At a church wedding, as guests walk in, the ushers will often ask, “Bride’s side or groom’s side?” Etiquette tells us that in Christian ceremonies, the bride’s guests and family sit on the left, while the groom’s family and guests sit on the right. But why is this?
Tradition tells us that hundreds of years ago, kidnappers often absconded with the bride in order to steal her dowry or brides could be snatched if someone didn’t agree with their union. So, in order that the groom might keep his sword arm free, the bride stood on the other side – the left. Today, in spite of the fact that the groom doesn’t carry a sword (well not often!), you’ll almost always see the bride standing on the groom’s left. It’s also traditional for wedding guests to follow suit – the bride’s guests and family sit on the left, while the groom’s family and guests sit on the right.
People also say that the groom’s positioning on the right may stem from the belief of the right side being considered a position of privilege and power. This harks back to times when women would be seated on the left side of the church, while their husbands sat in the pews to their right.
Our favourite reason is it is also said that as the groom’s heart is located on his left side and the bride therefore stands “under his heart”.
In Jewish weddings this is reversed as in the Synagogue men sit on the left and women sit on the right. Of course, unless your church is strict about tradition, there’s no reason you can’t mix things up. For example, you might have more mutual friends than you do separate friends, or in a same-sex wedding, such questions might not apply. But even if they do, feel free to do whatever feels right for you!
Do you have some favourite wedding memories or traditions? Let us know and we’ll feature them in an upcoming blog.
Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Need some vintage wedding ideas? Come visit one of our upcoming vintage wedding fairs in Stoke Newington, London on 12th October and Chiswick, London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website – http://www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk.
Written by Sarah Gorlov