If you've ever seen a wedding ceremony on television, in a movie, or, better yet, in real life, you know that bridesmaids and groomsmen generally stand on either side of the bride and groom while they swap vows. Some would argue it's one of the most important bridal party tasks, but does that mean that this tradition is actually necessary? Not really! Like most things wedding-related, if you're not excited about the idea of having your wedding party stand throughout the ceremony, they really don't have to.
Although having the bridal party stand is viewed as a traditional part of most weddings, it's not always so. Couples who are having a full Catholic mass, for example, will ask their bridal party to remain seated during the ceremony. Some brides and groom ask just their maid of honor and best man to stand and reserve seats for the bridesmaids and groomsmen in the first and second rows, regardless of whether or not they're having a religious ceremony. If it's important to you to have your entire wedding party seen in the ceremony photos, or else you want to be surrounded by loved ones when as you're officially married, then by all means ask them to stand. But if you're open to the idea of it just being you and your spouse to be up there, there's no reason why they can't sit.
Before you make the final decision, weigh the pros and cons. Just as the bestowing the title of bridesmaid and groomsman on your loved ones is seen as an honor, so too is being asked to stand by your side during the ceremony. If you're nervous about slouching and fidgeting family members and friends, asking them to remain seated will ensure you avoid the problem entirely. You may also want to think about the view your wedding party will have. When your attendants are standing at your sides, they arguably have the worst ceremony view of all; seated, they'll be able to see both you and your new husband or wife as you recite your vows.
If you do choose to have your wedding party sit for the ceremony, you can (and should!) still ask them to walk down the aisle. The processional is a meaningful part of the wedding, and you'll want to highlight their important roles in the wedding in this way. After you're pronounced husband and wife, they can stand and rejoin the recessional.