English Wedding Etiquette

Wedding Etiquette Properly Explained

Planning a wedding? This small book has all the answers for 1986. This particular book is focused on the rules for marriage in the Church of England. However, there is plenty of additional advice on gifts, engagement, and the duties of the wedding party. Luckily this is all “properly explained”, so the reader can relax. This book has you covered.

This book is pretty rule driven. There is a right way and a wrong way. Duties and obligations are straightforward, and there isn’t much flexibility. I am not sure this book will be much help in 2019.


back cover engagement details

divorced marriage

who does what engagement ring seating


  1. Happy couple: You’re not going to expect the *guests* to spring for a refrigerator/freezer or stove (“cooker” in the UK), are you ?? That’s a job for Mum and Dad. (Are bridal showers a custom in the UK ?)

  2. Not sure if the author’s experience as a hotel executive makes him “outstandingly well-qualified” on all things wedding — even the reception seating charts, which presumably would be his strong point, seem a bit awkward.

  3. I think if the bride decides not to include someone in her bridal party because “her height cannot be matched with any of the other suitable girls”, then there are a lot more problems than etiquette at hand…

    1. And what about her “ability to remain standing on her feet throughout the service is in doubt?” I have so many questions about that one. . . .

    2. In context, I don’t see a problem with saying that people who want to be in the ceremony shouldn’t expect an unquestioning OK. The examples of potential reasons, for sure.

  4. Someone gave me this book in the run-up to my wedding (I got married in England in 1988) and I think I read it once, rolled my eyes, and took the book to the charity shop. It really wasn’t helpful at all compared with the magazines then available.

    Still, it was nice to see the book’s cover again.

  5. What’s with the seating plan where the groom’s father and bride’s mother sit together, and the groom’s mother and bride’s father on the other side?! I could see that would be a good idea if both couples were bitterly divorced, but not otherwise! Also, the cover looks like a real couple. Wonder if they are still together after all this time?

  6. Regarding gifts, over on this side of the pond at that time, stores had gift registries. You didn’t have to tell people on the phone what gifts were sought, or send them a list in the mail, for pete’s sake — you let it be known that the happy couple was registered at Department Store, Inc. and the guests went there. I expect you could have ordered items by phone even back then. Didn’t they do this in England??

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