Some weddings can be excruciatingly formal and for the guests, this can mean an interminable wait for the dinner bell to be sounded, or for all the wedding speeches to be wrapped up nice and tidy. However, common courtesy demands that not only must the hosts of the wedding reception adhere strictly to any wedding etiquette they feel necessary to have in the wedding, but guests must do so as well.
There is nothing ruder than a person who is constantly fidgeting in plain view when the speeches are being given, or a person who is always looking at their watch. And just as there are unwritten rules of wedding etiquette which should be followed by wedding party and guests alike, there is wedding etiquette which also determines who gets seated where, who is asked to give a speech, and also in which order the speeches are delivered.
It is also true that traditionally, it is the father of the bride who is first asked to speak, and this is for the simple reason that since he is the person footing the bill, wedding etiquette demands that he do the honors and welcome everyone to wedding reception. It is also a gesture of honor which is directed at the father of bride, an acknowledgement of sorts for all that he has done.
The groom will usually follow the father of the bride in the speech department, and wedding etiquette demands that he thank his new father-in-law for the wonderful reception. There are also other types of wedding etiquette, other than that which you see used for speeches. These are all too easy to get confused with wedding traditions, but when you look closely at these, it is possible to differentiate between the two.
For instance, opening the dance floor to the guests is usually done by the bridal couple, and this not tradition per se, but wedding etiquette instead. Father and daughter having their customary dance, is not wedding etiquette, but simply tradition. Then you have the tradition of cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet etc. These are all traditions and can go any which way that you please.
Wedding etiquette on the other hand, demands certain things of you which needs to be fulfilled, like for instance having a receiving line for all the guests at the beginning of the reception. This is not only common courtesy, but also a part of wedding etiquette which must be fulfilled. Thanking the guests for coming to the reception, is also another such part of wedding etiquette that must be looked at.
As you can see there are a number of things that can be construed as wedding etiquette, and these can also be confused equally with wedding traditions. If you find that your wedding is drawing nearer and nearer, you can make a list of the things which are necessary for you to do, which can be construed as wedding etiquette, and which ones are traditions.