We’ve been asked about wedding etiquette a number of times now, so for those of you who aren’t sure which is your wedding finger, who goes up the aisle first, what responsibilities ushers, best men, best women and ring bearers have, this one’s for you.
Our same-sex wedding etiquette-in-brief.
Wedding Ring Finger
One of the most commonly googled questions about marriage has to be ‘which is your wedding finger’.
The answer lies in Roman tradition, which you can read here, but for those who want a quick answer, it’s the fourth finger on the left hand.
This does vary from culture to culture, but many Western cultures wear their wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand.
Aisle Etiquette: Who does what at your wedding
Traditionally close friends and family members were expected to play specific roles at the wedding ceremony and reception. We’ve cherry picked the most common (and potentially, most relevant) of these and listed each person’s traditional wedding duties:
Ushers tend to be close friends of either sex, but just what do ushers do? Usher duties can vary, but traditionally they are expected to arrive at the ceremony venue early and make sure everything is in place (including order of service, umbrellas etc). When guests arrive, the ushers hand out the orders of service and direct guests to their seats. When the ceremony is over, ushers can also help escort guests to their cars or any transport laid on by the couple to take guests to the reception venue. If it’s raining, ushers are the wedding heroes who escort guests to and from venue to car beneath the shelter of giant golfing umbrellas.
The Best Woman / Man Duties
Best woman and best man duties are oh so important! Whoever you choose for this prized post will not only be responsible for organising your stag or hen night, but for getting you to the ceremony on time, looking after the rings (if you’re not having a ring bearer) and signing your marriage certificate. They are also expected to make a speech during the reception. Maybe set some boundaries there!
We all know that in opposite-sex marriages, grooms walk first and alone down the aisle, and brides are escorted by their father, followed by the bridesmaids and maids of honour. So who walks down the aisle first and with whom at a same-sex marriage? It’s totally your call. Many gay couples arrive together, some lesbian couples arrive together and are escorted by their fathers or friend up the aisle – it doesn’t really matter. Choose your own aisle style. Do what you feel most comfortable with – it’s a nerve wracking day as it is, so minimise by doing what you feel happiest with.
Maid/Man of Honour
The Maid or Man of Honour (MOH) holds one or both – depending on whether you are having the same MOH – of the bridal bouquets. They might also be asked to look after the wedding rings and to sign the marriage certificate.
Ring Bearer, Page Boys and Flower Girls
Children are often asked to play a part in the wedding ceremony as page boys and flower girls. Pets, too, are sometimes used as ring bearers. Typically they will walk ahead of you. Ring bearers and page boys tend to carry the wedding rings on a ring pillow and flower girls scatter petals along the aisle. When the entire wedding procession is over, the rings are given to the best man/woman or maid/man of honour, and the children go to sit with their parents.
Image by David Blackshaw of DB Photography