If you’re planning a wedding — or not — then you know there are rules for just about everything. (Don’t think this is a serious issue for some people? Check out the Emily Post Institute; it’s pretty much a “civility barometer” for American society.) In some places, tradition and etiquette are defined as “socially correct behavior,” and it’s this definition that tends to make brides and grooms nervous. So, let me put your mind at ease: a wedding reception is a party and you’re the ones setting the rules! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with following tradition… but who says who can’t have a little fun (and be creative) when you do it? Consider the rules of etiquette as a guide, and you’ll make the most of the past — while adding your own rules to the mix.
Courtney asks:“About the processional: Is there any set way of having female guests escorted down the aisle to be seated? Which side does the father of the bride stand when he walks her down the aisle? When the bridesmaids are walking during the recessional, do they hold on to their escorts’ right — or left — arm?”
Dear Courtney: Traditionally when each female guest arrives (alone or not), an usher greets her, extends his right arm, and escorts her to her seat. If she is with her spouse or arrived with a date, her man follows behind. (By the way, if a male guest arrives alone — without a female guest — he should walk on the usher’s right side. If a male guest has a disability, the usher does not offer his arm.)
Now, for the bride: She’s usually escorted on her father’s (or other person’s) left side. The usher gives the bridesmaid his right arm.
Keep in mind that these strict of rules of etiquette are getting “softer.” The goal that should never be changed or forgotten is to make everyone at your wedding as happy and comfy as possible. The more planning you do in advance (and the better organized you are), the smoother your wedding day will run.
Readers, how did you “walk the walk?” Check out this video of one of my favorite wedding entrances of the year — priceless.