5th Jun 2019 READ IT

Marie-Chantal’s Wedding Etiquette

Summer is finally here and on the first of July my husband and I will be celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary. Time has absolutely flown by and looking back and reminiscing about our wedding I thought I’d start to share some of my wedding photographs and stories. Most importantly I thought I’d start talking about wedding etiquette. What to do and what not to do.

My husband proposed secretly six months before we officially made it public. Once we made it official we had 6 months to find a church venue, a party venue and get started. By the time all family’s lists were complete we had 1400 guests to accommodate! Preparing for a wedding is quite an organizational feat and the bride and her family will put their heart and soul into making it a memorable occasion for everyone, so guests should really take that into consideration.

Once we were set on a date and had the church venue booked, we went about finding a wedding planner, I had to choose a dress and write down my dream wedding in order to properly plan. Themes, ideas and so on. My mother and I worked together from the start, she was amazing and was able to get things done correctly and efficiently as I had never thrown a proper party and she was the expert. One thing I was adamant on was having my dress made by Valentino, I adored his dresses from such an early age, we had become good friends and on top of it all he was just the best at Wedding dresses.

Then came figuring out the invitations. How to write them up, where to have them printed, what card stock to use? We had an artist, Florine Asch, illustrate the party invitations with a beautiful water color of the house venue. The actual wedding invitations were beautiful and quite formal, with my husband’s coat of arms embossed on the front of the card.

The guest list was so large that we all agreed it needed a team to plan accordingly. So, we had the late Robert Isabel be the creative head and lady Elizabeth Anson, the Queen’s cousin manage all logistics. We decided to host a smaller dinner and party on the Thursday and the wedding on a Saturday at 11am in Church, followed by a lunch. The ceremony was held at the Greek Orthodox Church in London, the service was under an hour long and the bride never sits down. I was well prepared.


The Big Day

A friend had told me to really, really focus on the day as it can be a bit of a blur for the bride, as so much effort goes into the big day. I was told to take a mental photograph, to blink as if I were taking photographs with my eyes and I promise you it really worked. I have snapshot memories of when I walked in, who I saw and even what some of my friends were wearing!

The day was amazing, my father walked me down the aisle, handed me to my future husband, he gave me a kiss, I curtseyed to my future in laws and off it went. Everything I had wished for happened. It was such a memorable time.

Here are some rules of etiquette around Weddings.

The most important rule when you receive a wedding invitation is to respond as soon as possible. Remember the bride and family have put their hearts into organizing this special moment so you should be as courteous to them as possible. Another good rule to know is that bringing a plus one or two isn’t polite unless you specifically ask and only if you are close enough to either the bride, groom or if you are family.

Fun fact: RSVP means Respondez s’il vous plait. Which translated means please reply in French. So, do so.

Dress code

On an invitation the bride will decide if it will be a formal or informal affair but the most important rule is that a guest can never wear white at a wedding. There is a picture of me attending a wedding on social media wearing a very pale blue dress that in pictures looks white. I was attacked by trolls saying how clueless I was. Trust me I know the rules and the dress was blue.

Another note to remember is a guest should never outshine the bride so dress according to what is stated on the invitation. English weddings in church tend to be more formal and a hat or a fascinator always adds a great touch and looks great.

One shouldn’t show too much skin when in church. I know it sounds old fashioned but it’s really a sign of respect in a place of worship.

Always be on time

Weddings are meticulously planned and the only person who can be late is the bride. It’s just plain rude to turn up half way through the ceremony or late to the reception.

Also, don’t skip the ceremony and attend the reception if you’ve responded yes. It makes it seem as if you just can’t be bothered and sets a bad example.

Reception line

It used to be tradition that the couple and their families would stand and receive their guests at the reception. I love a reception line as this would be your chance to congratulate the Bride and Groom but also to thank the families on this happy occasion. If this isn’t the case the Bride and Groom will circulate to say hello to their guests so don’t rush up to the main table, you’ll get your chance to say hello.

My husband and I had to say hello to all our guests and I must say, I remember being so exhausted that I didn’t think to hire a makeup artist to stay with me to do touch ups as I would have looked better as the day progressed. That’s a tip I would give to a future bride!

Social media and photographs

Etiquette and what is appropriate for social media use during a wedding is new and constantly changing. Most weddings and parties nowadays will mention in the wedding invite pack whether social media postings are allowed. I feel that most brides would prefer to edit their own photographs before making them public but that doesn’t mean that a group posting or a wedding hashtag cannot be shared. Usually the bride and groom will share what hashtag to use so that collectively people could share. However, I would always make sure to know whether one doesn’t offend by posting.


Please remember to switch off your phones too!