Bride's Side of the Aisle:What Are the Etiquttes?


What is the myth behind the Groom’s and Bride's side of the aisle? In a wedding ceremony the wedding hall or the church’s hall is normally divided into two halves, separated by an aisle to walk on. Who sits on which side? Is there any special criteria for the seating arrangement within these two sides or the guests can sit anywhere they like? Here is the detailed guideline for seating etiquette for wedding.

Bride's Side of the Aisle: Left or Right?

Traditionally, the bride would always stand on the left side of the aisle and groom on the right side of the altar. Why so and what about the guests from both sides?

Historical Background

This tradition of the sides of the aisle, is about hundreds of years old. In ancient times, robbers used to kidnap the newly-wed bride on the wedding day, for her dowry. To protect the new bride, the groom used to stand on the right side of the aisle. This would keep his sword arm free, to stand alert to fight any moment.

What about the Wedding Guests?

How would you know, where you are supposed to sit in a wedding, as a guest? The answer to this question depends on which side you belong to. The families of the bride and groom would follow the same suit. Bride’s relatives sit on the left side of the aisle, groom’s on the right side of the aisle.

Ushers Are There to Help

There are many guests who have no idea of where to sit? Can they sit anywhere or would there be someone to show the guests their seats? In a formal wedding ceremony, ushers are given the task of escorting the guests to their sides. All the guests of bride and groom are escorted to their seats before the starting of the wedding processional. The first few rows on both left and right sides are reserved for the immediate family members of the couple. And the other guests like friends, neighbors or colleagues can sit a few rows back.

Is it a Must-Do Practice?

There is no cardinal rule of following this tradition. Unless you belong to a church that is strict about it. Many times it depends on the couple’s will. The couple can announce it to be an event with open seating. In open seating, guests are allowed to sit anywhere they want.

It's the Opposite in Jewish Wedding

Quite contrary to the Christian wedding or traditional wedding, in a Jewish wedding, right is the bride’s side of the aisle and left is for the groom. Same is the rule for their families.

Which Side does the Bride Walk up the Aisle with Her Father?

According to the Christian traditions, a bride always walks on the left side of her father. With a bridal dress with a long train, the bride can opt for the right side of her father. It may make it easy for the father to take his seat easily on the left side of the aisle. If both parents are walking the bride down the aisle, then mother should walk to the left side of the bride. 

More on Seating Order

Where do Parents of the Couple Sit?

The first pew on the bride’s side of the aisle is reserved for the parents of the bride. They have their faces towards the chancel. Similarly, the first pew of the right side is fixed for the groom’s parents.

What about the Immediate Family Members?

Behind the front pew on both sides a few rows are reserved for the immediate family members of the couple.

Where Would a Widowed Parent Sit?

Normally, a widow mom sits alone in the wedding. But if she does not want to sit alone, her decision must be respected.