One thing I realised after getting engaged is that there seem to be so many rules or traditions surrounding weddings. My answer to most wedding related questions we had, was just to do whatever felt right to us. However, if you are wanting to know the ins and outs - here are a few little pointers:
1. What side do you stand on for the ceremony?
Traditionally in a church wedding the bride stands on the left (with her family on that side) and the groom on the right. (This rule was clearly in place well before marriage equality). In Jewish celebrations it is the opposite. Bottom line, unless you are having a religious ceremony, go for whatever works!
2. Who lifts the brides veil?
Of course you may well not have a drop veil. However, if you do the person who walks you down the aisle lifts it. Otherwise apparently the husband (or wife) lifts it before the first kiss. My husband ended up lifting my veil and kissing me before the ceremony had even started, so we royally stuffed up according to the wedding rule book.
3. What do you do with your engagement ring during the ceremony?
According to Christian tradition you either wear it on the other (right) hand or give it to someone to look after. In Jewish weddings you leave the ring on your left hand and place the wedding band over it. My engagement ring was part of our ceremony, as the ring belonged to my husbands mum - so we had his sister pass it to me during the ceremony and our celebrant Merren spoke about why it was so important to us (which was really special).
4. What is the correct first kiss etiquette?
Perhaps for church weddings in particular keeping it fairly PG makes sense. However it really is your moment, so do whatever feels natural to you!
5. When do you take your veil off?
There seem to be a lot of rules about this - either straight after the ceremony and before photos, somewhere during the photos or otherwise after the first dance. Again, like most things do whatever works for you! Veils can be great to have in photos, especially if it's a windy day. And if you absolutely love it (and it doesn't get in the way), theres nothing wrong with keeping it on all night.
6. Do we have a first look?
Only you and your partner can answer this. Your partner may really want to see you the first time as you are walking down the aisle (or vice versa), so if this is something that's important to them then it may best not to. But this absolutely depends on what you as a couple prefer.
7. Where should we focus our budget?
This depends on what your main priority is. The reception (i.e. catering for a large amount of people) tends to be the biggest expense. However, this really depends on how you plan your wedding and what your priorities are.
8. Should we list a dress code on the invitations?
Yes, if it is important to you. Be careful to use language that your guests will understand - i.e. guests are more likely to understand what you mean by Cocktail or Black Tie attire over Lounge Suit. If you are wanting it to be strictly Black Tie make sure that you highlight that it is a strict dress code. (This is particularly relevant in Australia where people tend to be pretty relaxed about dress codes and will most likely turn up in a linen suit or cocktail dress otherwise.)
9. When do we send out our invitations?
Generally you want to send out your invitations between 2-3 months out from the wedding and have the RSVP due about 4-5 weeks before. (You will need to confirm numbers with catering etc, so this leaves enough time to chase up replies). This timeline is different for destination weddings, in which case you may wish to at least send out Save the Dates about 6-8 months out from the date.
10. Do we have to do (insert wedding tradition here)?
No, you don't. It's your day. Stick with what's important to you and your partner. Don't even worry about the rest.
Image by Matt Godkin