The Wedding Party Facing the Guests

    With years of experience as a minister, I’ve officiated at hundreds of weddings and seen all kinds of snags.

    When I meet with couples to begin creating their ceremony, I suggest that  the wedding party face the guests, rather than having their backs to them. The bride’s party is still on the left and the groom’s on the right as the guests face them, but now the entire wedding party is turned toward the guests.

    This allows the guests to see and hear the couple more easily, and it greatly simplifies matters for the photographers and videographer. These professionals don’t need to get into odd positions, or stand in the plants to get photos of the significant moments in the ceremony, and they don’t distract from the ceremony.

    In some cases one of both members of the couple is too shy to do this, and wants the traditional configuration. Occasionally the bride’s dress has been chosen in part because of its fabulous back, which she hopes the guests will enjoy. (Yes, a bride did tell me this once.) But usually this variation works well.

    I remind couples that their guests came to see them, not to watch me perform the ceremony. I am careful to shift my position in front of the pair so that the person speaking is not blocked from view during the ceremony.  At other  moments I turn to face the guests as I speak.

    If you’re planning a wedding, consider making this change to include everyone more completely in your ceremony.