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What side does the bride stand on? Most likely, you have attended a wedding before and you have noticed the bride standing on the left side of the altar. Do you know why the bride stands on the left and the groom on the right of the alter?  We do not know how you would feel about the reason why the bride stands on the left but here is it.

The tradition of the bride standing on the left stems from a tradition called “marriage by capture.” In the old days, the groom needed to keep his right hand free in case he had to reach for his sword to fight off other suitors who wanted to marry his bride just as they were about to tie the knot.

We are unaware of the frequency of this happening back in the day, but this certainly does not happen anymore. Since it has become tradition, the bride continues to stand on the left from the groom. Unless you want to follow tradition, it is not mandatory for the bride to stand on the left. The bride can choose to stand on the right because that might be her good side. However, this might be different in religious wedding ceremonies.

If you are having a religious ceremony, you need to discuss changing sides with your officiant. Your officiant will advise you against it if changing sides went against your religious beliefs. For instance, at Jewish weddings, brides often stand on the right side of the altar instead of the left but in Christian ceremonies, it is the opposite.

What about the best man?

The best man also played a vital role at wedding ceremonies back in the day. The bride’s male family members or other suitors may have come forward to challenge the groom. The best man would join the groom to fight for the bride.

The best man has the responsibility to stand by the groom’s side during the wedding ceremony. He was armed and alert about the possibility of family members or other suitors launching an attack on the groom to stop the wedding and take the bride.

What about the Bridesmaids?

In ancient Rome, the bridesmaids dressed similarly as the bride. They did that to confuse the evil spirits and thwart their plan to whisk the bride away from the groom. The bridesmaids also had the job to fend off all unsuitable suitors wanting the bride’s hand in marriage. In another tradition, the bridesmaids wanted the bride to fool potential suitors who wished evil upon the newlyweds such as a suitor she rejected for marriage.

Is there another explanation?

Another reason why brides stand on the left side of the altar and groom on the left is that back in the day, men and women used to split up when they arrived at the church. The men sat on the right side while the women sat on the left side in the church. Therefore, it made sense for men to stand on the right and the women to stand on the right side.

What is the modern interpretation?

The modern interpretation is that the bride and groom hold hands at the altar to show strength and unity. It also displays their combined resources that they can bring to their union. Another reason is that once married, they both face the guests and bride standing on the right symbolizes her place in his life as his right hand.

For couples following tradition, here are some tips you can follow:

1. Select a Side Where the Sun Does Not Shine

Are you having your wedding ceremony outdoors? If you are, you do not want the sun to get into your either of your eyes. If standing on the right side of the altar means the bride being blinded by the sun, the pictures and videos will capture you squinting and trying to open your eyes to see your groom.

You need to visit your venue with your groom beforehand. You need to choose a place to set up the altar where the sun will not shine on you during the wedding ceremony. Visit the venue at the at time you have your wedding ceremony scheduled to take place. Choose a side that keeps the sun’s rays from blinding both of you during it.

2. Ask Your Hairstylist for Advice

Your hairstylist can also help you choose the side you should stand on during the wedding ceremony. If you are not following tradition or have any religious restrictions on the side you need to stand on, your hairstylist can advise a side you should stand on based on your hairstyle.

For instance, standing on the left may cause your hair to block the guest’s view, so your hairstylist will advise you stand on the right. If you have no choice but to stand on the left, your hairstylist can give you a hairstyle that does not block anyone’s view of you.

3. Consider Your Personal Preference

What do you want? You do not have to stand on the left side if it is your bad side. It is not good for pictures at all. Therefore, you naturally will want to stand on the right side. This way, both the photographer and your guests will see your preferred angle. Again, this can only be done if you are not following tradition and are not having a religious wedding ceremony.

4. Consider Your Guests

You need to consider the seating arrangement for your guests. When you select a side, you can use that knowledge to choose a side to stand at the altar. If your family is seated on the left and you want to give them a close of view of you, stand on the left and vice versa.

In short, it does not matter what side you stand on at the altar. If you do not follow tradition and are not having a religious wedding ceremony, you can choose your preferred side to stand on during it.

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