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Wedding Rehearsal Etiquette

10 Sep

Michaelis-Garrett Wedding at the SC Lace House, June 2011. Florals by American Floral. Photography courtesy of Dave Gilbert Photography and Katie Hart | Hart Photography.

As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect!”  That is what your wedding rehearsal is for!  This is the time when a wedding coordinator/planner comes in very handy.  They are there to help prompt the wedding party on their duties during the ceremony and can be a big help in keeping everything organized.

The best place to conduct the rehearsal is where the ceremony will take place.  If this is unavailable, try to find a location that will allow you to “recreate” the setting.  The first thing you should do at your rehearsal is to make sure everyone knows where to stand during the ceremony.  (If someone is missing, don’t worry.  Just be sure you leave space for them when practicing.) Since everyone should be standing at the front, this is a good time to practice the recessional.

The recessional begins with the bride and groom leaving together followed by the Flower Girl, Ring Bearer, Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man, and then the remaining Bridesmaids and Groomsmen coupled together.  Once the outer bridesmaid and groomsman take their leave, the parents of the Bride will follow and then the parents of the Groom followed by the grandparents of the Bride and Groom.

Next, practice the processional.  If you plan on using ushers {Rule is 1 per 50 Guests}, make sure you assign a certain usher to whom they will be ushering in to avoid confusion on the day of.  Typically, grandparents of the Groom are seated first followed by the grandparents of the Bride.  Next, the parents of the Groom are seated followed by the bride’s Mother.  The Officiant will then come out followed by the Groom and Best Man.

Once the Groom and Groomsmen are in their place, the processional music should begin and the bridal party will begin their march.  The outermost Bridesmaid enters first followed by the remaining Bridesmaids, Maid/Matron of Honor, Ring Bearer, and Flower Girl {of course, nowadays this rule is flexible… and they can enter from the inside out as well!}.  Once all are in their position, the Bride will then process in with her escort on their left arm.  Once close enough, the Groom may come towards the Bride.  The Officiant will ask who presents this Bride and the escort will respond.  Once done so, the escort may kiss the Bride, if they so desire, and then sit next to the Bride’s Mother.  The Bride then takes the arm of the Groom and both turn towards the Officiant.

Make sure you go through each of the ceremony steps including the handing off of the bouquet and rings and if any other props will be used.  It isn’t a bad idea to go through the recessional and processional a few times, especially if the wedding party is sizeable.


{Happy Planning!}


Becoming A Mrs.

21 Aug

Katie, One of MWW’s Fabulous Interns!

Hi, Everyone!  My name is Katie and I am Meagan’s summer intern!  I have had such a blast this summer and I can’t even begin to say how much I have enjoyed working with Meagan!  I’m here today to guest blog about something that seems like it should be self-explanatory but is actually quite complicated!  Changing your name once you are married!

I naively thought it was something like “Sign here to change your name” and everything magically happened after that, but it’s not that easy!  Here is a summary of what I have learned from a great resource on weddings,

The first thing to remember is that there is some work to do before you are actually married.  When planning the honeymoon, make the reservations in your maiden name.  You may need to provide identification while checking in and whatnot and your new identification will not be ready yet!  Another pre-wedding task is changing your work contact information.  You may need to work with your HR representative to change your work e-mail, business cards, and any information on you that is found on a company website.

Next, is all of the official business.  You will first need to apply for a new Social Security card.  You can download the form at the social security website found here (  Once you fill out the form, just bring it to your local Social Security Administration Office. The closest one in downtown Columbia is located at 1835 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC.

After you have your new Social Security card, you can apply for a new license and vehicle registration.  Bring your marriage license, new Social Security card and your current driver’s license to the DMV with you.  There is a charge to change both your vehicle registration and license so have some form of payment on hand as well.

Next are some less-pressing issues but some that are still VERY important!

~ You are going to want to head back to HR and get your tax forms updated with your new Social Security card and driver’s license.  You will also want to fill out IRS form 8822, which pertains to changing your address and name on your tax return. Here is the link to find that form here (

~ If you already have a passport (perhaps you went somewhere exotic for your honeymoon?!) you are going to have to contact the Department of State to get that updated as well.  There are lots of special cases that involve a passport change so to ensure that you choose the right route, here is a link that gets you on the right track. (

~ Your voter registration card will need to be updated as well, this may vary state-to-state but for you South Carolina brides, here is your link:

~ Lastly, you will need to inform all organizations that you are a part of that your identification has been updated.  This can be done with a letter stating your old information, new information and a copy of your marriage license.  Some organizations you may want to consider are creditors, doctors, insurance companies, lawyers, and any organizations that you hold membership in.

And with all of that information, you are now ready to be a new woman (or the same woman with a new name!)  I hope this helped!  I know I learned a lot for the day my wedding Pinterest board becomes a reality!  Happy planning!


Wedding Guest Attire

11 Aug

The type of attire to wear to a wedding depends largely on the time of day it takes place.  Generally, a short dress in almost any color {except white} is deemed appropriate save a formal event occurring in the evening.  Unless otherwise stated on your invitation, the following will give you an idea of appropriate attire to wear depending on the time of day and formality of the event.

{For Women}  If the wedding takes place during the day and is either informal or semi-formal, a nice sundress dress will do.  During the evening hours [after 6pm] for both types, a cocktail dress is more appropriate. If it’s a formal daytime wedding, wear a short dress, but be sure it lacks an excess of sequins as this can make you appear overdressed.  A formal evening wedding requires a long formal or short cocktail dress with a touch of glam {think elegant and classy… such as a black tie affair!}

{For Men}  If the wedding is informal and takes place during the day, a dress shirt and dress pants should be worn [with possibly a bow tie or tie if you’re feeling up to it.]  For an informal evening or semi-formal day wedding, a nice suit is appropriate.  A semi-formal evening and formal day requires a dark suit and tie whereas a formal evening can mean a tuxedo if the invitation specifies a black tie event.  If the woman is wearing a short formal dress, then a dark suit will do for a formal evening.

