ceremony, she will help with the train and the veil and holds the bride’s bouquet. The MOH is responsible for holding the groom’s ring (usually wearing it on her thumb) until it is time for the bride to slip it on the groom’s finger during the exchange of the rings.

Following wedding etiquette, the MOH should have an “emergency kit” handy with a needle and thread, mints, lipstick, tissues, extra nylons, and anything else the bride might need at a moment’s notice during the big day. The MOH walks in front of the bride (but before the flower girls) in the processional, stands near the bride at the altar, and walks with the best man in the recessional. She makes sure that all the bride’s make-up, clothes, and personal belongings are taken from the site where she got dressed to the place where she and the groom will spend their wedding night. The MOH also helps get the bridesmaids lined up and ready for pictures following the ceremony.

At the Reception:

If there is a receiving line, the MOH stands next to the best man. She also sits at the head table with the bride and groom and the rest of the wedding party. At the reception, the MOH is also responsible for mingling with guests and dancing with the best man. She tends to the bride, and ensures that the bride’s train is bustled, if necessary. The MOH can also help the bride gather single women for the tossing of the bouquet. This is in accordance with proper wedding etiquette. She might also help the bride dress for the “get away” and make sure that the bride’s dress, flowers, and other belongings are returned to her home. Upon the bride’s request, the MOH may also take the bride’s bouquet to be preserved and wedding dress to be cleaned or heirloomed while the bride is away on her honeymoon.

Expenses for the Maid/Matron of Honor:

The MOH pays for her own dress and accessories. The MOH may attend several pre-wedding parties and/or showers, however only one shower gift and one wedding gift is necessary. While the MOH is responsible for hosting a bridal shower for the bride, she may share the cost of the shower with the bridesmaids.

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