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Wedding Seating Etiquette

Wedding Seating Etiquette

Carol Rosen (Professional Wedding Coordinator) gives expert video advice on: What is the seating order for family members who aren't in my wedding party?; What is the seating order if my parents are divorced? and more...

What is the seating order for family members who aren't in my wedding party?

When you are figuring out the seating order, for anybody who's not in the wedding party, the easiest way to do it is to say to yourself, “Who's the most important?” The most important guy goes last. Grandparents aren't quite as important as parents. Step-parents are not quite as important as birth parents, etc. If you just do it that way, I think you'll be ok with the way you order people walking down the aisle.

What is the seating order if my parents are divorced?

If your parents are divorced, they will each go down the aisle individually at your wedding. Your father will precede your mother. She will come after him and then she will be seated. Even though they're divorced, they might walk in together because they are both your parents, so that's going to be a family decision. If the parents are divorced and re-married, the father will go first, with or without his new wife and then your mother will be escorted in with or without her new husband.

On which side of the aisle should my family and friends sit at a Christian wedding?

In a Christian wedding, as you're facing the alter, the right side of the aisle is the groom's side and the left side is the bride's side. When the wedding is in a formal church setting, we very often do that and the guests are ushered in and seated on each side. Most of the time, the bride and groom say to me, “We don't want to force people to sit on one side or the other. We want them to fill up the space, and move forward and not be way in the back.” Therefore, we often do a less formal seating arrangement.

On which side of the aisle should my family and friends sit at a Jewish wedding?

In a Jewish wedding ceremony, it is the opposite of the Christian: the bride is on the right side and the groom is on the left of the aisle. We seat the important members of the bride's family on the right side and the important members of the groom's family on the left side. The rest of the family and friends may be seated according to which side they belong, or we may have less formal seating and ask the guests to sit wherever they choose.

What is the order of a Christian wedding processional?

A Christian wedding processional begins with the clergy, the groom, and the best man entering from the side to the altar area of the church. Following that, grandparents, parents of the groom, and the mother of the bride all enter the church in processional. They are followed by groomsmen, bridesmaids, the maid of honor, and finally, the bride with her father. If we are not in a church situation, we may choose to have the groom enter at a different point in the processional and walk in, perhaps, immediately preceded by his best man. That's something we decide in our conversations with the bride and groom before the wedding.

What is the order of a Jewish wedding processional?

A Jewish wedding processional is generally begun with the clergy or officiant going down the aisle. They are followed by grandparents and then possibly by the groom escorted by his parents, then groomsmen and bridesmaids, either singly or in pairs, and finally, the bride escorted by her parents down the aisle. Sometimes, we put the entrance of the groom and his parents following the men's. We might have the groomsmen enter first, followed by the best man and then the groom with his parents. That's something we decide in our conversations with bride and groom when we are planning the wedding processional ceremony.