How to Seat Family at Your Wedding
The proper etiquette for seating your guests at the wedding ceremony
By Cynthia Myers
Weddings bring families together to celebrate a special moment in a couple's life. The traditions associated with weddings add to the solemnity and formality of the occasion, but they also can create dilemmas because of divorce, blended families and family members who don't get along. With advance planning, you can overcome these difficulties and honor both tradition and your family situation.
- What You Need to Know
- Consult your full guest list when organizing your seating chart to make sure you aren't forgetting to save a seat for any guest that needs a reserved seat.
- Organizing a seating chart isn't necessarily a solo activity, so don't be afraid to involve a few close family members in the planning.
- Your ushers are critical in making sure your seating goes smoothly. Make sure they are included in the wedding rehearsal and are clear on their responsibilities.
Review the guest list. Note which of the bride's and groom's parents, stepparents, grandparents and siblings will be attending. You may find it helpful to use different colored highlighters -- blue for the groom, pink for the bride, for example -- to highlight the names on the list. This will allow you to see at a glance how many people need to be accounted for.
Make a seating chart. Use removable sticky notes to position family members. Seat the parents of the bride in the first pew on the left, with the parents of the groom in the first pew on the right. If the parents are divorced, the mothers sit in the front row along with their spouses, if they are currently married. If everyone gets along, the fathers and their spouses may also be seated in the front row. If there is animosity between divorced parents, the father sits two or three rows back. Seat siblings, grandparents and the rest of the immediate family in the next few rows behind the first rows.
For a large wedding, you may wish to send row or pew cards with the wedding invitation. These are cards the guest gives the usher to indicate where the guest should be seated.
Provide guidance for your ushers. Make sure your ushers know where various family members are to be seated at the ceremony. You may wish to provide the ushers with a seating chart.
Use row markers. Bows, swags or flowers mark the ends of rows reserved for family members. These markers alert other guests that the spaces are reserved should anyone slip in unaccompanied by an usher. Discuss their design and placement with the person responsible for decorating the wedding space.
On the wedding day, ushers will escort the bride's family to the reserved seats in the front left rows. The ushers will seat the groom's family at the front on the right side.
Ushers seat the groom's parents immediately before the ceremony is to begin. The bride's mother is the last person to be seated. The bride's father takes his seat after he has escorted the bride down the aisle.
About the Author
Cynthia James is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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