Wedding Planner Rome by Anna Maria Nardi

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Church wedding? Watch out for the “bon ton”

Here are the rules with regards to music, photographer, flowers, throwing rice, clothes and wedding favors. Sounding the horn? Very trashy.

Of the seven sacraments of the Church, marriage is the one most at risk of «violating» etiquette. In order to celebrate properly there are old and new rules that must be followed, together with the rules of common sense and good taste that want everything done in a sober atmosphere suitable for the importance of the sacrament itself.

Between form and substance, sometimes there are considerable «exceptions» to the rule.

The music during the ceremony should be appropriate to the liturgical season, the nature of the rite and its individual phases. It is preferable that the lead singer perform only at the end of the ceremony and that the organist (or the harpist or violinist), does not play during the Eucharistic Prayer.

The floral arrangements should be very simple, considering that it is an offer made to the church at the end of the rite and, as such, must be in keeping with the solemnity of the surroundings.

The photographer should not get too close to the altar, remaining outside the sanctuary. Cameras must be fixed in a position agreed to with the priest, with only one fixed light, lit during the entire duration of the ceremony. It is also preferable that guests avoid photographing and filming the wedding during the celebration.

The classic throwing of rice in the churchyard should take place, of course, only outside the Church, after having informed the priest, limiting it as much as possible in case of rain since, in these cases, it could become dangerous, making the floor slippery at the expense the newlyweds and guests.

Furthermore, according to an etiquette encoded in time, relatives and friends must wait for the arrival of the bride in the Church. The bride and her relatives should stand to the left of the Church facing the altar, while the groom and his relatives stand to the right. The bride enters the Church with her father who gives her his left arm. A family ring can be worn, however, but only at the reception and not in Church, where the fingers of the bride should be adorned only by the wedding ring. Gloves, veil, scarf, shawl can be used in the church also during the celebration of the rite. Instead, gloves are not to be worn during the wedding ceremony, better to lay them next to the bouquet on the faldstool in Church.

No to launching the garter at the end of the ceremony. No to very high heels. If the bride wears a dress with a very long train bridesmaids are a must. The bride can leave her future husband and guests waiting in Church for a no more than 5-10 minutes. For the bridegroom, no to gloves and hat worn during the ceremony: these should be removed when entering the Church and held in hand.

For the groom yes to morning dress, always worn strictly buttoned (with a white flower in the buttonhole), which is mandatory also for the witnesses, the father of the bride and the groom; strict if the bride wears a long dress and the ceremony takes place in the morning or no later than 6.00 pm. For the bridegroom, yes to a tie pin with pearl for the plastron, yes to a flower in the buttonhole of the morning coat. Yes, at half-morning coat if the ceremony has a more sober and less glitzy tone, or rather, a three-piece suit for a young wedding. Yes, to a silk tie.

No, to a morning coat if the ceremony takes place after 6.00 pm; in this case, better to opt for tails. No to a coat worn while celebrating the rite. No for the groom to wear any type of jewelry; only exceptions allowed is the family ring (for weddings of scions of noble families), tie-pins, double shirt cuff links and wristwatch. No cutting of the tie or any other kind of excess during the wedding ceremony.

Guests should arrive to Church before the bride and wait for her in Church and the end of the ceremony they will wait for the bride and groom in the churchyard for the inaugural launching of rice. According to the etiquette sounding horns during the wedding procession should be avoided (even though traditionally it served to drive away evil spirits and not to attract the attention of passers-by).

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