10 wedding etiquette rules you didn't even know existed

Etiquette pros Debrett's share their expertise

After months or maybe even years of wedding planning, brides and grooms expect to relax and enjoy their big day – but did you know there are a minefield of traditions, customs and rules to navigate?

MORE: 5 things you need to know about renewing your wedding vows

From the reason the top tier of your wedding cake should never be eaten to why your groom shouldn't lift his bride's veil, we've turned to the etiquette experts Debrett's, who have been teaching social manners for 250 years, to brush up on our knowledge. Keep scrolling to see the 10 traditional wedding etiquette rules you probably know nothing about…

Loading the player...

WATCH: The magical moment that Meghan Markle is reunited with her wedding dress

1. The groom should pay for the flowers

It is custom for the groom to foot the bill for bouquets and buttonholes, though many modern brides choose to handle all of the flowers.

Bridal bouquet, £134, Amarante London


2. The mother of the bride should be the last guest to enter the church

Just before the bride arrives, the mother of the bride should be accompanied to her seat on the arm of the chief usher.

3. The bride should stand to the left of the groom during the ceremony

This very specific arrangement which has now become commonplace was originally to leave the groom's right sword-hand free.

SHOP: 10 discounted wedding dresses in the January sales

READ: Wedding terminology A-Z: The lingo you need to know before your big day

4. The groom shouldn't lift the bride's veil

Traditionally, it is the mother of the bride or chief bridesmaid who lifts back the bride’s veil during the first hymn.

5. The in-laws switch partners after the ceremony

The father of the bride should escort the groom’s mother out of the church at the end of the ceremony, and the bride’s mother will then be escorted by the groom’s father.

There is a special rule when it comes to the removal of wedding hats

6. Wedding guests can only remove their hats after the mother of the bride has done so

If wearing formal headwear, any female wedding guests should wait until the mother of the bride has removed hers before following suit.

7. The groom is responsible for buying thank you presents

The groom should arrange gifts for the bridesmaids, pageboys, best man and ushers. Traditionally, the mothers should also receive a bouquet or present.

RELATED: 17 winter wedding guest outfit ideas you're going to absolutely love

READ: 9 fascinating rules royal brides must follow

8. The bride should write the thank you cards

Traditionally, the bride should oversee the writing of thank you letters when the couple return from their honeymoon.

Wedding thank you cards, £27.50 for 10, Papier


9. The bride should cut the cake

Although couples cut the cake together, it is customary for the bride's hand to be on the bottom so she is initiating the cut – as it used to be believed that this would ensure the marriage would be blessed by children.

Will you be cutting your cake the traditional way?

10. The top tier of the wedding cake should not be eaten

This is a rule that many people still stick to today, as they keep the top tier for the christening of their first child.

Planning your wedding? Sign up to HELLO!'s brand new Bride Guide newsletter for expert advice, budget help, wedding inspiration and real life stories delivered straight to your inbox.

HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.