How Can We Make Sure the First Few Rows at the Ceremony are Saved for Family?

Updated 04/05/16

Do you dread the hours you'll have to spend agonizing over seating charts for your wedding reception? Chances are there is NO WAY you'll want to do the same for your ceremony, but at the same time you'll want your VIPs seated right up front so they don't miss the action. While it's fairly common knowledge that the front row on either side is reserved for the bride and groom's parents and siblings, what about the rest of your family? Here are some tips from our experts on reserving seats for your relatives at your wedding ceremony.

There's no need to shell out for "Reserved" signs for every single chair (phew!). All you'll really need is an usher or two, a proactive planner or venue manager, and maybe a little ribbon.

First, let your ushers know which rows are reserved (usually the first three or four on each side of the aisle, depending on how large the bride or groom's family is). Then, as they're escorting guests to their seats, they can either seat family members in the designated rows or seat other guests behind them. If your ushers will be providing more directions than actually escorting guests (especially if you're not having guests sit on either the bride or groom's side), have them say something like "Please sit wherever you'd like. The first three rows are reserved for family, but otherwise please choose wherever you'll be comfortable."

Your wedding planner or venue manager can provide the same service, directing guests toward seats that are available and saving the reserved seats for your family.

If you're planning on having your aisle blocked off, with guests entering the rows of seats from the outer edges instead of the middle, you might consider using the same ribbon you use to block the end of the aisle to also block the ends of the rows reserved for family. An usher escorting family members can then remove the ribbon, help guests into their seats, and put the ribbon back up to prevent other guests from taking the seats you're hoping to save.

Really love some of those calligraphed "Reserved" signs? (We do too!) Consider getting signs that say "Row Reserved" and placing them on either end of the rows you'd like to save. Then let the ushers or your planner point guests in the right direction.

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