Wedding Planning

The New Wedding Etiquette

wedding etiquette

Have your day your way

Wedding traditions can and do change. So says Peggy Post, the great-granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post, today’s leading authority on etiquette and the author of a dozen books. Peggy provides enlightened solutions to wedding etiquette questions. Here are a few established wedding traditions that have taken on a fresh twist in recent years.

Old: The bride’s family pays for the wedding.

New: Today, just 27 per cent of weddings are paid for by the bride’s family. Even a simple affair can be a significant cost, so it’s not surprising that families attack this in different ways. The bride’s family may pay. The couple themselves may pay, or the groom’s family, the bride’s family and the couple may share expenses.

Old: There should be no more than six bridesmaids and six groomsmen.

New: You can have as many attendants as you want. There is no maximum and minimum. Even at a big, formal wedding, just one or two attendants on each side are acceptable. Because groomsmen/ushers have the responsibility of seating guests at the ceremony, the rule of thumb is one usher for every 50 guests; and it’s fine to have more ushers than bridesmaids.

Old: The bridal bouquet must be white or, at the very least, subdued.

New: Bouquets can be as beautiful and varied as the brides who carry them. Vibrant wildflowers, lavender roses that match the bridesmaids’ dresses ,the groom’s favourite flower — all are acceptable and wonderful. Brides, however, should consider guests who might have allergies to certain flowers.

Old: The mother of the groom shouldn’t choose her dress until the mother of the bride has chosen hers.

New: Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses her dress and then notifies the mother of the groom of its style and shade so that she can purchase a dress that complements but doesn’t exactly match the bride’s mother and attendants. Today, the mother of the groom should select an outfit that she feels beautiful and comfortable in and that is appropriate for the time of day and formality of the wedding. And if the bride’s mom hasn’t contacted the groom’s mom, it is perfectly fine for mom ‘o the groom to initiate that phone call to discuss dress details.

Old: Traditional household appliances and linens are the best wedding presents.

New: Any gift is fine, just choose thoughtfully. Some couples today have already combined households and may not need another blender, compact toaster oven or set of bath towels. Gift registries are now the norm, and they are handy for guests who may not know the couple as well as they might like. And don’t be surprised by a registry that may contain non-traditional items like chipping in on vacations and mortgage payments.

Old: Guests shouldn’t wear white or black to a wedding.

New: You can wear white as long as it doesn’t look like a wedding dress; it’s the bride’s day. If you wear black, it should look like you are attending a wedding, not a funeral. Also, consider time of day, location and any rules of attire specified by religion (for example, bare shoulders or too much cleavage or leg showing.)

Old: All guests should receive handwritten thank-you notes for their gifts.

New: Sorry, there’s no changing this one. All guests should receive handwritten thank-you notes for their gifts. Save the emails for lunch dates and business-related thank-yous.

Source: Courtesy of ARA Content,

*This article originally appeared in a print issue of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

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