10 wedding etiquette rules you didn't even know existed

Etiquette pros Debrett's share their expertise

Rachel Avery

Weddings come with their fair share of traditions, customs and rules – and it can be a total minefield. The etiquette experts Debrett's have been teaching social manners for 250 years – and they've spoken exclusively to HELLO! Online to reveal 10 traditional wedding etiquette rules. From the reason the top tier of your wedding cake should never be eaten to why your groom shouldn't lift your veil, here are the long-standing rules you probably know nothing about…

READ: Clever ways to celebrate your would-be wedding date in lockdown

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.

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.


The groom should pay for the wedding flowers

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.

MORE: Stylish wedding face masks and coverings you'll say 'I do' to

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.

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.


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

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.

REVEALED: This COVID-19 bride's wedding day solution is genius

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 honeymoon.


Will you be cutting your cake the traditional way?

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.

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.

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.