How can I make sure guests please DON’T stand for the Bride?

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everyone (except for me, my dad, and everyone sitting under the balcony)
One of the unspoken wedding traditions that drives me nuts is when everyone stands up for the bride.

I know it's an old tradition and it's a respect thing (or something like that. I'm not totally positive of the background). But why just for the Bride?

Is anyone planning/have you seen anyone address this? Do you ask the guests to remain seated? Do you ask them to stand as the groom comes down the aisle? -beccamink

Your shorter guests certainly will thank you for this! (As one Offbeat Bride Tribe member said, “So out of respect of the shorter individuals, everyone can SIT THE FUCK DOWN.”) Our best suggestion would be to put a note in the program or have your officiant say something (possibly something funny) to let guests know.

Don't want people to stand up when you walk in? How are you telling guests?

Comments on How can I make sure guests please DON’T stand for the Bride?

  1. You know, I had seen this happen at other wedding but somehow never noticed people being told to stand. Then I forgot all about it, and didn’t write anything for anyone to say about it either way. When I walked in, everyone stayed in their seats since they hadn’t been instructed otherwise. I didn’t really care either way, but it was unexpectedly nice because it meant I could look down the aisles and see everyone’s face, beaming at me–people on the edges would’ve been invisible to me had they all stood up.

    So perhaps, if you’ve got a literalist group like mine, you just don’t mention it at all and no one will stand.

    • People have automatically stood up at MOST weddings that I have either attended, or watched on TV.

      My mother was a (much sought-after) wedding coordinator, and she always had to have the officiate reiterate to the wedding guests to ‘please remain seated’ since they didn’t pay attention to the ‘please remain seated’ info that would be printed in the bulletin.

      The reason? So that everyone would be able to see.

      If there is a rule-of-thumb to go by it is that if the mother-of-the-bride stands, then everyone follows suit.

  2. I think you have three options:
    1. Make it very clear in programs that you want people to stay seated the whole time.
    2. Don’t walk down the aisle.
    3. Ask people to stay standing until you reach the altar.

    This tradition is ingrained in the collective guest psyche. Even if you ask people not to do it, they may do it anyway. People are well known for messing up requests that go against what they’ve always been taught, clinking glasses at the reception as a perfect example.

    You could choose to walk in from a different entrance as a surprise. When I got married, my husband and I switched places. I didn’t want to be given away and he did, so I hung out at the front with the officiant and Husband’s mom walked him down the aisle.

    If your problem with this tradition is that people only stand for the bride, you could have your ushers escort people to their seats and instruct them to stay standing for the procession. Then the officiant can tell people to sit after you reach the front.

    • Oh man, I hate the clinking glasses thing. I meant to find a way to deflect it for my own wedding, but forgot! Somehow it never came up….maybe because we just had bottled water, mini soda bottles, and juice boxes instead of glasses. Nothing to clink on!

  3. I went to a wedding once that began with the officiant saying a few words, then finishing with “Let’s begin: please remain seated during the entire procession.” This would also be a good time for other instructions, like “no cameras, y’all.”
    I thought it was a really nice start to the wedding. I always felt like the music striking up and the wedding party entering was an abrupt start–at some weddings, people are still just sitting down at that point and even still talking.

  4. Being as I’m from the midwest (the heart and soul – good ole South Dakota) people tend to stand whether you like it or not. I have noticed that when there is a dinner theater style arrangement (tables and chairs) people are more likely to stay seated. I’ve never thought about it to be perfectly honest… I hope people stay seated for the most part. I went to a wedding where there was a lot of up down up down up down for hymns and readings of scripture and the like; that feels much like a church service to me. Since when am I the most important thing about a wedding? = to God? I think not….

    • Bit confused about your point here – if it was a wedding ceremony with hymns and scripture, then surely it WAS a church service? 🙂

      • Typically there are a few reading over the bride and groom, a sermon on the true meaning of love in a relationship. Sometimes hymns are sung. It depends on the branch of Christianity, the church and the officiant/pastor.

