Here Come the (People Before) the Bride

The wedding planning universe is a funny, funny place. It’s full of pretty meaningless details that can go from being completely ignored to absolutely essential in a manner of hours — nay, minutes. For us, the most recent wrench has been the ceremony’s seating of the parents. Warning: You’re about to dive into a logistical nightmare of epic proportions, with every combination of our bridal party doing an endless number of things. You’ve been cautioned.

We thought we’d pretty much figured this out at our meeting last month with the officiant: The Reverend, Mr. Ladyfingers, and his groomsmen would file in from the side of the lawn, along with FFIL Ladyfingers, who would just kind of sit down without fanfare. Then, we’d do a special song for seating Mr. LF’s mother and my dad’s fiancee, and then the bridesmaid processional song would begin, followed by my processional song.

Then, I got on the phone with our caterer/coordinator to do our ceremony appointment — and it’s been a crapstorm all afternoon since.



Scottish-style bridal processional/Image via Blue Bonnet Tartan Weddings/Photo by Alison Cooke Photography

Her line of questioning, along with my vague grasp of what we’d decided in the first place, ended in an all-afternoon email session with Mr. LF on why MY way of seating the parents is the RIGHT way. He’s voiced his opinion, and I keep deciding he’s wrong. This is clearly not in the spirit of collaborative wedding planning — nor in the spirit of the ceremony in general.

I keep getting hung up on family dynamic — his parents are divorced, and my mother is deceased. And I can’t seem to recall a single way I’ve seen this done at any other wedding.

Our options so far have been:

1. The way we originally decided: Reverend, groom, groomsmen file into positions, groom’s dad files behind them and sits in the front row, groom’s mother and my dad’s fiancee each come down the aisle, solo and individually. Pros: Nobody sticks out, nobody feels awkward, the ladies get recognized, and Mr. LF’s happy because it doesn’t involve him coming down the aisle. Cons: Potentially isolating to have the mom and future-stepmom walk down all by their lonesome.

2. The way that, today, I decided was the right way: Reverend comes out from the side, Mr. LF’s dad comes down the aisle, Mr. LF escorts his mother down the aisle and takes his spot next to the Reverend, Best Man escorts my future-stepmom and takes his spot next to Mr. LF, remaining three groomsmen file into place from the side, and bridesmaid processional follows. Pros: Nice and sweet to have Mr. LF escort his mother; neither of the ladies have to stick out; smooth order of things. Cons: The big one – Mr. LF really doesn’t want to walk down the aisle. He’s never seen this done and thinks we should reserve it for me and my dad. Also, his dad would be coming down solo, which might be weird.


Photo by Sarah McGee Photography

3. The alternative our caterer proposed: No special seating for parents. They just come and sit whenever, Reverend, Mr. LF. and groomsmen file into position, and processonal music cues bridesmaids. Pros: We don’t have to try to figure out a solitary thing. Cons: This seems super informal and almost like cheating the parents in a weird way that probably only exists in my head.

Image via Another Damn Wedding/Photo by Christina Richards

4. The alternative Mr. LF proposed – a combo of #1 and #2: Reverend, Mr. LF, and groomsmen (minus one) file into position from side; Mr LF’s parents come down the aisle together; one groomsman escorts my future-stepmom down the aisle; followed by bridesmaid processional. Pros: Solves the issue of John coming down the aisle, in addition to the issue of no lady being solo. Cons: I don’t know that Mr. LF’s parents, being divorced, would be OK coming down the aisle all couple-like.

Photo by Luster Studios

So, assuming you’ve made it through my senseless blather, which do you prefer?





Some other combination of seating (explain in comments).

Did you have crazed thoughts about how to organize your processional? If you had divorced parents and step/future-step parents in the mix, how did you handle things?

P.S. Go figure — another option has cropped up: The groom escorting both the mother and the father down the aisle. A winner, assuming I can move Mr. LF to stop being scared of walking down the aisle?

Image via Delightfully Engaged/Photo by Beautiful Day Photography


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