The traditional sides for the bride and groom

The traditional sides for the bride and groom

A common conversation I have with brides and grooms is “what side do I stand on?”. I really dislike this question, only because it implies there’s a correct side and an incorrect side for a bride and groom to stand on in a wedding ceremony, which there isn’t. They’re just sides, not battle stations.

If it was high school and you were being picked for the sports team then of course sides matter. Or if you have to choose between house fries or salad, then sides matter. Or if you’re speaking in parliament, sides matter.

But in a wedding there is the traditional standing or the “does it really matter?” standing. Let me explain the difference.

The traditional standing sees the groom on the right, or stage left if that works for you (if you’re looking at the bridal party from the guests he is on the right), and the bride on the left. This traditional wedding standing order comes from the groom needing to easily access his sword and be able to defend the marriage ceremony taking place, usually because he has just kidnapped his bride and there’s a fairly high chance of sword fighting. And his sword is on his left and he’s right handed.

Outside of that tradion I can’t see any reason for their to be a correct side for a bride or groom to be on.

It’s a personal decision.

Sometimes a bride and groom could stand on the opposite sides of their parents so they can look at them for encouragement. But then some people want to stand on the same side their family is sitting on so they don’t get distracted. Some people, brides and grooms, have a “better” side for hair or makeup. So that’s a good reason to stand on a side.

Feel liberated: there are no sides. Just choose the side that works best for the ceremony location, or for the makeup or hair, or for the walk-in, or for the photos, or for the video, or for the celebrant, or for whatever reason that doesn’t have the word tradition in it.

Unless of course you’re expecting a sword fight then that groom best be on the right. And his best man should be the best sword fighter.

Feature photo for this blog post is by Sam Varendorff.