Learning more about wedding customs and etiquette is always a smart idea – whether you’re planning your own wedding, or attending a friend or family member’s celebration, there are always lots of little details to consider.
In the realm of wedding planning, traditions and rituals are extremely important. A perfect wedding is all about manners, elegance, rituals, spirituality, and grace…
To help you understand the history of wedding customs (and how to follow ideal wedding etiquette), we’ve put together a fun guide filled with practical facts you’ll really enjoy reading.
From quirky and fascinating rituals around the globe, to the correct way of giving a wedding gift…we’ve covered all of the bases! Here’s our look at wedding customs and etiquette:
Traditions and Customs Vary Widely From Country To Country…
Exchanging Claddagh rings is at the heart and soul of Irish wedding tradition – each ring features a distinctive crowned-heart-and-hands motif…one that symbolizes giving, true love, and romantic loyalty.
For hundreds of years, Irish couples have exchanged these lovely rings in lieu of plain gold wedding bands.
Often, the rings are later passed down to the couple’s children, for use at their own wedding ceremonies.
Today, many Irish-American brides enjoy honoring their Irish heritage with Claddagh engagement rings. These white gold, yellow gold, or silver designs often feature gemstone accents, or heart-shaped solitaire diamond centers.
Long engagements are common in all of the Scandinavian countries. Marriage is considered a lifelong pact…one that is filled with meaning and gravity.
In Denmark, a wedding day is honored through traditions that date back hundreds of years. One of the most interesting Danish rituals is the practice of building an arch at the bride-to-be’s home…this is created from pine fronds.
Known as the Gates of Honor, these pine branches are believed to bestow good luck on the bride-to-be as she enters into marriage.
Thirteen gold coins are given to the bride by her groom during their wedding day…these precious coins are then anointed by a priest.
After the priest’s blessing is complete, the lucky coins are sacred, and they represent the groom’s commitment to his new wife…they are symbols of his desire to care for her and provide for her always…
Wedding Etiquette – A Quick Primer
Pay For Postage On RSVP Wedding Invitations – It’s very poor etiquette to send out RSVP wedding invitations without affixing return postage.
People will also be much more likely to respond quickly if you save them the trouble of hunting around for a stamp, or making a special trip to the post office to affix proper postage.
They’ll be able to drop their RSVP into any nearby mailbox when you follow proper wedding etiquette by attaching stamps in advance.
Be sure to send even your closest family members proper invitations – these are considered keepsakes by many.
How To Gift
If you’ve mailed a present before the ceremony, but you aren’t sure whether or not it’s arrived on time (as planned), it’s perfectly OK to come to the ceremony “empty-handed”.
If you can, simply let the bride or groom know that your gift was mailed. You don’t need to buy another present to take with you!
Thank You Cards
If you’re sending thank you cards, do it as soon as humanly possible…these cards reassure your guests that their gifts were received (and appreciated!). Make these thank you cards a priority as soon as you return from your honeymoon. Try to add in some personal details about the gift and why you love it!
If you’re waiting for a thank you card, hold off for a couple of months before you ask the bride or groom what they thought about your gift. Weddings create a lot of pleasant upheaval – give the bride and groom a little time to adjust and get organized.
Overall, mentioning wedding gifts after the big day is frowned upon – you should quietly wait for your thank you card, and they should send one promptly. This system works perfectly when both sides follow the rules.