Wedding Etiquette for London Weddings

  • Publication date: 06/30/2024
  • Updated: 07/01/2024

Planning a wedding in London can be both exciting and overwhelming. With its rich history and blend of traditional and modern elements, London offers a unique backdrop for your special day. To help you navigate the intricacies of wedding etiquette in this vibrant city, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide. From invitations to attire, and ceremonies to receptions, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your wedding runs smoothly. Whether you're a local or planning a destination wedding in London, these tips will help you honor traditional customs while adding your personal touch. 


Photo by @anamarta_photography
Photo by @anamarta_photography

First things first, send out your save-the-date cards six to twelve months in advance. This gives your guests plenty of time to plan. The formal invitations should go out eight to twelve weeks before the big day. Make sure to include an RSVP date, typically about a month after the invitations are sent out, so you can finalize your guest list. Including a self-addressed, stamped envelope for RSVPs can make it easier for guests to respond promptly.

Don't forget to provide clear details about the location, time, and dress code on the invitation. It's also a good idea to include information about local accommodations for out-of-town guests. Finally, consider creating a wedding website where guests can find additional information and updates.


  1. Double-Check Details: Before sending out your invitations, make sure all details are correct. Typos or incorrect information can cause confusion.
  2. Digital RSVPs: Consider using a wedding website for digital RSVPs. It’s convenient and can save you time.
  3. Follow-Up: Don’t hesitate to follow up with guests who haven’t RSVP’d by the deadline.
  4. Personal Touch: Handwritten notes or personal touches on the invitations can make guests feel special.
  5. Include a Map: A small map or directions to the venue can be helpful, especially for guests unfamiliar with the area.
  6. Registry Information: It’s polite to include information about where guests can find your wedding registry.
  7. Thank You Notes: Keep a list of who RSVPs and their gifts to send personalized thank you notes after the wedding.

Properly handling your invitations sets the tone for your wedding. Clear communication and thoughtful touches ensure your guests feel informed and valued, paving the way for a seamless celebration.


Photo by
Photo by

What to wear can be a big question for both the couple and the guests. For the bride, a white or ivory gown is the traditional choice, often accompanied by a veil and sometimes a train. The groom usually opts for a morning suit or a formal suit. Guests should dress to impress with formal attire. Ladies often wear hats or fascinators, and gentlemen typically don suits.

For very formal weddings, morning dress might be required, so keep an eye on the dress code mentioned in the invitation. If the wedding is themed or has a specific color palette, it's courteous for guests to consider these details when choosing their outfits. Remember, feeling comfortable and confident in your attire is key to enjoying the day.


  1. Weather Considerations: London weather can be unpredictable. Have a backup plan for rain or chilly weather.
  2. Footwear: Comfortable shoes are a must, especially if there’s a lot of walking or dancing.
  3. Accessories: Simple, elegant accessories can elevate your look without overshadowing the main outfit.
  4. Hair and Makeup: Plan your hair and makeup well in advance. Trials can help ensure everything looks perfect on the day.
  5. Dress Code Clarifications: If you're unsure about the dress code, don’t hesitate to ask the couple for clarification.
  6. Backup Outfit: Consider having a backup outfit or emergency kit for any wardrobe malfunctions.

Selecting the right attire ensures everyone looks and feels their best. Prioritizing comfort and appropriateness for the setting helps create a stylish and harmonious atmosphere for the celebration.


Photo by Rebecca Searle
Photo by Rebecca Searle

Arriving on time is crucial. Guests should aim to arrive at least 15-30 minutes before the ceremony starts. Seating usually follows the tradition of the bride’s family and friends on the left, and the groom’s on the right. Instead of bringing gifts to the ceremony, it’s customary to send them to the couple’s home before or after the wedding.

The ceremony itself often includes traditional vows, but couples may choose to personalize these to reflect their relationship. Music plays an essential role, with choices ranging from classical to contemporary.

Photography and videography are usually discreetly managed to capture the special moments without intruding. Finally, remember that turning off mobile phones or setting them to silent is a sign of respect for the occasion.


  1. Respect the Photographers: Avoid blocking the photographers' view to ensure they can capture the best moments.
  2. Participate: Engage in the ceremony by singing hymns or reciting responses if applicable.
  3. Seating Guidance: Follow the seating guidance provided to avoid confusion.
  4. Be Present: Focus on the ceremony and be present in the moment, rather than taking photos or videos.
  5. Respect Traditions: Be mindful of and respect the couple's chosen traditions and customs.

Being respectful and present during the ceremony sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Following these etiquette tips ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.


Photo by Agnes Black
Photo by Agnes Black

A well-organized seating plan is a hallmark of London weddings. The top table typically includes the bride, groom, and immediate family. Speeches are a key part of the reception, usually given by the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man. Sometimes, the bride or the maid of honor might also say a few words. Toasts are traditionally made with champagne, and the best man often includes a special toast to the bridesmaids.

