The Seating Hurdles: What Side Does the Bride Sit on


Planning a wedding is full of challenging decisions, from the wedding dress (princess style or A-line?) to the venue and from the theme (glamorous or rustic-chic?) to the grueling guest list – but no other wedding-related task can be as consuming as the seating plan. Questions like ‘What side does the bride sit on at the reception?’, ‘Where to seat the children?’ or ‘What’s the etiquette when it comes to divorced parents?’ are, surely, on any future bride’s mind.

Flawless Wedding Day Files: The Seating Hurdles and How to Solve Them

What side does the bride sit on at the reception?

This bride-focused dilemma is definitely one of the most asked questions when preparing for the big day. Basically, when it comes to the bride and groom seating, there is one simple rule: the bride is seated on the groom’s left, as in next to his left arm. When facing the bride and the groom, remember that it goes like this, from left to right: Mr. and Mrs! But with any rule, there’s always an exception: in case the groom is left-handed, then it might be a little inconvenient to eat at the table with a right-handed bride by his side, which is why, if this is your case, you might want to think about switching places with your partner. After all, it’s your day and you make the rules!

You can even choose to go for some of those trendy signs that mark your chairs or your plates, by featuring luscious lips for the bride and a swanky moustache for the groom, a Mister and Misses sign, or, why not, pearls and a bowtie – the possibilities are endless and they can get really creative (‘I do’ and ‘I do what she says’ chair signs, anyone?). By choosing such personalized elements to define your seats, not only will you avoid other guests sitting by accident in your designated places, but you will also have a visual, decorative detail that will enhance the overall look and theme of your wedding. Moreover, by choosing Mr & Mrs décor to identify your place, you can bet that you won’t make any clumsy mistakes when it comes to remembering (in the heat of the very emotional moment) the answer to the ‘What side does the bride sit on at the reception?’ question.

Where do the parents sit?

The parents of the bride and groom sit at a separate table from their children, but very close at the same time – closest, actually. They usually share the table with other dear family members, such as siblings (unless these are in the bridal party), grandparents, uncles and aunts and possibly close friends as well.

What’s the etiquette when it comes to divorced parents?

If your parents or your future husband’s parents are divorced, additional seating plans will be necessary… unless they are one big modern family, get along gleefully and request to sit at the same table – in that case, consider yourself lucky. But if they are remarried or wish to keep distance, then the best idea is to assign each of them their own little space (or table, in case you’re forgoing the long wedding table arrangement and opt for individual round tables). This space can include their own friends and family members – keep in mind that both tables should be equally close to your seat (symmetrically so, if possible).

Where should the bridesmaids sit?

After you figured out what side does the bride sit on at the reception, here comes the question on sitting your besties. If you’re a girly girl and have tons of friends – and ultimately, when it comes to your wedding day, that translates to ‘tons of bridesmaids’. One of the most common choices when it comes to large wedding parties is to opt for a long rectangular table, big enough to host all the best men next to the groom and all the bridesmaids next to the bride. If you’re more into small, cozier round tables and wish to save one just for you and your love, then the options are endless: either opt for a wedding party table, a bridesmaid table or simply let them find their own place among their friends and family.

What about neighbors, co-workers and other acquaintances?

One of the most obvious things when planning the seating for your reception is that people have more fun when they are surrounded by friends or even just by other people they know. So this is why, when it comes to wedding reception seating, your safest bet is: neighbors with neighbors and co-workers with co-workers – it will give them the chance to get to know each other better and interact on a more personal level.

Where should the children sit?

A separate table for children is a great idea, but only if you take into consideration a few aspects: Firstly, the children should be relatively self-sufficient and independent (usually age 3+), thus managing to eat by themselves, not panic when they can’t spot their parents in the closest vicinity and interact peacefully with their peers. If all these sound too overwhelming, don’t worry. There are simple solutions you can incorporate in order to make sure that the kids table will be in perfect harmony with the rest of your wedding: hire a sitter (or two, or three, depending on the number of kids you’re about to welcome to your reception) and load yourself with a wide array of kids activities in order to keep the little ones somewhat quiet, happy and entertained: from coloring pages to printed puzzle games, soap bubble bar or, if you’re not scared of a little mess, their own ‘Pimp the Cupcake!’ station.

Whether you’re wondering ‘What side does the bride sit on at the reception?’ or ‘What to do with divorced parents?‘, it’s always helpful to remember that while there is a useful etiquette that can guide you, ultimately, it is the most important day in your life and you get to make the decisions, even if they may seem unconventional or too quirky to the rest.