Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mid-20th C. Wedding Etiquette

Statistics show you’re more likely to be bride, groom or wedding guest in June... the “month of marriages” than at any other time in the year. But how much do you know about wedding manners? 

Test your knowledge on the wedding etiquette questions below...

1. You arrive at the church after the mother of the bride has been seated. You should 
  • a) slip silently into the nearest pew. 
  • b) wait in the church vestibule until after the ceremony. 
  • c) take any free seat. 
2. As the usher escorts you to your seat, it is proper for you to 
  • a) maintain a dignified silence.
  • b) talk in a normal voice about anything that occurs to you.
  • c) exchange polite remarks with the usher in a low voice.
3. On the receiving line you pass by the bride. If you do not know her personally, you 
  • a) mumble “How do you do?” and move along quickly. 
  • b) wish her good luck and tell her she made a lovely bride. 
  • c) congratulate her. 
4. The two most popular pieces of music for weddings were originally 
  • a) a bridal chorus for a medieval knight and a wedding march for a fairy queen.
  • b) a church hymn and a march for an emperor’s procession. 
  • c) tunes composed especially for church weddings. 
5. Right after marriage, the bride is faced with a stack of thank-you notes to write. The proper thing is to 
  • a) write out each note, mentioning the gift and commenting on it. 
  • b) have thank-you notes engraved and simply mail them out. 
  • c) thank the giver in person or by phone. 
6. A family relative plans to photograph the ceremony. He should 
  • a) consult the bride's mother. 
  • b) go ahead on his own. 
  • c) ask the clergyman's permission. 
7. Your husband is an usher at the wedding, but you're not invited to sit at the bride's table. You should 
  • a) graciously be seated at a guest's table.
  • b) insist on sitting with your husband.
  • c) stalk out. 
8. The father of the bride feels he will look silly in a cutaway and refuses to join the groom in wearing one. The bride must 
  • a) humor Daddy, who, after all, pays for the wedding.
  • b) get him to compromise on a dark gray suit.
  • c) persuade him at all costs to wear the cutaway. 
9. The bride's parents must 
  • a) pay for both the bridesmaids’ and the maid of honor’s dresses.
  • b) pay only for the maid of honor's dress. 
  • c) let bridesmaids and maid of honor buy their own. 
10. Aunt Alice is invited to the wedding reception but will be unable to attend. She is 
  • a) obliged to send a gift. 
  • b) allowed to send one, but not obligated.
  • c) definitely not supposed to send one.


1. b). No one should be seated after the bride’s mother has begun to walk down the aisle. This would detract from her entrance, at the moment when she should be the focus of all attention. 

2. c). Although it looks stiff and unnatural to walk down the aisle like a statue, it is not seemly to begin a lively conversation in church. Your wisest course is to talk quietly about a general subject until you are seated. 

3. b). Even though you don't know the bride, you must say something more than “How do you do?” to her. But never congratulate her, since this implies that she has managed to win her husband when it should be the other way around. Etiquette says that only the groom may be congratulated. It's proper to wish the bride happiness. 

4. a). The traditional “Here Comes the Bride” originally was a bridal chorus in Wagner's opera, Lohengrin. The wedding march customarily used as a recessional is the “Fairy Queen's Wedding March” from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

5. a). It is considered impolite to send out engraved thank-you notes, and downright rude not to send any at all. People who go to the trouble of selecting a gift deserve to know that the bride has noticed it. 

6. c). Although the wishes of the bride and her mother should be respected, the clergyman’s wishes are “the court of last resort.” 

7. a). The bridal table is officially only for the bridal party and does not even include the parents of bride and groom. 

8. c). When the groom is dressed formally, the fathers of both bride and groom must follow suit. Daddy would look much sillier wearing any other suit than he will in his cutaway. 

9. c). If the bride’s parents are well-fixed, she may elect to pay for her attendants’ gowns but she is under no obligation to do so in any case. 

10. b). A guest who has been invited to the reception is expected to send a gift if he accepts the invitation. If he does not accept, he may send one or not, as he chooses. A guest who has been asked only to the church ceremony also may send a gift or not, at his own discretion. 


Eight or more right answers means that, so far as etiquette is concerned, you're well briefed for anybody's wedding even your own. 
Five to seven is just getting by. 
Less than five means you'd better hold back on wedding bells until you've consulted a good book of etiquette. 

– Parade Magazine, June 8, 1958

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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