10 Wedding Etiquette Tips for the Bride & Groom 

by Sneha, Editor of Shaadi Obsession

It’s half-way through wedding season and you’re getting kind of sick of attending weddings, right? Well, keep in mind that it is still the bride and groom’s big day and you’ve got to play your part! South Asians have a reputation at weddings for being late, talking during the ceremony, and bringing uninvited guests – don’t be part of the norm! In this series, we will introduce  10 general etiquette tips to keep both bridal parties and guests happy at weddings. In the first of our series, we’ll start general etiquette tips for the Bride/Groom

For the Bride/Groom

  1. While planning your wedding, think of whom you absolutely want attending your wedding. Even though South Asians know a lot of people and your parents may want people attending that you have never even met, try to keep your guest list to those who are important to you and who would want to be there to celebrate this occasion with you. Include the number of guests invited on the RSVP card for each respective event in your invitations. After all, the price per head isn’t getting any lower!

  2. Bharaat’s and groom’s entrances are always fun to attend, but not at the crack of dawn. If you want your best buds or that crazy talented aunty or uncle dancing along with you at the procession to your ceremony, try to make sure your venue is easily accessible, and that you’re gathering at a decent hour (while keeping auspicious timings in mind). Hotel venues are always convenient since most guests are staying there and can be on time. Also, make sure parking is easily accessible!

  3. Your wedding is yours after all, and while it’s a special time, it can also be very long. There’s no controlling the length (unless your priest can do an abridged ceremony), but in any case, keep your guests occupied. Have an emcee, or a priest who can explain the rituals, and if you have many guests, provide a few video screens so guests can see what is going on. A wedding program which gives a detailed description with personalized names instead of “the bride enters accompanied by her friends” would be appreciated. In fact, a recent wedding had a cute crossword puzzle about the bride and groom on the back of their wedding program with a little pencil attached on each of the guests’ chairs! Keep it fun and entertaining – snacks and refreshing drinks are always welcomed!

  4. If you’re serving lunch, make sure it is at lunch time, even if the ceremony is running over the expected time. If you’ve included the timings in your invitations, stick to them. People will be hungry and ready to mingle with other guests after sitting for a while. Have several buffet stations available with access to both sides of the table – it will shorten the lines! Also, make sure to have enough seating for lunch; even with open seating you should have an extra table or two for those uninvited guests and vendors.

  5. At the cocktail hour, have several bars available. Even if it’s a dry wedding, guests flock to the drink stations! Make sure that your venue planner has a full-stocked bar as well – you don’t want to run into the unfortunate situation where the favorite drink supply ends. Keep the cocktail hour open for an hour and a half to two hours. Guests sometimes arrive late and then complain about not having enough time to grab a drink and hors d’oeuvres. 


  6. The worst situation for guests is having to sit next to people they don’t know or don’t like at a reception! Try your best to seat guests with their friends or with people who may have something in common to engage in conversation. Also, keep in mind the age ranges of your guests, seating elderly people away from the speakers, and close family and friends around the sweetheart table/stage and dance floor. Don’t forget the few extra tables for the stragglers who forgot to RSVP! 

  7. It’s always fun to watch the bridal party entrances, but the actual program of speeches and performances should be somewhat brief. An hour to an hour and a half is ample time for this. Inform your speakers ahead of time to keep their speeches timed to a minimum and make sure your emcee or DJ is keeping track of time.

  8. Re-open the bars after the speeches. You want guests to pay attention and not have distractions while listening to those closest to you sharing special words. Also, serve dinner at a decent hour, and have your bridal party or close relatives escorting tables in an orderly fashion rather than just calling out table numbers. Anything after 10pm is late. Think again of the age range of guests from children to the elderly.

  9. The rest of the night is yours to enjoy with your guests, and while late nights are fun for everyone, you may be tired from the long day(s) of events. 1am is a good time to wrap up – and there are always afterparties for your guests if they’re that type of crowd. Have your groomsmen and bridesmaids arrange for it if needed. 

  10. After the reception, your responsibility for entertaining guests ends!

Written by Sneha of Shaadi Obession exclusively for Borrow it Bindaas. Shaadi Obsession is a blog for all of your South Asian wedding inspiration needs – decor, fashion, apparel, DIY projects and advice!