What logistics should I consider for a seated bridal party?

Rockabilly Bridesmaids
Sometimes a bridal posse just wants to sit down! Photo by Phil Gammon
When I thought recently about our wedding I thought hey, I'd really like our bridal party to sit the heck down. It's not as though they lose recognition (they still walk down the aisle). It just seems sensible for them to sit.

Our wedding ceremony is in the same room as the reception – with everyone seated at their tables already and an aisle down the middle of the reception tables. We will have the ceremony on a small stage (it's about a foot or less higher than the ground) and I imagined giving our bridal party seats at bottom right in front of the stage or off to the side of the stage.

When I stood in my brother's bridal party I just kept wishing I could see around the maid of honor's head and I thought "Man, being honored is great and all but I've got the worst seat in the house." Plus, some of our shyer friends might feel more comfortable sitting instead of standing as a part of the show.

I can't seem to find anything around Offbeat Bride about others with a bridal party seated around them so I'm wondering how often it's done and if there are any logistics I should consider.

Bridal parties absolutely sit down — sometimes it's a religious preference, sometimes it's an accessibility/disability issue, and sometimes it's just a matter of taste. We'd love to hear from couples who are doing this (or have done this).

What logistics or considerations should be kept in mind for a seated wedding party?

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  1. Honestly, I wish I would have thought if it myself. Even though our ceremony was short, I'm sure the bridal party were thinking the same thing. I would have a bridal party table near the ceremony area, that way they are already in their seats for dinner.

    1 agrees
  2. As I'm getting married in a church, my bridesmaids will sit in a front pew. Seats in front of or at the side of the stage sound sensible! At the front they would have their backs to the audience – if you'd rather the rest of your guests could see your bridal party, perhaps they could have seats on the stage at the back? So they would be able to watch the ceremony but also be seen by everyone else.

    5 agree
  3. It's the norm in the UK for the bridal party to be seated throughout the ceremony. Nevertheless, we had pretty unstructured seating at our wedding and ensure that close family and the bridal party had seating- I knocked up some good old luggage tags with people's names on them to tie to their chairs and just labelled the first two rows. If they were in the bridal party, their partners didn't sit with them and we had no squids at our wedding so it made it easier. We did have the ease of everyone being friends with everyone else despite being from around the world!

    • Tangent here, but what's a squid? I tried googling it and came up with "a young motorcyclist who overestimates his abilities, boasts of his riding skills when in reality he has none", the plural of "quid", "an individual lacking moral character", or a pejorative for members of the US navy.

      3 agree
  4. Our wedding party is sitting down in the front row of seats after they walk down the aisle.
    Our reasons: space is limited on the raised platform we're getting married on; we have a weird mix of one groomsman, a matron of honour and 3 bridesdudes, so it doesn't make sense to have half stand on the groom's side and half on the bride's side; some of the wedding party is pretty shy; some of the wedding party might be uncomfortable standing the whole time; and I really want the focus to be on me and my groom!

    2 agree
  5. We had our bridal party stand, but we staggered them so each could see around the person in front of them- halfway through our ceremony, we ascended the steps & they each stood on a step as we were on the stage- for us, having them seated wasn't really an option, just because of my mom: she was insistent that she was in the front row with my grandmother & brother. I prefer the look of a bridal party framing the couple, especially after you ask them to shell out all this money for your big day- you want to put them on display! plus my husband has terrible stage fright- I think it made him feel a little better knowing his best friends were within arms reach 🙂 but ultimately, IT'S YOUR DAY do what makes you happy!!

    1 agrees
  6. Along with sitting in the front pews I have also been seated in the choir stalls so that we were 90 degrees to the rest of the congregation and had a fantastic view of the ceremony.
    Perhaps you could place chairs for your bridal party along the sides of the stage, looking in at you. Then they would still be present as a guard of honour (of sorts) and would be low enough for any shy ones to feel less conspicuous.
    Good Luck finding your perfect staging and enjoy your day!

    1 agrees
  7. We are planning on having our attendants sit, as my partner's sister has mobility issues and has trouble standing for long. The current plan is to have a ceremony in the round, and for the first circle to consist of our families and attendants. The thought is for them to walk in with us, sit down during the readings (unless they are doing a reading–most of the readings will likely be members of the wedding party), then maybe stand around us just for the vows. It'll depend on viewing logistics for everyone else, of course. I'm pretty short and won't be wearing shoes, so it might be best for everyone to just stay seated.

  8. My bridesbabes stood, but I went to a wedding last weekend where the wedding party sat. The biggest thing I noticed was that clothing falls differently, which can be both awesome and not so awesome. On the pants wearing folk you could see the socks really well. On the skirt/dress wearing hemlines that looked perfectly fine when standing looked a little scandalous when seated. If your group aren't regular skirt wearers they might benefit from a reminder to keep their knees together if they don't want to flash anyone. They're going to be photoshopping out some lady bits.

