Though you may think it is a good idea to congratulate a bride on her wedding day, in actuality it is considered improper. "Congratulations" to the bride implies that she is to be congratulated for being lucky enough to land a husband, when the luck is more properly assigned to the husband for getting such a wonderful wife.

What Should You Say?

The proper way to express your encouragement or happiness to the bride is to say "best wishes." This lets her know you want her married life to be happy and fulfilling. It is appropriate to say "congratulations" to the groom, however. Historically speaking, he was the lucky one who got the bride to accept his proposal. If you do not know who proposed to whom, you can say "best wishes" to both parties.