It’s 2015, does Traditional Wedding Etiquette still apply?

The short answer is, no. Unless, of course, you want it to. The great thing about your wedding, is that it’s your wedding. Plan it how you will. But if you are concerned about the traditions, there are a few ways that they have changed—especially when it comes to same-sex marriage.

For example, who proposes to who? Traditionally, men proposed to women. But that’s no longer always true. And in gay marriages, there’s even more flexibility. Sometimes, it will occur to one partner before the other and they will go for the surprise. Sometimes, it’s a discussion between the two, and sometimes, both partners surprise each other at different times. Isn’t love grand?

And what about asking a father (or family) permission for the hand of your beloved?  This is a bit of an antiquated rule and by no means necessary. If you share a strong relationship with your partner’s family, this traditional task can be done out of respect to her family, but it is usually only done by younger couples.

Who pays for it? It used to be the Bride’s family that dug deep into their pockets. In modern times (whether hetero or not) it’s typically whoever can afford it. Usually, the couple’s themselves, but often it can be a collaborative effort between the families.

Do you need to invite every family member even if they don’t agree with your choice of partner? If you’re paying for the wedding yourself, the answer is a simple and resounding, no. If your parents are contributing to the costs and your dad’s sister’s husband is an unfriendly so-and-so who disapproves of your choices, then things get stickier. Ideally, the only people you want invited to your wedding are the ones that you will throw your arms around and kiss noisily in a receiving line. Anyone else just shouldn’t be there.


Photo credit: Josh Goleman Via Emmaline Bride

Who walks who down the aisle? For two brides, most decide to have two aisles from opposite directions and walk toward each other at the same time. For two grooms,  they tend to march down a central aisle holding hands. But really, the options are only as limited as your comfort levels. If you want to swing in on a trapeze above your guests in a bridal leotard, who’s stopping you?

Which side does the family sit on? Easy, two brides = no sides. Two grooms? Well, the same applies, only it doesn’t rhyme as nicely. It’s a joyful, celebratory, sit-where-you-want-to-sit kind of day.

Who gives the speeches at the reception? Traditionally, these were limited to the father of the bride and the best man. But it’s been a long time since that rule has been enforced. Everyone seems to want a little air-time these days to simultaneously boast and embarrass you. The terms groomsmen and bridesmaids aren’t really used anymore either, it’s all just the wedding party now. Invite whoever you would like to hear from—both fathers, both mothers, a concise wedding party spokesperson and perhaps drunk Uncle Eddie and his cat, Tinkles. Whoever you invite, keep them to a minimum so the real party can begin.


Photo Courtesy of Kelly Prizel Photography

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