The most formal attire for a wedding is white tie, which is usually specified on the wedding invitation.  For this event, women should wear floor-length evening/ball gowns while men dress in tailcoats, white shirt, white vest and tie, white gloves, and black opera shoes.

If you are still unsure of the type of attire appropriate for the wedding, try contacting other guests, those in the bridal party or even the bride and groom to make sure you’re chosen attire is on track!

Formal/Informal Wedding

9 Jul

There are a number of things you can do to show the formality/informality of your wedding.  Generally, the number of people in your bridal party can give you an idea of how formal it may be.  The more you have, the higher probability of a more formal wedding.  You should also consider how the food is to be served.  For a more formal event, the food would be served while guests sit at their seats.  Less informal weddings include a buffet or smaller food set up.

Next, the type of venue you will be using and the time of the day it will be held can say quite a bit about the formality of a wedding.  More formal weddings usually take place in a church or place of the like during evening hours.  A semi-formal wedding often will have the ceremony outside with an inside/outside reception.

Also consider the attire that you, your fiancé and bridal party will be wearing.  If your gown is more formal, your fiancé is in a tux, your bridesmaids are in more formal dresses, and the groomsmen are wearing tuxes, it’s safe to say that you’re on your way to a formal event! If your ceremony will happen outside, remember to dress accordingly!  A very formal gown at a semi-formal wedding can make you appear out of place.

The style of your invitations will give your guests a big clue as to how they should dress for your wedding. The invitation is the first clue your guests receive to indicate what your wedding will be like. The more formal the invitations, the more formal they will expect your wedding to be.  If there could be confusion, be sure to add a sentence or two that gives your guest an idea of how you want them to dress. {Dressy Casual}{Cocktail Attire}…

Overall, the formality of your wedding will include a combination of the above.  Make sure you keep the flow – meaning don’t expect your guests to come dressed in long dresses and tails ready for dinner on the Titanic if your invitations are of a more simple nature.  Be sure the invitations, location, time of day, and your chosen attire convey how elaborate your wedding will be.

Etiquette for Using the Term {Master}

28 Jun

When you sit down and begin to write the names for your invitations or ceremony programs, you may find yourself stumped when it comes to your junior groomsmen and/or ring bearer.  The formalities of when to use {Mr.} or {Master} can give you a headache!

For young men under the age of 13 or those that haven’t entered high school yet, etiquette tells us that, when writing formal correspondence, invitations or programs, it is proper to use the term {Master}.  These days, this term is not usually seen/spoken unless on formal occasions though this charming old custom was once widely used in the US and especially the UK.

In any case, when writing formal invitations or programs {especially for weddings}, it is proper etiquette to precede a junior groomsmen and/or ring bearer’s name with {Master} if he is under the age of 13.


Tradition of the Ring Finger

16 May

Have you ever wondered why it’s tradition to place the engagement ring and then wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand (the ring finger)?

The idea of giving a ring to a women to symbolize her betrothal dates back to the 11th century in Rome where they ceased to consider marriage a “wife-purchase” and saw it as a civil compact.  The betrothal ring (annulus pronubis) was a symbol of the compact as no legal forms were written.  Derived from this Roman belief, Henry Swinburne published a work, A Treatise of Spousal or Matrimonial Contracts, in 1686 where the term vena amoris was first used.  Vena amoris is Latin for “vein of love” or “vein of the heart.”  The belief is that there is a vein connecting the heart to the ring finger on the left hand, a symbol of love.

Today, many consider this theory/belief to be false as there are veins in all the fingers that are connected to the heart.  The belief and tradition, however, remains steadfast among most western cultures as the ideal place for the wedding ring.

Toasting Etiquette

9 May

Just as with most other things at a wedding, there is a proper etiquette to toasting!  It can be confusing if you’ve never heard of the “rules” associated with toasting.  So take a look at some guidelines to follow when either making or accepting a toast.

~      Traditional order for toasting: The bride’s father OR the best man, the groom thanking his father-in-law or best man and to his new wife, the maid of honor, the groom’s father (if not the best man), the bride, then any guests.

~      For an engagement party or rehearsal dinner, the host should make the first toast.

~      If you are the toastee, it isn’t proper to drink to yourself or raise your glass.  Stay seated and thank the one doing the toasting.

~     If the group is large or it’s a formal occasion, the toaster and toastee may stand together.

~      The host must attract the crowd’s attention before making his toast, which he does by standing and raising his glass-not by banging on a glass with a utensil. No matter how large and noisy the crowd, repeating “May I have your attention” as often as necessary is the more courteous option.

~     If you are doing the toasting, make sure the host has gone first and NEVER toast with water as this is vey unlucky.  Feel free to toast with any other beverage, even an empty glass!

~     Make sure that all the glasses are filled before toasting. The glasses don’t have to hold champagne or wine or any other alcoholic beverage; it’s perfectly fine for nondrinkers to toast with water, juice, or a soft drink. Even an empty glass is better than nothing.

~      Keep the toasts to about 3 minutes, short and sweet, avoid vulgarity, add humor, look people in the eye, and be sure to talk about both the bride and groom.

Here are a few of our favorite toasts… Enjoy!

Here’s to a sweetheart, a bottle, and a friend. 
The first beautiful, the second full, the last ever faithful.


Here’s to the bride and the groom!
May you have a happy honeymoon,
May you lead a happy life,
May you make a bunch of money soon,
And live without all strife.


A toast to love and laughter and happily ever after!

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