13 Jul

All You Want to Know About Wedding Ceremony Seating

Family, friends, and family friends are an important part of your wedding day. Whether they hold a special place within the ceremony itself or are there in support of your love, where certain guests sit matters. Help yourself have a smooth pre-ceremony experience by pre-planning some elements of where certain guests will sit. Not only will this make those special guests, and all guests, feel well taken care of – your extra attention to some details (such as where parents and steparents sit) will be greatly appreciated.

Photograph by Crystal Keyes Photography

Remember: Ushers don’t need to be reserved for adults! Include whomever you choose, but don’t forget about younger attendants. Photograph by Crystal Keyes Photography

Ushers: Who are they?

Ushers usually work one of two ways: groomsmen seat your guest prior to the ceremony or some relatives and friends do. The rule of thumb remains one usher for every 50 guests. Although, if you are having an intimate ceremony, you may not need ushers at all.

One element often over thought is if you have sensitive seating issues between parents and step-parents. In situations like that, it’s smart to enlist a trusted friend or relative to pinpoint those special guests and seat them to be sure they don’t create any issues on your special day.

Most importantly, Ushers need to know where everyone is supposed to sit – so prepare them! The first two rows are most often reserved for parents, special family members or special guests. Traditionally, ladies are escorted to their seats by taking their arm. However in modern times it is okay for the usher to simply greet guests at the door and lead them to their seats saying “Please follow me.”


Photography by Crystal Keyes Photography


Taking Sides

Historically in Christian ceremonies, guests took sides based on whether they were the guest of the bride or the groom. Bride to the left and groom to the right. Jewish ceremonies sit opposite. Regardless of your cultural or religious traditions, your guests will likely express their preference to the usher. If you feel that one side (bride or groom) will have more guests than the other, consider open seating that allows guests to sit on whichever side they want. If you choose this option, it’s important to include signage to let your guests know.


Quick Tips

  • Elderly guests should be seated near the front.
  • The first 2-4 rows should be reserved for immediate and extended family like aunts, uncles, cousins, and godparents, along with other special guests such the parents of a child attendant (you’ll want them close to help with their child if they lose focus during the ceremony). Reserve seating with either signs or ribbons blocking off the row.
  • Immediate family is seated just before the ceremony begins. Typical order is siblings, grandparents, and then parents.
  • Don’t forget about stepparents and other important step-relatives. They are always sat behind the birth parents. Both birth parents and step parents can sit together in the front row, or one row behind the other. Discuss this in advance to avoid awkward moments.

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