The meal, known as the wedding breakfast, is usually a formal sit-down affair. Dancing kicks off with the couple’s first dance, inviting all guests to join in afterward. The reception often includes a mix of entertainment options, such as live bands or DJs. A photo booth can provide fun memories for guests, while a well-planned playlist keeps the dance floor lively. Consider providing a midnight snack or late-night food station to keep guests energized throughout the evening.


  1. Engage with Speeches: Listen attentively to speeches and participate in toasts.
  2. Join the Dance Floor: Don’t be shy to join the dance floor and enjoy the celebrations.
  3. Be Social: Mingle with other guests and make new acquaintances.
  4. Respect the Schedule: Adhere to the reception timeline and participate in activities as scheduled.
  5. Stay Energized: Enjoy the food and drinks provided, and take breaks as needed to stay energized.

Following proper etiquette at the reception ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for all guests. Engaging with the activities and respecting the couple's arrangements creates a festive and harmonious celebration.

Gifts and Thank-You Notes

Photo @truffypi
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Photo @truffypi

When it comes to gifts, most couples provide a wedding gift list to help guests choose something they’ll love. After the wedding, it’s good etiquette to send out thank you notes within a few weeks to show your appreciation. Personalized thank-you notes that mention the specific gift and how you plan to use it can add a thoughtful touch. If you received monetary gifts, it's polite to mention how you intend to use the contribution, such as towards a honeymoon or a new home.

Digital thank-you notes can be a modern alternative, especially for guests who are tech-savvy. However, handwritten notes remain the gold standard for their personal touch. Keeping a record of received gifts can help ensure no one is accidentally overlooked. Finally, timely acknowledgments reflect your gratitude and leave a lasting positive impression on your guests.


  1. Keep a Record: Maintain a detailed list of who gave what gift to ensure accurate thank you notes.
  2. Be Prompt: Send thank you notes within a few weeks of the wedding to show timely appreciation.
  3. Personalize Your Message: Mention the specific gift and how you plan to use it in your thank you note.
  4. Group Efforts: If a group of friends contributed to a larger gift, acknowledge each person in the thank you note.

Sending timely and personalized thank-you notes shows your appreciation and leaves a positive impression on your guests. Thoughtful acknowledgments reinforce the bonds of friendship and family that made your wedding day special.

Additional Customs

Photo by Charlotte Wise
Photo by Charlotte Wise

Don’t forget the confetti! Guests often throw confetti as the newlyweds leave the ceremony, adding a fun and festive touch. The cake cutting is another cherished tradition, where the couple cuts the cake together, usually after the meal. Small gifts or keepsakes, known as favors, are often given to guests as a thank-you for celebrating the day with you. These can range from personalized items to local specialties that reflect the couple’s taste. 

A guest book can also be a lovely way for guests to leave their well wishes and advice. For an extra touch of London flair, consider incorporating elements like a vintage double-decker bus for transportation or a traditional afternoon tea. Fireworks or a sparkler send-off can add a magical end to the evening. Lastly, ensure there are plenty of opportunities for guests to capture memories, whether through professional photographers or designated photo areas.


  1. Eco-Friendly Confetti: Consider using biodegradable confetti to minimize environmental impact.
  2. Personalize Favors: Choose wedding favors that reflect your personality or have a special meaning to you as a couple.
  3. Guest Book Alternatives: Explore creative guest book alternatives, such as a wishing tree or a photo guest book.
  4. Signature Drinks: Create a signature cocktail that represents your story or favorite flavors.
  5. Cultural Elements: Incorporate cultural traditions or elements that are meaningful to you and your families.
  6. Surprise Elements: Plan a surprise element, like a flash mob or a special performance, to delight your guests.

Incorporating additional customs and personalized touches enhances the wedding experience for you and your guests. Thoughtful details make your wedding memorable and uniquely yours.

Enjoy Your Special Day

Photo by Camilla Joy
Photo by Camilla Joy

Remember, while these are the traditional customs, your wedding should reflect you as a couple. Feel free to adapt and personalize these traditions to make your day unique and memorable. Your comfort and happiness are the most important aspects of the day, so don't be afraid to break away from tradition if it feels right for you.

Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can help with planning and ensure everything runs smoothly. Take moments throughout the day to savor the experience and the love shared with those around you. 

Hiring a wedding planner or day-of coordinator can alleviate stress and allow you to focus on enjoying every moment. Lastly, remember that imperfections are part of the charm and story of your wedding day. Happy planning and may your London wedding be everything you’ve dreamed of and more!

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Natali Grace Levine Editor-in-Chief

Manages The Wezoree's content strategy
Writes and edits articles for the Inspiration Blog