Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My niece’s upcoming ceremony and reception are at a New Orleans location that fits about 60 chairs and she will have about 150 guests. She is worried about folks having to stand during the 10 to 15 minute ceremony. How do you determine who sits?

Answer: It’s becoming more and more common to have limited seating both for ceremonies and receptions. Couples are opting for smaller, more intimate settings and are able to achieve this — while still having the desired number of guests — by planning a ceremony with limited seating and cocktail-style receptions. The best way to guarantee that guests of honor (parents, grandparents and other immediate family), as well as pregnant, elderly and special needs attendees are able to sit is to reserve seats. This is as simple as indicating reserved seats with signage and also informing your ushers. You can go so far as to have a calligrapher make guest-specific signage that coordinates with the decorative theme (for example, “Reserved for the Mother of the Bride”) or you can purchase ready-made signage that’s more generic. In the even that a guest sits in a reserved seat that isn’t for him or her, have your wedding coordinator, usher, a groomsman, bridesmaid or other helper politely ask them to free up the seat for its intended person. As with most requests to your wedding guests, it’s all about offering the correct information at the start.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.


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