Whether you are the one tying the knot or hosting your daughter’s dream wedding, the last thing you want to worry about during the big day are your manners. What is the proper way to hold a Champagne flute? When is the right time to give a toast? How exactly do you cut the cake?

While most adults know the basic social graces, weddings are a time to be certain about everything you do. That way, according to etiquette expert Kathleen Cover, you can focus on what’s most important: having a great time with your guests.

“Being well-versed in wedding, social and fine-dining etiquette allows couples and their families to present themselves well on the wedding day,” says Cover, who is the founder and president of The Etiquette School of Beverly Hills and Newport Beach. “And it allows them to relax and enjoy every moment.”


Pelican Hill® is hosting Wedding Etiquette Soirées, where brides, grooms, their parents and wedding parties can enjoy a fun and interactive program featuring etiquette traditions, gracious hosting, written correspondence and fine dining. The Sunday afternoon class also includes a Spa tour and etiquette talk.

When they arrive at the soirée, participants are greeted with a flute of Prosecco and hors d’oeuvres, and counseled on how to properly accept the drinks and tray-passed appetizers. Then they sit down together to enjoy a four-course tasting dinner, followed by tips for cutting the wedding cake as a couple.

“When you have a wedding, all eyes are on you,” Cover says. “As in life, when we know what to do, it helps us all relax.”

While participants are enjoying the meal, Cover instructs them on everything from how to approach the table, the five uses of the napkin, which utensils to use when, using a finger bowl, proper wine protocol and how to recover from a mishap. Both domestic and continental dining styles are reviewed.


“We create an environment that’s warm and welcoming,” she says of the class. “It’s not stuffy.”

Cover also instructs families on every detail of the complicated etiquette for invitations and thank-you notes, from the paper and design decisions to the timing and messaging. She reviews how to make favorable and lasting first impressions, with tips on how to mingle, shake hands, make proper introductions and remember names.

The goal is to learn to be a gracious host and how to focus on the comfort and enjoyment of the guests. It’s also about creating a memorable event. Weddings also are a time when a couple and their families present themselves to the world. First impressions count. And with videographers and photographers and social media, they also are lasting.

“This is the first time, with their wedding, where couples can show their style and taste,” Cover says. “They are announcing to the world: ‘This is who we are.’”

Advance reservations are required. For details, please visit pelicanhill.com/etiquette.

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