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Avoid this Awkward Ceremony Moment…


As a Planner we want everything to look seamless to the guests even when things may not be going as planned behind the scenes.

One of the first impressions that guests have on the wedding day is the Ceremony…they are taking in the surroundings, looking at the beautiful flowers & decor, the Ceremony altar, and waiting excitedly for the Ceremony to begin.

The last thing that you want to do as a Planner is to ruin this FIRST PERFECT IMPRESSION by having to awkwardly make your way to the front of the Ceremony and start re-arranging chairs because you’ve discovered that guests have sat in seats that are needed for VIPs.

In most cases guests will leave the front row for family, but what if you actually need some seats just behind the front row for other VIPs? The guests are not going to know this and might just take those seats. Unless of course you have RESERVED signs for those seats OR have Ushers that are guiding guests to available seats.

I had the honour of attending a wedding recently and this exact scenario is what played out, hence why I’m sharing it with you. There was a SIMPLE learning lesson here that I want share so that you don’t make the same mistake that the Coordinator of this wedding made.

When we arrived at the Ceremony there were no Ushers or Reserved signs so as wedding etiquette states we left the first row empty for family and sat in the second row (as we are extended family).

Just before the ceremony began the Coordinator came walking to the front of the aisle and looked at the seats with a puzzled look on her face. I knew exactly what was happening; she needed some extra seats at the front for the VIPs. So she started grabbing empty seats that she found further back and brought them to the front. HOW AWKWARD?? She just smashed that perfect illusion that we all strive for as Planners.

This can all be avoided with a couple SIMPLE STEPS.

First, when you are discussing the ceremony with the Bride & Groom during the planning/finalizing, figure out how many assigned seats will be needed for the VIPS and those that will be walking down during the Processional and need to take a seat when they get to the front.

If you are having Ushers and NO Reserved signs, make sure they know exactly how many seats are required for the VIPs.

If your Bride & Groom are NOT planning on having “pretty” Reserved signs made up (which we would advise if they are having more VIPs than the first row will allow), then we go to our EMERGENCY TOOLBOX.

We always carry Reserved signs in our Toolbox so that we can save seats for those VIPS BEFORE guests start to arrive.

It’s that simple. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into my Toolbox and pulled out those trusty Reserved signs. I’ve avoided that awkward moment of having to move guests out of specific seats or add seats to the row with this simple solution. That FIRST PERFECT IMPRESSION is kept in tact!

With that said, the one time when it’s NOT awkward having the Planner moving things around at the ceremony is when you are encouraging guests that may have AVOIDED sitting at the front to fill some of those empty seats.

Once everyone is sat and the VIP seats are Reserved, the front of the Ceremony should be filled with happy guests. When the Bride & Groom look at the guests during the ceremony you want them to see smiling family & friends, not empty seats.

So in this case don’t be afraid to ask guests that are sitting at the back to fill some of those empty seats. Guests WILL notice this as a POSITIVE move and see how detailed and aware you are of the “little things”. That will be a checkmark in the “Good Planner” column. 😉

What are some of your tips for maintaining that first PERFECT Ceremony impression for the guests? Share your tips with us in the Become an Incredible Wedding Planner Online Community. Or ask us any of your wedding questions…


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– Sarah & Genève


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