When planning your ceremony there are a great many things to take into consideration, especially so if you're planning to merge and observe two religions and their respective traditions or are trying desperately to wrangle an unruly seating plan. To aid in the planning, we've put together a few things of note:
In Christian ceremonies:
The bride’s guests sit on the left side of the aisle and the groom’s guests sit to the right. Parents and grandparents sit in the front rows; siblings (and their spouses) sit in the second row.
In Jewish ceremonies:
The two sets of parents stand under the chuppah while grandparents and siblings sit in the first few pews. The bride’s guests sit on the right side of the aisle with the groom’s on the left, except if the wedding is Orthodox. In that instance, men sit on one side, women on the other. In all cases, if the number of guests coming for the couple isn’t proportional, you can even up the sides.
If you're having a military wedding:
You'll need to consider the ranking of your wedding guests and develop a seating plan. Consult with a representative from your or your fiancé’s branch of service for specific guidelines.
If you want to save certain seats for family members and important guests:
Rope off the first five rows. Also, be sure to insert pew cards into the invitations of guests who should get prime seats.
For seating in a nonreligious venue:
Instead of having two “sides,” arrange seats in a circle and recite your vows surrounded by friends and family, or replace chairs with couches or benches.
For outdoor ceremonies:
Seat guests on cloth-covered hay bales, picnic blankets or even on heaps of large Moroccan-style cushions.
Other Traditional Ceremony Ideas:
*The Lighting of a Unity Candle: * In many Christian ceremonies, the bride’s parents light a candle, and then the groom’s parents light another. Together, the bride and groom use these two candles to light a third, larger candle of their own. This ritual represents the joining of two families in a love that burns as brightly as a flame. (We sell unity candles in our new online store! - check them out here)
In a ritual that originated in Great Britain during pagan times, the bride and groom bind their hands together with a ribbon, symbolising the joining of their lives. Today, many couples do this immediately before or after the exchange of rings.
*Rose Presentation: *
Some brides and grooms will present a single rose—a symbol of love—to their mothers early in the ceremony as a gesture of love and gratitude.
In a wedding that includes children from a previous marriage, the new stepparent might present a medallion, charm or other piece of jewellery (like a ring or pin) to the partner’s children during the wedding ceremony. This gift, like the couple’s rings, serves as a reminder of commitment to each member of the newly blended family.
Much like the lighting of the unity candle above, the sand ceremony involves the bride and groom pouring different colour vials of sand into a singular vessel marking their union. This can be simply done into a mason jar or decorative vase however most couples opt to turn it into a keepsake with a sand ceremony vase like this one.
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