Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wedding Q & A: Ceremony Seating Arrangments

When do you seat the bride's father and step mother when the father is not the one giving the bride away? should the groom's grandparents be seated before or after the bride's father? Gratis! JoAnne

Hi JoAnne. First the easy question! The groom's grandmother is the first in the processional escorted by an usher and followed closely by her husband. In some areas, the grandfather is already seated and the grandmother is escorted alone by an usher. The bride's grandmother(s) are next. Second, this is the stickier issue, but fortunately, etiquette is no longer as stringent as it used to be. It is not a law, but a guide for civility. As each family is unique, you have a variety of options. If there is no animosity between the brides parents, then they may both be seated on the front row as a show of support and love for their daughter. Otherwise, it is perfectly acceptable that Dad be seated on the second pew. Should even that be a strained situation, the mother of the bride's family can occupy the pews in front of the father-of-the-bride, giving a buffer. When to seat the Dad if he is not escorting the bride would be before the grandmothers. Again, let common sense dictate what you should do, if the formal etiquette would put a strain on the situation. Regards, Brenda

I am marrying a guy who's parents are divorced and do not exactly get along. I am having issues as far as what to do as far as who should light the smaller candle next to the unity candle as well where i should sit who. Please help me? Sincerely, Laura

Hi Laura, Have you considered having just the mothers light the unity candle? Though you may have wanted your dad to share in this, it would make an easier situation for the grooms side. There are a couple of choices for seating. Some etiquette experts suggest that the first row seating is for the parent with whom the groom lived with after the divorce (or whom he is closer to). Other's state that it would be the mother, who is joined by her husband, if she is remarried, and then her immediate family. The father would then be in the pew behind her, or in cases where more distance is appropriate a couple of pews back. Best Regards, Brenda

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