Should we have signs at our ceremony to leave the front row vacant for immediate family?

I was thinking maybe this is tacky, but then maybe it's necessary. (Or am I really just overthinking it?) Someone suggested that this is the role of the celebrant - to ensure that it's family in the first row. Is that generally true?

Question Asked: 29/04/2021 Wedding Date: 9/08/2018

Most Helpful Response

Chris White Celebrant

Canberra and surrounding Region

(5) Posted: 4/06/2022

I think most guests know the protocol is family to the front.  With ceremonies I officiate I get there well before any guests arrive and ensure i give the cue for the guests to start to take their seats.  When I make the call that we are about to start I make the announcement that reminds family to the front and request guests fill from the third row.  Some venues rope off the rear rows so guests are coralled to the front rows first before they open the rear rows.  Signs are handy but lets be honest they don't really stop guests doing what they want. 

(3) Posted: 16/08/2021

If done in a creative    way, it helps, people get confused.

Directions always help.


Kerrie Boag Celebrant

Perth & Surroundings

(9) Posted: 28/05/2021

I do not beleive it is necessary to have signing on the front rows.

I always discuss with the couple at the rehearsal on who is sitting at the front, if they would like me to escort the Brides Mother to her seat and any other seating requirement, such as a disabled guest.  

I would announce this before our Bride makes her entrance and ensure everything is in order.  I also ensure there is a bottom on every seat at the ceremony, as it looks awful on your photos if there are numerous empty chairs.

Fiona Winwood Marriage Celebrant

Adelaide metro, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Kuitpo, Barossa Valley

(24) Posted: 25/05/2021

Hello bride to be 

Most weddings I officite people know the front row is for the family; let family members know they are to sit in the front row. Reserved signs do help or an usher if you have large number of guests if your concerned.   

All the best for the big day 


Mary Odgers

South Australia

(26) Posted: 7/05/2021

Guests are mindful that the two front rows are reserved for family.... and often ask the celebrant if this is the case. If you are concerned delegating an usher can be most helpful.

Treasured Ceremonies

Melbourne, All Suburbs, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Yarra Valley

(17) Posted: 7/05/2021

It is down to the most practical person. In a venue they usually take care of this.
As a celebrant i also do this if reqiured, it is no biggy for me.

A simple sing which says RESERVED is sufficient, you dont have to explain yourself.
I also help ensure that the family do in deed get to those seats.

Michelle Cottell - Marriage Celebrant

Blue Mountains and Surrounding Regions

(22) Posted: 4/05/2021

Dear Bride,

that's a great question, and not tacky at all!

In my experience, everyone invited to the wedding knows it is an unspoken rule that the front row is reserved for the family, if not the first two rows!

At my last three weddings, I had to encourage people who were standing, to come and sit in the empty chairs in other rows, so it looks much better in the photos!

But if you wish, it would be easier and more discreet to place a sign in the middle of the front rows, on both sides, saying 'Reserved for Family' with arrows going either side.

Just think, unless all the family have been introduced to the Celebrant, she/he would not know which family members were included in the reserved seating!

Also, I believe that it would be an unnecessary burden for the Celebrant as they have other essential duties to perform leading up to the start time, so all is set to run smoothly. 

Wishing you all the best on your wedding day.

Warm regards, Michelle ??

(62) Posted: 2/05/2021

Hi, you can do either. I've seen it many times that the front row had signs (make them small) so people won't sit there. It's pretty much common knowledge as well to leave the front row free for family so guests would normally not sit there either. Depending on how many chairs you have and family to sit in the front row you can decide as well. Speak to your celebrant if need be to manage this and let your family know as well where to sit. Hope it helps. Best, Andy

Judith Anderson Marriage Celebrant

Geelong and Great Ocean Road / Melbourne

(3) Posted: 1/05/2021

Most guests do realise that the front row is reserved for close family. The rehearsal is the perfect time to talk to your celebrant and instruct them who you woud like to sit where. If there is more than one set of parents on each side, relationships can be a bit tricky and the less tension on the big day, the better. Of course a chair (or two) need to also be kept for those who are walking with the bride. The celebrant will be very experienced in handling this situation.

(37) Posted: 30/04/2021

Not necessary! 
One less thing to worry for you.

Tell your celebrant roughly how many seats you would like for the immidiate family in the front rows and the celebrant would make sure that happens.
It doesn't matter if you need more or less on the day. Other guests would be happy to move seats. 

Megumi :)

Didn't find what you were looking for? Ask your own question and we'll have our experts answer it.