The home of UK weddings

09 June 2014

The Big Day

When it comes to arranging the big day, many brides-to-be will find themselves deluged with a flood of well-meaning advice from others about the do's and don'ts of a successful wedding. Whilst there are many myths that brides are supposed to stick to, in reality, breaking with traditions really won't make any difference to the wedding, especially if the alternative is likely to cause offence.

Keeping the Peace

One age-old custom is for both of the parents of the happy couple to sit together in the front row but what happens when there has been an acrimonious divorce? Traditions don't take into account personal circumstances and if your mum and your dad can't bear the sight of each other, making them sit next to each other could be a ticking time bomb. Tradition also dictates that the bride's family will cough up for the whole affair but again, in reality, this is pretty unlikely. Parents of both the bride and groom will undoubtedly want to contribute what they can but expecting parents to pile up the debts just to pay for their daughter's wedding seems a bit unfair to say the least. The father of the bride has another role traditionally, walking his daughter down the aisle and officially giving her away. Whilst this is still fairly commonplace, if your father is either unable, unwilling or circumstances simply dictate that you don't want him to be the one to walk beside you, there's nothing to stop you picking the person of your choice. The replacement doesn't have to be male either. Feel free to choose whomever you want. If you choose to walk up the aisle without accompaniment, that's fine too. There's no law that states you must be given away. How many people you select for your wedding party is also dictated by custom with equal numbers of ushers and bridesmaids being required. But this is nothing more than a ruse to get balanced looking photographs, so feel free to pick as many as you want. When it comes to post-ceremony customs, the speeches were traditionally held during coffee. However, this means that those making the public addresses had to sit through a nervy dinner before they could get their performance over and done with. For this reason, it is becoming increasingly popular for the speeches to be held prior to the dinner being served. It is also more common for the bride to stand up and say a few words, even though this is not part of the long-standing customs.

Table Manners

The seating plan is something that many family members can get hot under the collar about, with bragging rights about who gets to sit at the top table. It's customary to have the top table set along a long rectangle facing the room, as it makes delivering the speeches easier. When there are divorces or remarriages amongst parents it can be difficult to decide who gets to sit at the top table. If all parties can agree to behave, even if only for one day, feel free to sit stepparents at the top table too. If you think there will be tears before bedtime, replace them at the top table with other members of the wedding party or simply make the top table smaller. Your wedding day is all about getting married to the person you love and getting worked up over traditions and customs really won't make any difference in the long-term. Far better to do things your own way and ensure that everyone has a day that they can enjoy and remember for many years to come.

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