    9 agree
  9. I was in a wedding with a set up that sounds very familiar to yours. They didn't have a stage, but we had two rows of chairs set up especially for the bridal party and family members right before the archway under which the bride and groom got married. We walked in and stood before our seats while the bride walked the groom down the aisle.

    Another wedding I went to everyone sat down, including the couple getting married. If you do decide to pull chairs out, make sure you (or whomever is manhandling the chairs) have practiced picking them up beforehand so they know how heavy it is.

  10. I was in a wedding this spring where only the best man and maid of honor stood during the ceremony, and the rest of us sat in the first row. Having the maid of Honor standing was helpful for the bride for straightening out her train and taking her bouquet. I would highly recommend that the seating plan is practiced during the rehearsal, and that everyone knows what the deal is because the bride's grandparents sat where we were supposed to which caused some last minute maneuvering of us into the 2nd row. All in all, it was really nice to sit and be able to see everything though.

    1 agrees
  11. This is one of those brilliantly obvious ideas that only seem obvious after someone else points it out lol…I love it! I think I'll have my wedding party either sit in the front row or in a row of specifically angled chairs.
    Anyone ever have family members (specifically parents) who were offended by this set-up?

    1 agrees
  12. The week before a friend's wedding I stepped on a camping spike and thus rendered my foot useless. Then @ the wedding she had us standing for the ENTIRE ceremony. I ended up having to ditch my sparkly silver heels for flat black sandals.

    For my upcoming wedding I will be seating my bridal party in the second row (family in front). Not just because of my experience but because I have a thoroughly pregnant MoH and another brideslave that is disabled. Plus I hate to make people stand around doing nothing.

  13. Make sure they know WHEN to sit down. I attended a friend's wedding a few years ago and the rabbi skipped over the part where he was supposed to tell everyone to sit down after the bride entered… we stood for almost the entire ceremony because half of us weren't Jewish and didn't know if that was totally normal, and the rest just didn't want to be rude by being the first to sit! A little off topic, but the moral of the story is… remember to have a cue, and to use it!

    2 agree
  14. I wanted our wedding party standing up with us, but we ended up in the smallest wedding venue ever, so the girls had to sit. I just put them in the chairs closest to the front and called it a day. By that point, I was stressed enough to just want to get the show on the road. Who cares about details when I have a perfect man to marry?

    1 agrees
  15. This was a dilemma for us, because of the size of our wedding party. I wanted someone to stand up there with us (more of the comfort factor, for me at least, also took a little pressure off of all eyes on us). But with 7 bridesmaids, it would have been a little crowded! We did a processional, and the wedding party stood until I came in, and when our officiant told everyone to sit, our wedding party all sat down in the front pew – minus the best man and maid of honor, who stood up there with us. Best of both worlds, for me at least.

    3 agree
  16. If you're going to have your wedding party sit in the front rows, do make sure those rows are designated for them so that family/friends don't sit there. At the last wedding in which I was a bridesmaid, for some reason a pew was left open for the groomsmen, who all sat comfortably during the (exceedingly long) ceremony, while we bridesmaids stood to one side and tried to balance on our aching feet, because family had taken the matching pew on our side. Normally it's not a problem to stand, but if your ceremony's going to be very long and involved, seating would definitely be appreciated.

  17. We had to stand at my sister in law's wedding. Even through three different kinds of painkillers, and slipping my shoes off under my dress, standing for the whole ceremony really jacked up my bad joints. (Embarrassing myself having to walk up to do a reading after every muscle in my body locked up wasn't fun either, but people keep assuring me it wasn't actually that obvious.) One of the other bridesmaids wasn't even supposed to be walking at the time, let alone standing that long!

    Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that it is the traditional way and everything, but for that reason I don't even think it occurred to anyone that we might be better off sitting down. Then again, we would have had that issue with the strapless dresses as linked above!

    I was at another wedding years later, a traditional Catholic wedding–EVERYBODY SAT. The front pew was for the wedding party, and the bride and groom actually even sat off to one side on the dais (ahem, behind a pillar, where over half the church couldn't see them–oops!). But that's when it clicked that–holy moly, people can sit for the ceremony, that's actually A Thing, and not just one of my Unicorn Wishes.

    • Indeed – I'm having a Catholic wedding and usually the bride and groom are given seats, because standing up for the full ceremony would be tiring, and also the religious service requires different places where you stand, sit and kneel.

  18. We just left our first two rows of seats "reserved" when guests were filing in, and as our wedding party walked down the aisle, they filed into those seats. It worked out perfectly, and there are some really beautiful pictures of our parents/wedding party looking on during the ceremony.

  19. I am SO glad I found this post, I was getting unnecessarily worked up trying to figure out whether I was the first person to ever wonder, "Can I just let them sit??" I think I'll ask the opinion of my bridal brigade, but it just seems sensible to me! I imagine they'd actually prefer it.

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