Which Side Do the Bride and Groom Stand On During the Ceremony?

wedding lights
Photo by Steven Michael Photo

Q: I feel like I always see the bride stand on the left during the ceremony. Is it always done this way and why? – Jillian

A: You are totally right! It is traditional for the bride to stand on the left side of the altar (if you’re facing it), and the groom on the right. But it’s actually the opposite for Jewish weddings, where the bride stands on the right (and her family is on the right side) and the groom on the left.

If you want to switch it up, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t (though if you’re getting married in a house of worship they might have rules against this, so be sure to check.) In fact, the reason WHY the bride stands on the left is actually pretty crazy! It’s because back in the day apparently a groom had to be ready to fight (presumably because he had kidnapped his bride?!), and if he was most likely right-handed, his sword was on his left, so he needed easy access. Uh, that’s romantic. LOL. So, yeah, I don’t think anybody is going to get mad at you if you’re not in a church or temple and you want to switch it up!

that’s the beauty of how weddings have evolved. You can stick to traditions. (If that suits you.) Or you can throw them all out the window. (If that also suits you.) Now you’ll get some side eye from some family members. But guess what: you’re going to get that no matter what you do. So just do what you want! In the end you can make sure that you and your new partner are happy. And that’s all that matters.

SEE MORE: Wedding Ceremony Seating: Who Sits Where?

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