Photo: James Christianson
While you might be totally prepared to crank out that wedding reception seating chart once all your RSVPs are in, did you know that there are a few seats you need to assign for your ceremony, too? Some are obvious, like seating your parents in the front row on either side of the aisle, but some are a little less clear. One such tough situation? Figuring out where to seat your siblings' significant others! So... where do they go? Our experts are here to help you figure it out.
Whether you're seating your brother's girlfriend, your sister's college BFF, or the date of a sibling who is in the wedding party, it can seem like there's no right answer. "Situations are constantly evolving, and formal etiquette hasn't quite kept up," says Marina Birch of Birch Design Studio. "So I always try to err on the side of traditional etiquette and being polite and inclusive." Here are a few of her tips for seating significant others and plus-ones at your ceremony.
You'll have your brother in the front row, but what about his girlfriend? "I would invite her to sit by his side," says Birch. "They'll both enjoy the ceremony that much more, and be that much more present than if you were to split them up." Be sure to account for this when you're figuring out how to arrange the chairs, to make sure there's enough space for all your VIPs.
If your sister's plus-one is a friend instead of a date, you've entered a gray area. "If your sister is seated instead of in the wedding party, and there's enough room amongst the family members and close friends, seat them together," advises Birch. "However, if your sister is a bridesmaid, don't worry about seating her friend with your family. Instead, let your sister know that her friend should find a seat amongst the other guests."
But what if your sister's a bridesmaid and she brought her boyfriend? Birch explains, "If there's room in the front row, seat him with your family. If not, seat him in the row just behind them. After all, he just might be the next groom in the family!"