Complementary to Henry´s answer. Yes, it may (or may not) make a difference, it depends.http://www.thefreedictionary.com/beside
beside – besides
1. 'beside'If one thing is beside another
, it is next to it or at the side of it.
Beside the shed was a huge tree.I sat down beside my wife.
As you can see reading the last sentence, one could be misled with "beside" there. It would be advisable (and more precise) to use one of the two sentences:
"I sat down next to my wife" or
"I sat down at the side of my wife."
With wich would convey exactly what the speaker of the sentence meant.
Anyway, chances are that the native be aware of the couple of senses, and understand just the same, but it´s good, at least sometimes, to avoid ambivalence.