Exactly Where Everyone Should Sit During Your Ceremony

Etiquette
ceremony seating etiquette

Photo: Gideon Photo

You, your future husband and your bridal party will be standing for your wedding ceremony, but in most cases, everyone else will be seated. Whether you're setting out bales of hay for a rustic ceremony or figuring out what kind of chairs will look best on the beach, it's important to know just where everyone should sit for the duration. We found a few common questions and sourced etiquette expert-approved answers for your ceremony seating needs.

In general, where do parents of the bride and groom sit?
The parents of the bride sit in the first pew on the left (all of the bride's guests sit on the left), facing the chancel; the groom's parents, in the first pew on the right. If the ceremony space has two aisles, her parents sit on the left of the aisle (as they enter from the back), and his parents sit on the left of the right aisle. This way, they are both seated in the center section.

Where does the rest of my immediate family sit?
Behind the front pews, several pews on either side of the center aisle are reserved for the immediate families of the couple. The people who are to sit there may have been sent pew cards to show the usher, or the usher may keep a list of guests to be seated in the first few pews.

My mom's a widow. What's the appropriate seating arrangement if she doesn't want to sit alone?
She should not necessarily be expected to sit in lonely splendor at her child's wedding. If she prefers to have someone by her side during the ceremony, it is perfectly correct to do so. Her guest does not have to participate in any way, however, such as standing in the receiving line — unless the two are engaged or the guest is helping to host the reception. Every effort should be made to treat the companion as an honored guest.

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