Guest Seating Basics: Bride’s side vs groom’s side
I have a lot of couples ask me about traditional and non-traditional seating. They ask: does it really matter anymore who sits on the bride’s or groom’s side? A lot of times one side of the aisle is bigger than the other since one partner has a large local family and the other’s are traveling from across the country. So, most of the time our couples choose not to have a specific side.
If you do want to observe the tradition, we recommend having an usher (or 2) to help answer that question for your guests. Be sure your usher knows where the bathrooms are because that’ll be the other question they get asked.
There are NO RULES! It really just depends on the couple’s preference. We have some couples that choose the traditional route – bride’s guests sit on the left, while the groom’s sit on the right for American / Christian weddings. For Jewish weddings, the groom is on the left, and the bride is on the right. For same-sex couples that might want to keep to this tradition, I’d recommend letting the guests know which side which partner is standing on by including this a wedding program or on a decorative sign as the guests enter the ceremony seating area.
Depending on the venue, we may actually recommend a specific seating arrangement based on where a bride is coming out of down the aisle, if it allows her to stay hidden better and/or makes her feel more comfortable.
We have also had couples choose which side their family sits based on where the bride is located (for example, the bride’s family sits on the right side instead of directly behind her, so they have a better view of her from their seat). This would work in the case of two brides or two grooms as well, we would just have the first row (which is normally reserved directly behind the couple for their immediate family and/or those participating in the wedding) switch sides, so they have the best view of their loved one. Let’s face it, would your parents rather see the back of your head, or your beautiful/handsome face while you get married?
We always run through where the family is sitting during the rehearsal, so there shouldn’t be any confusion on the day of the wedding. You will have enough going on that day 😉
More and more couples are adopting the “let’s merge the sides and be one family” tactic. Ushers (if the couple chooses to assign these roles) will seat guests based on which side has the most available space, and tell guests that two families are merging as one, and the guests should follow that trend.