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Etiquette, Protocol and Wedding History

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Etiquette Protocol Wedding History


The proper etiquette for informing friends and guests about your registry is to ask your bridesmaids, mothers and relatives to spread the word.   Is is proper to include the phrase "Registered at__________" on your shower invitations and any communications regarding the wedding other than the wedding invitation.  It is NOT proper to include registry information with your wedding invitations.
The wedding ring must not be put above the engagement ring.  The wedding band is worn at the base of the finger.  On her wedding day a bride either leaves her engagement ring at home when she goes to the church or she wears it on her right hand.  Afterwards she wears it above her wedding ring.
The bride is on her fathers (or whoever escorts her) left arm coming down the aisle.  She does take her place at the grooms left during the ceremony, but when she comes back down the aisle she is then on her husbands right arm.  She always stands to his right at the reception.
It is the duty of the ushers to show all guests to their places.  An usher offers his right arm to each lady as she arrives, whether he knows her personally or not.  He asks of their preference of seating, the bride's side or the groom's side.   Members of the two families and a few most interested friends are seated in the front reserved pews.  All of the other guests are seated according to the general rule of first come first served.   It would be most helpful to have someone in the vestibule to identify family members and point these out to the ushers so that the proper seating is achieved. 
The groom's mother is escorted up the aisle on the arm of an usher, usually the head usher,with the groom's father following behind.  They are seated in the second pew on the right. The first pew remains empty.  The bride's mother is then escorted to her seat. (second pew on the left).  No person should be seated after the entrance of the mother of the bride.
Whichever the direction of the receiving line, the bride always stands to her husband's right.  There is no rule as to whether the bride or groom is greeted first.
The maid of honor stands at the right of the bride.  (receiving line).  Usually the bridesmaids stand at the right of the maid of honor, but can be split with half standing to the left of the groom.
The Brides Parents Table.  The groom's mother sits on the right of the bride's father, and opposite them the groom's father next to the mother of the bride.  The other places at the table are occupied by distinguished guests including the clergyman who performed the ceremony and, if married, his wife.   He is seated at the left of the hostess and she at the bride's father's left.   Otherwise only especially intimate friends of the bride's parents are invited to this table.
If the reception is to be held away from the church, the best man sees the bride and groom into their vehicle.
The Second Marriage.  The fact that a bridegroom has been married previously has no bearing on the wedding preparations which may be made by his maiden bride.  More information and etiquette on this subject at Getting Remarried.Com
The Marriage of a Widow differs from that of a maid in that she cannot wear a bridal veil, orange blossoms, or a myrtle wreath, which are emblems of virginity; nor does she have bridesmaids, though she may have a maid or matron of honor.  She may if she chooses, wear all white.  When she becomes engaged, she should either remove or transfer her first wedding and engagement rings to the third finger of her right hand.  Both of these rings are removed before the second marriage.  In time, with no objection from her new husband, she may wear the first engagement ring  on her right hand.
The Marriage of a Divorcee.  Whether or not a divorcee may be married in her church depends upon the circumstances of her divorce and the approval of her clergyman.  She may not wear a typical white bridal dress and veil.  If she prefers to wear white, it should be a simple street length style.   Otherwise she chooses any style of dress she prefers.  Engraved invitations are not in good taste, handwritten notes are best.
The Double Wedding.  At a double wedding, the two bridegrooms follow the clergyman and stand side by side, each with his best man behind him;  the groom of the older sister nearer the aisle.  Then come the bridesmaids of the older sister followed by her maid of honor.  The older sister follows on her father's arm.  Then come the bridesmaids of the younger sister, her maid of honor and last the younger bride on the arm of a brother, uncle, or nearest male relative.  The first couple ascend the chancel steps and take their places at the left side side of the altar rail, leaving room at the right side for the younger bride and her bridegroom.  The father stands just below his oldest daughter.  The brother takes his place in the first pew.  The ceremony is a double one, read to both couples, with particular responses made twice.  The father gives both brides away, the older daughter first, then the youngest.  He then takes his place in the first pew beside his wife.  At the end of the ceremony, the older sister and her husband goes down the aisle first, then the younger couple.  The bridesmaids of the older are followed by the younger.
Seating parents at a double wedding.  One difficulty of a double wedding is the seating of the parents of the two bridegrooms, who must either share the first pew or draw lots for the occupation of first or second - which questions they must decide for themselves.  Occasionally the brides are cousins, in which case the front pew on the bride's side must be shared by both mothers, the older sister,or sister-in-law,being given the aisle seat.
More than One Maid and/or Matron of Honor. Some brides have two or three close friends or sisters and want to include all of them.   List them in your wedding program and the reason why you selected them.  The best man can escort both on the recessional, one on each arm.
The following subject on divorces amoung parents of the couple are etiquette guidelines and need not be followed to the letter.
When Divorced Parents are Friendly.  If a friendly relationship has been possible, not only the parents but also the step-parents are present at the church and even possibly at the reception.  The one unbreakable tabu remaining is the sending of one wedding invitation by the divorced parents together.
When They are Not Friendly.  There is perhaps no situation which brings distress as the wedding of a daughter whose parents are divorced and bitterness prevails.  It is especially unhappy for the bride who loves both parents and their families.  Yet the wedding of their daughter must be given by her mother.  Her father rides with her to the church, if driven by limousine, walks her down the aisle and shares briefly in the ceremony.  After giving her away, he takes his place in one of the farther-back pews behind his x-wife.  But he does not attend the reception given by his x-wife and possibly her present husband.  It is also very probable that no member of his family including the grandparents, aunts or uncles of the bride do not even get to go to the church. 
If The Wedding Is Given By The Bride's Father.   In the few instances where the daughter has chosen to live with her father instead of her mother the wedding is given by her father and stepmother if remarried.  The second wife does not go to the church and the bride's mother does not go to the reception.   The bride's own mother sits in the second pew with members of her family, but not her second husband.  The bride's father sits in a farther-back pew after giving her away.
Seating Divorced Parents of The Bridegroom.   Even if they have remained on friendly terms it would be in very bad taste to seat any divorced parents together.  His mother and whoever she would like to have with her should be given the second pew on the bridegroom's side of the church, and the father and others of his family seated in the third pew behind.  At a large reception their presence need not be conspicuous nor make anyone uncomfortable.  However, if the groom's mother is to receive with the bride's mother, she and her ex-husband and his wife can avoid meeting only by having a tall member of the bride's family wait purposely to go ahead of the groom's father and stepmother, and by his talking to the groom's mother form a barrier while the others greet the hostess.  After this, they are free to greet the bridal party and stand somewhere beyond this line to receive their own friends
Handling broken engagements and cancelled weddings.
If the engagement has not been announced, the word is simply passed to friends who will tell others. 
If the engagement has been announced in the papers, an announcement of the broken engagement is in order.
If the wedding invitations have been sent, a printed announcement is now in order.  If the engagement is broken just a few days before the wedding, phone calls may have to be made.
Postponing a wedding due to a death in the family or illness.  Notify guests as soon as possible.  Reservations will have to be cancelled and rescheduled.  For a postponement, an explanation is proper.  In the case of an cancellation, it is not required.
Suggested examples of printed announcments and more on this subject can be viewed at   Wedding-Favors-etc.com


