By Maria Immaculate Owechi
Perfection is what every bride strives for especially concerning her looks and outfit. However, being a perfect bride not only entails looking good but also portraying proper manners. Disappointments from vendors and guests may be beyond your control, yet how you respond towards the mishap will matter.
Renzioni Hills, a Ghanaian wedding planner based in Kampala says acceptable bridal etiquette vary in every culture, for example, “In western Uganda, brides are expected to be calm, graceful and quiet while from the north, it is acceptable for the lady to be hyper and make ululations on her wedding day,” he explains.
The wedding planner rather maintains that away from cultural settings, a bride is supposed to be calm, graceful, elegant and queenly during her wedding.
From the women who have been married before to etiquette tutors, everyone has got an opinion on which things a bride should avoid doing on her wedding day. Here are the common bridal etiquette rules.
Avoid indecent dressing
Many women know the type of wedding gown they want way before they decide the know which man they will marry. Some however fail to have their dream gown in cases where the mosque and some traditional churches may consider the design indecent or too revealing.
To avoid the embarrassment of being turned away, the solution is to dress appropriately.
Blessing Katusiime, an etiquette tutor and employee of Centenary Bank says while there is a bit more freedom to dress as you please at the reception, some families are keen about maintaining decency throughout the ceremony.
She shares about a friend who received backlash from her in-laws for changing into a low cut evening dress with a long slit at the reception.
Don’t be in charge of everything
It can be difficult for a bride to stay calm and relaxed for fear of something going wrong on her wedding day.
Renzioni says the challenge is that some brides see it unnecessary to assemble a committee thinking they can handle everything on their own. He adds that you may see such a bride stressed out and running after unreliable service providers at the last minute.
“It is better she takes the initiative to delegate to a good wedding planner or a committee so that she doesn’t need to bother about anything,” he suggests. “A bride’s only concern on the wedding day should be how she is feeling, and whether her attires fit perfectly.”
Don’t be a wreck of emotions
Weddings can become stressful leading to unnecessary emotional reactions like acting rude, yelling, and even becoming violent.
Anitah Mirembe (not real names) shares about how she slapped one of her bridesmaids for delaying to get ready yet time was not on their side.
“It took joint apologies from the rest of the entourage for her to forgive me,” she shares.
Zaina Nalubega also shares an incident when she was a bridesmaid and the bride bust out threatening to beat an unsettled flower girl senseless. She says the whole entourage was shocked and went mute for a minute.
According to Renzioni, if somebody gets angry on her wedding day, it means something happened that may have triggered it. However, he says it is not okay for anybody to act badly or react badly.
He advises exercising self-control especially for people with anger issues and short tempers.
The wedding planner also advises the bride to surround herself with people who know what makes her lose her temper and how to calm her down.
Don’t be late to your party
Brides arriving late for the religious ceremony is usually attributed to delays while getting ready, traffic jam, among others. Regardless, the ceremony cannot proceed in her absence because she is the main celebrant.
Katusiime says it is rude for a bride to leave her officiator, guests, and groom waiting but also, this may also play to her disadvantage, “Some religious places will skip your ceremony and proceed to other people waiting to utilise the venue,” she reveals, adding, “I know of some churches that ask for extra cash on top of the church fee and a refund is only given if you keep time.”
Katusiime says advises brides to avoid slouching but rather sits upright while facing their guests. She explains that slouching will not only affect the pictures but also the general vibe a bride gives off to her guests.
Renzioni adds that apart from slouching, a bride should be careful about how far apart their feet are while seated.
“Many gowns are long enough but there are other bridal outfits that can easily show if the lady is not seated properly. If she is somebody who likes to spread her legs while seated, the decorator should be notified so that he/she can place a high table that is covered in front,” he recommends.
Avoid binge eating
Eat and drink in moderation. It is quite inconveniencing for a bride to be frequenting the washrooms while hosting her guests. This is why she is advised to eat and drink in moderation for her wellbeing.
The bride should also distance herself from heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. This is because the worst thing that can happen to a bride is behaving in an awkward manner before her family and in-laws.
Preserve your clothes from stains
A stain on a white outfit is something that can easily be spotted by onlookers. This is why it is important for the bride to be highly cautious while eating to avoid spilling on the gown.
She can cover up her dress with a napkin or a bib when eating and drinking.
Don’t skip greeting and thanking your guests
It can be difficult shaking every guest by hand especially if it is a large wedding.
Renzioni advises waving while making rounds and limiting the greeting to those you can access.
“It is during the receiving of gifts and while dancing where you can share hugs and quick chats with your people,” he says.
Don’t forget to also thank your guests for honoring your invitation especially those that travelled from upcountry and abroad to witness your day.
Do not be negative in your speech
Katusiime says much as brides are encouraged to make genuine speeches from the heart. They should be careful about sharing some negative things like pinpointing those who disappointed her during the preparations or mentioning the trying nad unpleasant background of her family.
he says you never know who may use this information to taint your image.
“I advise her to keep it positive by being thankful since at the end, its a day of celebration, not pain.”
As a bride putting out your best behaviour for just that one day is worth it because it is a day that cannot be re-staged.