To fully understand who sits where at a wedding ceremony, you need to know the expected reservations on the first row, left side, and right side at the wedding venue. We will also give you a sample seating format for the reception after the ceremony.
It’s always helpful to guide guests on where they can sit and plan the arrangements according to your venue. And for the reception itself, you may also want to familiarize yourself with who sits at the head table at a wedding.
Who Sits Where At A Wedding Ceremony: Sample Wedding Ceremony Seating
First row seats
Who sits in the first row at the wedding ceremony? When designing the seating plan, the first row should be your priority.
In general, anyone close to the couple will sit in the first row, especially those who don’t get to stand with them at the front. So, for example, have your siblings who aren’t part of the wedding party, your parents, and grandparents in the first few rows.
For same-sex couples, there are no rules on whoever’s parents can sit on the left or right side. You can also reserve the first row with close friends and not just family.
For second weddings, the first row can also be for the couple’s children. Just put the respective name cards on the first row to guide your guests.
Left side wedding ceremony seating
The left side of the first row is expected to accommodate the bride’s parents. Then, the bride’s grandparents can sit behind them if the row can’t accommodate all of them.
For different family dynamics, such as blended families, one of the bride’s parents and their partner can sit at the front with the other parent and their partner behind them. Then, the bride’s grandparents can be in the same pew as their child, whichever you think will be comfortable for everyone.
Right side wedding ceremony seating
As you can assume, the right side of the front row will be occupied by the groom’s parents. But then, you can also follow the same suggested seating arrangement if the groom’s parents have remarried or had another partner.
It’s worth noting that it’s also possible for the couple only to invite their parents. If that’s the case and the separated parents get along, you can have them in the same row.
Ceremony seating tips for other guests
As for the rest of the guests, they can freely take any seat. So when planning the seating plan for a wedding ceremony, you’re essentially only reserving the seats for the first few rows, and your ceremony guests can take the remaining seats.
However, the ushers can also have guests for the bride on the left side and on the right side for the groom’s guest. If the result looks uneven, the ushers can transfer some guests to ensure that no seats would be empty or there are no gaps in rows.
So what is a wedding usher? Learn more about this role in our separate discussion.
Who Should Sit Where At A Wedding Reception?
Besides planning who sits where at a wedding ceremony, you should not forget about your seating arrangement at the wedding reception. Remember that you also need to account for the band, dance floor, stage, and catering side if it’s an open floor-type setup.
Who sits at the main table at a wedding?
But for now, let’s focus only on the seats at the reception. Start with the head table or the one at the front.
This can be a sweetheart table where it’s only for the newlyweds or a head table with their chosen people, typically all of the wedding party. You can also sit everyone part of the wedding ceremony at the head table, except kids like the ring bearer and flower girl as they’ll sit with their parents.
First few front tables
Like in the ceremony, you can assign the first few tables for your parents, siblings, other close friends, and honored guests. Again, consider their relationships to know how to group per table and their personal preferences.
For example, grandparents must sit closer to the exit as they’ll likely leave early. Then, have your relatives and friends closer to the dance floor.
Who Sits Next To Who At A Wedding?
- The bride’s parents will sit side by side on the left first row; if a parent is widowed, they can choose whoever they want to accompany them
- The groom’s parents will sit side by side on the right first row; if a parent is widowed, they can choose whoever they want to accompany them
- Siblings and other relatives can sit together in the first few rows; the couple’s close friends can also take these seats
- Married guests sit next to their spouses; young kids sit next to their parents
- Consider the closeness of your guests so that you can seat friend groups together in each row
- Apply the same concepts when placing people per table at the wedding reception; you can also sit guests who didn’t bring a plus-one together
And that’s it! To recap who sits where at a wedding ceremony, the first row is for the couple’s parents.
The left side is for the bride, while the right side is for the groom. Then, you don’t need to assign the remaining rows, but the ushers can guide the guests to avoid empty seats.