        • Catholics include an entire mass in their wedding ceremony. It’s insanely long. I can’t imagine being a bride and having to stand there the whole time.

    • Well most Christian faiths believe that the marriage arrangement was created by God and it’s common for Christian couples acknowledge it in different ways throughout the ceremony. This was probably their way of celebrating their faith in their marriage. Every couple and their faith is different…

  5. I was at my cousins wedding and the JP DID NOT tell everyone to sit down so they didn’t. Yes they were a crowd of idiots. For my wedding it would be hard for some people to stand so I would like the announcement of people sitting during the procession but I was also thinking how many swivel chairs we’d have to buy!!

    • Was this my wedding?? Seriously, this is why my advice for all brides is that the first words out of the officiant’s mouth should always be, “Please be seated.”

    • In defense of wedding guests, I was at a wedding last weekend where the officiant didn’t tell us to sit so we didn’t. My first thought was honestly that he was going to do some sort of community vow/affirmation thing, since he started off talking about the importance of community, and then when it was clear he’d just forgotten, peer pressure and not wanting to disturb the ceremony kept me standing (thankfully it was only 15 minutes).

      But yes, this does happen, and we will be reminding our officiant to ask people to sit. We’re paying $4.75 a chair, ffs!

  6. We got married in my in-laws backyard, and to save the hassle of moving all of the chairs from the ceremony area to the reception tables we just had everybody stand during the ceremony. It worked out well because it meant no transition time.

  7. I completely forgot that standing for the bride was a thing, until I stepped toward the aisle on my wedding day, and everybody stood up! it took me by surprise, actually, and then my dress got caught on something (or my dad stepped on it. i’m not really sure what happened, but we were outdoors so it could have been anything) and then I felt guilty that the guests were all still standing there staring. And my bridesmaid who was singing had to throw in an extra instrumental verse because everything took longer than we planned. Between all of this, and trying to see who all was there for guests, I completely forgot to even look at my husband. I got to the end of the aisle, faced him and went “OH. HI!” because I basically forgot he was there in all the chaos. It was not my finest moment.
    We wrote our own ceremony though, so I know the JP never asked everybody to stand. People are going to do what they’re going to do. You can ask them not to (we had our JP ask people to put away their cameras before the ceremony. if I’d been thinking, I might have asked him to tell people not to stand). The question is, does asking people not to stand draw more attention to the whole thing, and is that what you want? (if it is a patriarchal tradition you want to draw attention to and defy) or is it a case of not wanting the attention, because then you might actually be better just letting people decide to stand or not on their own.

  8. I think it could be as simple as this:
    *The music starts (or I guess if there is no music, whatever the cue is for whoever is walking down the aisle)
    *The officiant says to the crowd “will everyone please stand.”
    *You guys all walk down the aisle
    *The officiant asks everyone to be seated

    This seems like a good solution if you don’t mind people standing for everyone, not just the bride. If you don’t want people standing at all, maybe the officiant could says (as the music, etc. starts) “Please stay seated throughout the entirety of the processional.”

    Really it comes down to knowing your group. If you think you can get away with saying something clever, do it. Just know, some people may not know if the officiant (or the wedding program) is being serious and do it anyway. Keep in mind, it only takes one person to start the standing. If one person does it, everyone is going to do it. Like sheep 🙂 I’d say, go for clarity over humor.

  9. Basically seconding what everyone else has said; having your officiant ask “will everyone please remain seated” seems like a good way to go.

    My initial thought was to write “program notes” like the kind you get in playbills announcing that an understudy will be performing tonight…except instead they’re notes saying something like “At the request of the bride, please remain seated throughout the entire ceremony.”

    Or whatever you choose to do…”at the request of the bride, please stand once the procession music starts” or somesuch.

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