I didn't even think of this, but during the vows (we had a catholic mass) we were standing on the altar that (about 3 steps above the main congregation floor) and the priest was just below us on the main level. He didn't block anyone's view and they got to see our faces. Looking back i think it was a great idea, but probably wouldn't be unless the couple is raised like we were.
Thanks all. I can't remember where I saw this configuration, but it was a while ago, way before I was planning my wedding. I wrote the post right before I went to bed last night from my tablet, so I left out some key information:
I seem to recall that the officiant stood a bit back from the couple. I get that it's very non-traditional; a change like this. I would think that at the start, the OF would be standing, facing the audience with the groom and his party, only taking the back facing position after we have turned to face everyone. So, any opening remarks can be made during that timeframe.
In addition. I've asked the hotel if we can do half circle chair arrangement, rather than theatre style. They seemed a bit stumped by the request, but said it could most likely be done, which will help with everyone being able to see.
I feel like most weddings I see the back of the bride and groom. I only get to see them during vows and during the recessional. I imagine it something like a conductor - who has his back to the audience, but is the one making it all happen!
Edited for clarity
I've seen this... some guy advertises his "modern wedding ceremonies" or something like this. Ok, found his website: http://www.dayofdreams.com/Facing_Your_Guests.htm I kind of like the idea, and if you're going to be mic'd anyway, I don't see an issue. Your guests aren't there to look at your officiant anyway, they are there to see the B&G get married, so seeing their faces may work out better. This is something we are considering, but it depends on your venue layout.