Roll Call: The Proper Recessional Line Up

Q: What is the proper recessional line up for a catholic ceremony?

A: The traditional order for a recessional for a Christian wedding is the bride and groom, the flower girl and ring bearer, the maid of honor and best man, followed by the other attendants.  The bridesmaids may recess either singly or side by side, depending on their number.  They may walk together as they entered, groomsmen with one another and bridesmaids together, or a bridesmaid may walk with an usher.

Engagement Etiquette: Can I Use Engagement Gifts before the Wedding?

Q: I am recently engaged and have started to receive engagement gifts. I have been immediately sending out thank you notes, but my mother insists that we cannot use the gifts until we are married. We would like to know what the proper etiquette is for gift use. My empire red Kitchen Aid mixer is calling my name!

A: It would be best to wait until after the wedding.  The reasoning is in case the engagement is called off, however unlikely, it would be inappropriate to return used gifts.

Dress Debate: What Should the Grandmother of the Bride Wear?

Q: If the Bride is wearing a long gown and her Grandmother is in the wedding party, does the grandmother have to wear a long gown?

A: Not necessarily.  If the other members of the wedding party are wearing long gowns, it would be appropriate for her to wear one.  If the others are wearing short dresses, it would be appropriate for her to wear a similar length dress.

Empty Handed: Proposing Without a Ring

Q: I have a question regarding the etiquette of proposing to my girlfriend: Is is acceptable to propose without an engagement ring, but with a smaller ring instead? My girlfriend is somewhat particular about her tastes, and I want her to be involved in picking out an engagement ring. But, to me, it seems that asking her to be part of the process ruins the surprise of the proposal. Instead, I’d like to propose with another, smaller ring (a nice, small 18 point diamond ring, that she likes as a ‘right-handring’). So, what is proper etiquette in this case? Propose with the small ring or not?

A: It is fine to propose without an engagement ring, and then select one together. You can always present her with a “symbolic” ring, but it needn’t be another diamond ring – it could even be a cracker jack ring – if you would like to have something to slip on her finger when you propose.

Picking Favorites: Is it Ok to Only Invite Specific Coworkers to Your Wedding?

Q: I am getting married and want to know if it is okay to invite some of my colleagues but not others? I am a school counselor and work in a school with over 100 employees. As you can see, if only half came and brought a spouse/guest, I would have 100 guests from work. The chosen venues is limited to 250 people and my fiance and I have large families. It is not my intention to exclude anyone but inviting everyone is nearly impossible.

A: The best way to compile your list of work friends is to begin with only those where your friendship extends outside of school. This may just be a handful, or even only one or two, but that is fine and no one’s feelings would be hurt not to be included. If there are a few others who you consider close friends even though you don’t socialize outside of the school environment, you might add them if you have space. You have no obligation to invite your entire group of work colleagues, even if they have a celebration or shower for you in school. This is their way of celebrating your marriage with no expectation of also being invited to your wedding. Best wishes!