Questions & Answers
1.Who pays for the wedding?
2.Where do I start with my guest list?
3.Who do we invite if we're getting married abroad?
4.Who sends the invitations and when?
5.Should I set a dress code?
6. What time should the bride & groom get to the ceremony?
7.Do my bridesmaids enter before or after me?
8. What duties do the best man and ushers have?
9.Can my pet dog be part of my wedding?
10.Do we have to have favours?
11.Do we need a receiving line?
12.Should we offer a choice of food?
13.When are the speeches and in what order?
14.When should we register our gift list?
15.Can we ask for cash instead of presents?
TIMES AND PROCEDURES The people most concerned with finding out how a ...
TIMES AND PROCEDURES The people most concerned with finding out how a wedding ceremony functions-so that they do not embarrass their hosts-are guests. This is a problem exacerbated by the ease of modern travel which brings members of different communities, classes, races and nations into regular professional and social contact. Even as recently as a quarter century ago it is unlikely that a non-Quaker would have been invited to a Quaker wedding or that a Catholic might find him / her or herself standing as witness to a civil ceremony. Today the picture is very different and all of us can benefit from knowing a little of how the others celebrate weddings.
Weddings can be celebrated at any hour between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. This applies to any form of civil or religious ceremony with the exception of Jewish weddings which can take place at any hour of the twenty-four. Jewish weddings are also unique in that they are the only weddings which in the British Isles can legally take place in a private house (see section on Jewish weddings on webpage 51). Until very recently all other types of wedding had to be celebrated before 3 p.m.
In fact although the law has now been amended in this respect, because a wedding-especially a formal 'white' wedding in church-tends to be a very tradition-bound event most marriages still take place sometime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. At any type of wedding, non-family guests should time their arrival between 15-20 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. For a formal church wedding it is usual for the groom to ask several of his close friends to act as ushers-, showing guests to their seats.
In the larger type of register office where several rows of chairs are provided in the marriage room, the most prominent of which will be reserved for close family or most important guests, a similar ushering service makes sense. The trouble with women is that they get excited about nothing - and then marry him / her.� In church it is usual for the bride's friends and members of the bride's family to occupy pews on the left hand side of the church and for the groom's family and friends to take up their stations on the right. The bridegroom, together with his best man, should arrive in good time for the ceremony-a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes.
While the bride who keeps the congregation waiting-although technically in the wrong-is excused by convention, for the groom not to be in his place before the bride is tantamount to insult. The groom and best man wait in the vestry until a few minutes before the bride is due and then take up their positions in the front pew to the right of the centre gangway. The first member of the bride's immediate family to arrive is the bride's mother. She brings with her any house guests who may be staying with her.
It is a nice gesture if she can be escorted to the church by a senior male member of her family or her own eldest son, if he is not acting as best man, since her own husband will of course arrive with the bride. The bride's mother sits in the front pew on the left of the gangway. The next members of the bridal party to arrive are the bridesmaids and webpages.