THE GROOMSMEN expenses are;  Their tuxedo rental; If from out of town, the transportation costs to the wedding; A gift for the bride and groom, and a bachelor party.
THE GROOM'S expenses are;  The engagement ring and wedding band;  The marriage license fees;  The clergy's fees;  The bride's bouquet and going away corsage;  Corsages for both mothers;  Boutonnieres for himself, the ushers and best man;  The Limousine service;  Honeymoon arrangements;  Accomodations for the groom's attendants, and gifts for the groomsmen.
THE GROOM'S FAMILY expenses are;  The rehearsal dinner;  A gift for the bride and groom;  The wedding favors;  The rice bags;  Father of the Groom formal wear;  Their own travel and accomodation expenses, and any other expenses they wish to assume.
THE BRIDE'S expenses are;  Her gift to the groom;   The groom's wedding band;  Accomodations for bridal attendants, and gifts for bridal attendants.
THE BRIDE'S FAMILY expenses are;  The bride's wedding gown and accessories;  The wedding flowers except the bride's bouquet;  All the decorating costs (which includes the florals for the wedding PLUS bridesmaids and flower-girl bouquets; Father of the bride formal wear;  Stationery;  Photography and videography;  Music for the ceremony and reception;  The cake;  Reception costs;  Rental Fees on equipment; Transportation for the bridal party to the ceremony and reception, and a gift for the bride and groom.
THE MAID/MATRON of  HONOR expenses are;  Her gown.
THE BEST MAN expenses are;  His formal wear.
THE BRIDESMAIDS expenses are;  Their gown and accessories;  If from out of town, their transportation costs to the wedding;  A gift for the bride and groom, and a shower / or bachelorette party for the bride.
The duties of the groomsmen are to help the groom with small tasks;  help with the bachelor party;  act as ushers at the ceremony, and decorate the getaway vehicle.
The duties of the best man are to plan the bachelor party;  arranges grooms transportation to the ceremony and to the reception;   makes sure the groom arrives at the church on time;  keeps the bride's ring, marriage license, and the clergy's fee;  offers the first toast at the reception and collects and returns the groom's formalwear.  His official position is a cross between trained nurse, valet, general manager, and keeper.
The duties of the maid or matron of honor are to assist in the selection of attendants gowns;  assist in addressing the invitations;   plan a wedding shower;  help you dress for the wedding;  holds your bouquet during the ceremony;  offers a toast to the bride and groom;  and collects your gown and accessories for delivery to the cleaner and preserver.  Her place in the receiving line is next to the groom.
The duties of the bridesmaids are to help with the invitations;  attend showers and parties;  circulate amoung guests at the reception and help decorate the getaway vehicle

Wedding History

         History of Wedding Courtship & Marriage
Marriage by Capture..................A man just dragged his selected bride away,  she was expected to resist enough to show self esteem.
Kidnapping and Elopement.........The couple ran away and the family followed in pursuit.  If the couple hid long enough or if the bride gets pregnant by the time the family finds them, they were considered married.
Marriage by Arrangement...........Marriages were arranged between families for economic and political reasons  (merger of wealth or property or to expand empires).
Mail order Brides..........................Usually for emigration purposes.
The Dowry...................................The brides esteem was weighed by the land, money or goods she represented.  The dowry was to ensure the bride could get along without her husband if need be.
Match makers...............................Starting out as Bride-Price-Dowry negotiations, evolving to arranging meetings and now to computer dating services.
If you are unsure what the appropriate amount to pay your clergy should be, talk to the church secretary and ask for an acceptable range.