When planning your wedding, there’s absolutely no need to turn into a bridezilla. Ranting, raving and generally misbehaving isn’t becoming to any bride. Accept every piece of advice—no matter how silly or offensive—with grace. Deal calmly with dress disasters and keep smiling when your future mother-in-law adds yet another obscure acquaintance to the guest list. A bride should never let her veneer of poise and elegance slip and spoil the day for herself or others. “Wedding etiquette is sometimes fraught with minefields,” says Jennie Hallam-Peel, chairman of The London Season and an expert in the art of manners. In fact, after receiving a high volume of emails from around the world asking for advice on the subject, Hallam-Peel is hosting a series of one-day wedding seminars at The Ritz London as part of The London Season’s series of high-society summer events. “A wedding ceremony is a tradition that has been followed for hundreds of years,” says Hallam-Peel. “The most common pitfalls couples fall into is when the bride and groom—and often both sets of parents—have differing ideas of formality and accepted social codes. It is vital that there is an open discussion of this as soon as possible after the engagement, and that a compromise is reached before matters become contentious. The wedding day should be as stress-free as possible and arrangements should be made—and agreed upon—to ensure that everyone is able to relax and enjoy it.”
After the Wedding
Honeymoon and thank-you letters
- “When the bride and groom leave the wedding, this is usually the sign that the wedding party is coming to a close,” says Hallam-Peel. “The problem of guests who linger after the party can be resolved by the bride’s mother thanking and saying goodbye to the remaining guests, who should realise that the evening is then at an end. Closing the bar usually helps.”
- Traditionally, honeymoons are decided upon by the groom and kept a secret. “He should choose a romantic destination, one which he feels his bride would love or incorporates a shared interest,” says Hallam-Peel.
- Every wedding present should be acknowledged with a thank-you card from the bride and groom. “Printed thank-you cards should be avoided,” says Hallam-Peel. “They are deeply impersonal and show no effort on behalf of the sender. A few lines written in your own hand is so very appreciated and is correct protocol.”
- Likewise, a short letter (rather than an email) to the church or civil ceremony venue is always appreciated.
- Reverting to normal life after the wedding and honeymoon—and getting back into the swing of work and responsibilities—can be difficult, notes Debrett’s. Catching up with friends and family for a review of the day, choosing wedding photographs and unpacking the wedding presents can all help ease newlyweds back into reality.
(Text by Elisabeth Galvin, Illustration by Angela Ho)