Possibly the sole wedding issue that has more brides flabbergasted than what to do with their divorced parents is, surprisingly, gloves. We get countless inquiries about these troublesome fripperies. First, let’s deal with the etiquette of these confusing little accessories.
◾Gloves are considered formal wedding attire, much like a train or a veil. As such, the presence of gloves makes an ensemble more formal. The longer they be, the more formal they is. Bridesmaids never dress more formally than the bride: their dress lengths, for example, must be the same length or shorter than the bride’s. So if the attendants wear gloves, the bride must also— and, to boot, the bride’s gloves must be at least as long as the attendants’.
◾Ladies do not remove gloves when shaking hands, although gentlemen do. Therefore, it’s proper to wear them in the receiving line. However, handling the paws of 200 guests may leave your white gloves a little grubby, so you might wish to take them off temporarily and reapply them for dancing.
◾Both ladies and gentlemen remove gloves for dining.
◾Jewelry is properly worn only under gloves, not over them. We can fudge this rule a little for the ring exchange at the altar, though, since such a faux pas is far better than the sight of watching a bride tug and yank to remove her eighteen-button glove in front of God and everyone. (The final whipping-off of the glove can resemble the first act of a striptease.)
And now, the practicalities of the ring exchange:
Many brides cut a discreet slit in the seam or seams of the left glove’s ring finger. It’s usually the seams, which can be quite thick, that make it impossible to fit a snug ring over the glove. (If you can put your ring on over the glove without a struggle, the ring may need to be sized.) Using an X-acto knife or similar sharp implement, make a cut perpendicular to the seam, across the seam at the base of your finger.
You may also have your husband put the ring over your pinkie finger at the altar, and move it to the proper finger when you remove your gloves for eating. Or, if it will stay securely, he can slide the ring only over the first knuckle of your ring finger.
You could even acquire old-fashioned gloves that button at inside of the wrist. With these, you undo the wrist buttons, slip your hand through the resulting hole, and tuck the loose part of the glove across the back of your hand. This takes practice but may be the best solution. Since your hand will be hidden by the bouquet during the processional, you can even do this in advance of the ceremony.
If none of these options sounds appealing, some bridal shops may be able to hook you up with a pair of fingerless gloves. These usually begin above the elbow and extend over of the back of the hand, where a loop secures a point of fabric to the middle finger.