Is mixed seating at weddings ok? Can you explain why we sometimes see mixed weddings and sometimes not. Is it family traditions? 30 years ago it appears in old pictures that mixed weddings were ok.

Answer:

It is certainly preferable that seating should be separate.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (149:1) writes that when seating is mixed, the blessing “she-ha-simchah bim’ono” is not recited, because this is not a situation of simchah, but of tza’ar.

Other authorities argue that because mixed seating has become customary, the blessing can be recited even when seating is mixed (see Levush, Minhagim 36). Of course, this refers to mixed seating where women are modestly dressed.

Dancing must either way be separate, with a partition between men and women.

The question of mixed or separate seating is not related to family tradition, but a question of religious observance. Today, unlike previous generations, the custom (without exception) among the strictly Orthodox is to have separate seating.

2 Responses to “Mixed Seating at Weddings”

  1. even according to the lenient opinions that we say shehasimcha bemoino, lechoira if there is mixed dancing they would also be modeh that this is not said. is this a correct assumption?

    • Mixed dancing (unlike mixed seating) involves a concrete prohibition. However, this will not necessarily affect the recitation of the berachah. This is not a case of a stolen esrog whereby we have a mitzvah ha-ba beAveira. Therefore, although being present will depend on the particular circumstances (it’s possible that the sheva berachos will be before the dancing), it appears that the berachah can still be made, excepting those Poskim who tie the berachah to the appropriateness of the function.

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