UK Wedding Traditions and Etiquette
So from start to finish, here are some of the UK wedding traditions and etiquette you may like to be aware of for your wedding.:
M O N E Y
Traditionally the father of the bride (FOB) paid for the whole wedding. The tradition here is that the FOB 'gives his daughter away' to her new family. That is why the brides family traditionally paid for the wedding as they celebrate that.
It is now more common for the couple to put in the biggest contribution to the day and both sets of parents are likely to contribute as well.
I N V I T E S
This in some sense reverts back to money and who is hosting the wedding. If the Brides family are the hosts then the invite will be written on their behalf, inviting guests to celebrate their daughters wedding. If however the bride and groom are the hosts, then a more modern approach is suitable for inviting the guests. There are lots of different ways to write your invites depending on your family set up and approach.
But the tradition goes back to the brides parents inviting the guests.
Two other things to note in regards to traditional invite etiquette, is that it is deemed unsuitable for couples to ask for money or a gift list in their invitations. However there are now plenty of polite ways to inform your guests of your wishes.
The second tradition is that invites are not usually sent out until 8 weeks before the wedding date.
C E R E M O N Y
British tradition for the bride to walk down the aisle infant of her bridesmaids. It's in America for the bridesmaids to go first! However nowadays in the UK, brides do either.
As you probably know, the FOB 'gives the bride away'. He walks down the aisle with her and stands to her left.
R E C E I V I N G L I N E
A receiving line is where the couple plus their parents and perhaps the batsman and maid of honour all line up to welcome and thank their guests for coming. This either happens when their guests arrive at the wedding reception venue (if you've come from a separate venue for the ceremony) or as guests make their way into the wedding breakfast.
I think many guests are now choosing not to do this as it can take a really long time - allow 30 seconds per guest to make their way along the line! It adds up!
However I think it's important to thank your guests, which is why I always suggest an alternative to my clients, the Wedding Breakfast walk-around.
S P E E C H E S
In the UK it is tradition for the FOB, the groom and the best man to make a speech.
C A K E
This is a tradition that is pretty much present in every wedding. If you don't want cake but still want to do the tradition of 'cutting', then there's always the option of cheese or having a small cake to cut if you decide on having a dessert station.
The reason behind this tradition is because traditionally the cutting of the cake symbolises the first meal as husband and wife. The bride holds the knife and the groom should place his right hand on top of the brides to symbolise their life together. The cake is traditionally cut from the back of the bottom tier. The groom then proceeds to feed the bride a small slice and then vice versa.
It is also a tradition to save the smaller top tier to serve at your first child’s christening.
F I R S T D A N C E
Traditionally the first dance is had by the bride and groom. this is then followed by a dance with the bride and her father. This usually happens just after the cake cutting and happens at pretty much every wedding unless the couple aren't particularly keen dancers.
B O U Q U E T T O S S
So this tradition would have happened as the bride and groom were leaving the venue to go on their honeymoon and the guests would be left to party.
All the single women are usually gathered onto the dance floor and the bride throws the bouquet over her head to the group of single women. The saying is that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to get married.
However not all brides want to throw their bouquet as they may want to preserve it. So an alternative could be to use a smaller bouquet just for the toss.