We have often heard distressed exclamations from our couples like,
“I just don’t know what tradition is!”
or “I’m afraid of doing it wrong.”
or “I don’t want to offend anyone.”
We have come to realize that this all touches on thoughts of etiquette. The crazy thing about etiquette is that it is both constantly evolving and maintaining long standing traditions. So we decided to create a series of blogs about some of the more complex, or sticky, areas of etiquette worry. In this one we focus on ideas of budget etiquette and how to best navigate those conversations.
As you get closer and closer to the wedding date you have been planning and waiting for, you begin thinking about the logistics of the ceremony itself. So many well-meaning family members and friends have all the advice or opinions on how it should go down. Like all education from Infinity Events, however, much of this goes back to making it perfect for YOU! Let’s go through 5 of the most commonly discussed topics when it comes to etiquette and expectations during the ceremony.
- The Processional Order
Traditionally speaking, a great way to remember the order of the processional is “everything leads to the bride”. What this means is that since the bride is the last one to walk down the aisle, then the order of processional should follow suit. The typical order looks like this; his grandparents, her grandparents, his parents, her parents, etc. This is also a basic explanation as to why the bride’s party proceeds right before she does.
However, we all know that couples aren’t always made up of only a bride and a groom. And many of our couples find the concept of it being all about one individual just inaccurate. We can’t say that we disagree! With Infinity Events, we try and help each couple find unique ways to celebrate each individual, as well as the two together. That being said, our job as planners is to walk each couple through tradition and etiquette, then talk through how to make it their own. That is the fun part: the celebration of individuality!
We have seen processional order done in a million ways and love it! Make sure to talk it over with your wedding planner to make sure that the logistics line up with the vision you have for your wedding ceremony!
2. The Wedding Party Order
We cannot tell you how many times we have a couple in front us trying to remember each person’s height in their wedding party! You guys, we are here to tell you that height is not what matters here! Yes, when seen in photos, lining your party up by height can be appealing, but (something we say a lot to our couples) the ceremony is all about HEART! You spend so much time, money, and energy making sure that the day runs smoothly. You want to make sure the day is beautiful, and entertains your guests, but the wedding ceremony has one singular focus: the commitment that these two people are making and the promise of love forever. Sappy, but 10000% true! With that in mind, we believe that the order of each wedding party should strictly be who you want closest to you while experiencing this incredible moment. Period. (Trust us, the only people who know the reason are you and your planner!) If every one of your party members are exactly the same in your heart, then height can be a great tie breaker!
3. The Processional Music
So many couples come to us thinking there is an expectation with ceremony music. The reality is that there really isn’t! Sometimes it can be a bit odd if the tempo is faster than what the processional is expecting, but even that only comes down to communication. I have even had a wedding party process to Caribbean drums before, and it was fabulous!
We like to encourage two things when it comes to processional music: to choose meaningful music and to allow the guests to actually hear the music. Let’s elaborate. Meaningful music is music that will enhance the memory of your wedding. A song that when heard 10 years from now, will bring you back to that beautiful moment in your life. Sometimes it is the song you saw on a movie and always pictured yourself walking down the aisle to, and sometimes it’s a song that was playing in the background on your first date. There is no wrong answer! You can even check online or with your entertainment provider about adjusting your song choice to instrumentals only or even a slower tempo! We once had a TI song changed into a ballad for the first dance, so we promise it can be done! Talk with your wedding planner if you want some ideas or need some help communicating your needs to an entertainment provider.
The other thing we ask for our couples to consider is allowing time for each song to be heard. The consideration here is how many people are proceeding. If you have 2 sets of parents and 1 grandparent proceeding, and have 2 songs for this, your guests are only going to hear about 15 seconds of each song. We would suggest having only one song in this scenario for both grandparents and parents. Sometimes couples choose a song they LOVE and have the whole processional walk to it. That works too, and it certainly makes that song memorable for the couple for years to come.
Out last little bit of advice is to check with family members and see if a specific song is a tradition in your family. Consider this with your fiancé, and make the choice that is right for you!
Traditionally, ushers are male members of the couple’s family or circle of friends whose job is to escort the guests to their seats for the wedding ceremony. This practice, for the most part, is a bit antiquated, and we don’t see it done often in our region. What we do see, however, are ushers who are there to help the flow of people as they arrive to the wedding ceremony. We call them “The Loitering Police”. With Infinity Events, we talk to the ushers (if the couple chooses to have them) about the etiquette involved in escorting a woman alone, a couple, or even a group. We talk to them about how to help move the guests from the entrance area to the ceremony seats, which helps us begin on time.
Ushers are in no way a requirement for weddings anymore, but if you have a few family members or friends who need a job or a place of honor as a part of the wedding, this is a great one for them!
5. A Break in Between
Y’all, we hear this question a lot, “What if we do the ceremony at like 2:00 pm and the reception at 7:00 pm, would that work?” Here’s the thing, you have a few aspects to consider: culture, communication, and of course, etiquette! Let’s start from the top.
There are several religious groups and cultures where a break between ceremony and reception is expected and fairly common. For example, due mass times on Saturdays, this is fairly common for catholic weddings. If both families are catholic, this is a cultural expectation for the majority of the guests. Still, there will likely be people among your guests who are not accustomed to this, which brings us to the MOST IMPORTANT factor here, communication.
Let’s explain what will happen inevitably if you don’t communicate this break. Several guests will show up at the reception venue hours before the event starts. Most vendors are still putting the reception together at this point. This can come across to your guests as rude because they wont be allowed in while the set up is happening. It also steals some of the magic by allowing a guest to see the not-so-pretty part of putting an event together. Instead, if you communicate the break in every way possible, you allow your guests to be productive in their own way during this time. We have some clients who will give the guests suggestions on ways they can spend the time between the events. They sometimes have VIP party or family members at those suggested spots so that it feels like there is no break in the event at all. Though not all couples choose this route, the key to it all in communication in whatever you choose.
We completely understand how daunting it can be when everyone around you seems to have their own opinion about how the ceremony should go. Talk with your Certified Wedding Planner about what speaks to you and your partner.
The Infinity Events Team