Church Etiquette

The wedding day is here and let's review church etiquette so that we know the basics like ... what does everybody do during the ceremony? Who sits where? Who walks towards where and behind whom?

Here are some guidelines to follow:

1) Seating arrangements. The bride’s guests sit behind the bride, in other words, if the bride is at the left, her guests sit on the left benches. The groom’s guests sit on the right benches. (Note: Jewish weddings do the opposite, bride’s on the right side and groom’s on the left side.)

church etiquette, wedding ceremony etiquette, proper wedding etiquette, formal wedding etiquette2) Procession.

a. Groom and his mother (mother on the left, groom on the right)

b. Groomsmen

c. Bridesmaids

d. Maid of Honor

e. Flower girl and ring bearer

f. Bride with her father, with other escort, or by herself (bride on the left, father/escort on the right)

3) Recession.

a. Bride and groom

b. Flower girl and ring bearer

c. Best Man and Maid of Honor

d. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen in pairs

4) Veil. The Maid of Honor is in charge of keeping your veil in place and neat during the ceremony.

5) Engagement ring. There are two ways of dealing with the engagement ring during the ring exchange:

a. The ring stays on the left hand and the wedding band goes next to it. This indicates that the engagement came first and then the wedding. This is a very common practice in many cultures and countries.

b. The ring goes to the right hand, the wedding band goes to the left hand and then the engagement ring goes next to it. This indicates that the wedding band is closer to your heart. This is also a very common practice, especially in the United States.

c. Either way is fine. Do the one you feel more comfortable with.

church etiquette, wedding ceremony etiquette, proper wedding etiquette, formal wedding etiquette 6) Bouquet. You give it to the Maid of Honor after she fixes your veil at the beginning of the ceremony. She will give it back to you after you sign your Marriage Certificate.

7) Walking down the isle: father or stepfather. Your father is the one who should walk you down the isle. If he passed away or your relationship with him is not good, your brother can take his place. If neither your father nor your brother are available for any reason, your stepfather can walk you down the isle. Bottom line: your blood family should be considered first.

8) Horror! You forgot what you are supposed to do! Don’t worry. Relax. This is more common than you think. The minister or priest will tell you what to do, what to say and where to stand.

This is your moment. Don’t worry about anything else. Just…

Enjoy it!

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