Sometimes etiquette rules for weddings can be a bit difficult to adhere to in today’s social situations. In this article, I will explain why sometimes it’s okay to make modifications or changes.
There was a time when both Matthew and I were preparing a wedding party, and the father of the bride and his daughter were about to walk down the aisle. As the doors closed after the maid of honor began making her way to the altar it was time to get the bride and her father into position to open the doors for the big moment. As I was smoothing out the hem of the skirt I looked up and realized they were on the wrong side! The father needed to be on stage right and the bride on stage left. It was also at this time I realized I was caught right in the middle of their Father-Daughter moment…Oh My God, how do I do this? There was no other way and quickly I said, “You are on the wrong sides – switch!” In the end, before the doors opened we were all laughing – a stress reliever to say the least and all was good for them to ascend the aisle.
So in planning a wedding, couples always have questions about what are the correct etiquette rules for different aspects of the wedding ceremony and reception. We have a saying, “As long as you know the rules you can change them with caution to navigate certain situations.”
Here are two frequently asked questions of “when and how do we do this” during the wedding.
Which side am I on?
The rule for what side the bride and her father stand on go WAY BACK in time where the reason the bride was on her father’s left arm was in case someone tried to steal the bride his right hand was free to grasp his sword to defend her. Today, we still see the same time-honored tradition but I actually like to do the reverse – and the part that allows me to change this is that I don’t think today too many fathers are walking their daughter down the aisle carrying a sword. The main reason to switch sides from the traditional American way is about an easy transition for the father of the bride. This allows him to step back after giving his daughter away and step into the pew or the row of chairs. This helps with the long train and long veil as we have all seen the moment when the father of the bride steps on the bride’s train or veil and her head jerks back as she goes to move toward the groom for their vows.
When should we cut the cake?
The order of the reception is always a question and what to do with the cocktail hour when to plan the cutting the cake along with the welcome speech and the blessing. Usually, the cake cutting is done in private with the photographer coming up to you saying – we need to cut the cake. Wow! Let’s make this an experience for everyone to be a part of and enjoy! There are a couple of ways to do this.
- During the cocktail reception have the cake be the center of attention – after you, of course, as a couple. When it’s time to cut the cake make an announcement for everyone to gather around and take part in the cake cutting. You can vocally gather their attention or you can use chimes, etc. Once the cake is cut it can be removed from the area when your guests go into the reception area for the dinner.
- If you would like to have your cake cut during the reception/dinner timeframe here is what I recommend. When the wedding party is announced for their procession into the reception they should take their seats. When you are introduced have the cake carried in on a silver tray by two chefs or wait staff. Or you can have the cake displayed on a cloth-covered table in the center of the room or dancefloor. If the cake is being carried in, the chefs or wait staff should follow behind you. When you arrive at the center of the room the welcome speech should be given and the cake cutting should follow with a champagne toast by the groom to the bride as their new life together begins. This can be followed by the introduction of the blessing and dinner can be served while the cake is removed from the room.
It just goes to show you that you can have your cake and eat it too!