Monday, April 14, 2008

Ceremony Seating

I often get asked what the proper etiquette is for ceremony seating. Traditionally for Christian ceremonies, the bride's family & friends are seated on the left side (facing the altar) and the groom's family & friends are seated on the right. However, this is not always optimal if one person has a significant amount of guests compared to the other. As more and more people move around and relocate to other area's of the country, couples are having to think hard about where they will have their wedding. No matter how much thought goes into your wedding location, often times the city/state just isn't close by to both sides of families and all invited guests cannot always attend. For this reason, guest counts are rarely 50/50.

If this situation applies to you, relax! You are certainly not alone! Have your ushers sit guests on both sides - of course, parents, grandparents, and close relatives should always be seated on the proper sides in the first rows (these seats should be reserved for them only). However, once these seats have been filled, have your ushers escort guests to the best seats on either side. If certain guests are persistent about seating on a particular side, go ahead and let them. Chances are though, that most people will not care, just as long as they get a seat where they can actually see.

Additionally, immediate family (such as grandparents and parents) are seated right before the ceremony begins. This is often called the "Seating of the Grandparents" and "Seating of the Mothers". They are sat in the following order: Groom's Grandparents, Bride's Grandparents, Groom's parents, and lastly Bride's mother. The seating of the bride's mother signals that the ceremony is about to begin.

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