Reserving seats for family members at your wedding ceremony seems pretty easy in theory, but once you start considering the fact that some of these people will be part of the processional, you'll see that it's actually kind of tricky. To get a better understanding on how to save seats, we reached out to wedding planners Emily Reno of Weddings and Events by Emily, Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss and Carrie Gentry of Touch of Elegance Events & Designs to get their best ideas for saving seats for family members on the big day.
Go the Traditional Route
Why fix what isn't broken? "There are many ways to reserve seats for families who are walking down the aisle," says Gentry. "The most common is to decorate the first aisle chair of the row that the family is sitting in. If you're already decorating the aisles, you can create a small reserved sign that matches the color scheme and design of your programs."
Why not take this as an opportunity to personalize? "While it might be easy to lay down a ribbon or add a pew marker, why not do something unique?" says Sheils. "Here are a few ideas: Polaroids of the person whose seat it is, or a photo from their own wedding day are nice touches. We also love sending messages, either through a personal thank-you note for each family member or with their names. Personalized sunglasses, fans, or umbrellas, all weather-dependent, also make for fun way to both recognize the significance of these people while serving a purpose during the ceremony."
Reno says that, no matter how you reserve seats, it's important to make sure that everyone knows where they're going to sit ahead of time. "Before the wedding, I have my clients fill out a form that lists the names of the family members who will be in the first few rows and exactly where each person should sit," she says. "We go over this with any family members at the rehearsal, and we show them their exact seat for the next day so there's no confusion." Ushers can also ensure that guests end up in the right seat, either by guiding family members to their assigned spots or keeping other guests from sitting in those chairs.