Are you having a wedding in the near future and are unsure of the order of who walks down the aisle? Here is everything you need about your wedding processional order.
Traditional Wedding Procession Order
This is the most common and traditional wedding procession order to help you understand when people in your wedding party should walk down the aisle.
The officiant is traditionally the first person to enter the ceremony venue. The officiant often stands on the stage in the middle, right before where the bride and groom should be standing during the ceremony.
The officiant marks the middle of the venue and allows the groomsmen and bridesmaids to stand on either side of them.
If you have grandparents in attendance at your ceremony, make them a special part and let them walk out first and find their seats. Usually direct family members of the bride and groom sit on their respective sides in the front row to get an up close view of you and your partner exchanging vows.
Next up to enter the ceremony should be the groom’s parents. The groom’s parents do not walk him down the aisle, so they need to enter the space and sit on their respective side of the aisle for the wedding.
Some grooms do choose to have their parents walk them down the aisle, as a way of making them feel included and represented in the wedding.
4. Mother of the Bride
Usually the entrance of the bride’s mother is an important step in the processional as it marks the beginning of the ceremony. Usually when the parents sit on their respective sides of the room, it signals to your guests to quiet down because the ceremony is about to begin.
Depending on your preference, you may choose which side of the family sits on each side of the venue room. Traditionally the bride’s family sits on the left side of the aisle and the groom’s family sits on the right side of the aisle.
After the mother of the bride, the groom is supposed to walk in from the side of the altar.
Traditionally the groom does not walk down the aisle, and he walks in from the side to join the officiant at the middle of the venue space. This gives the groom a perfect view of his bride walking down the aisle to him.
6. Best Man
The best man should join the groom at the altar next. It is important to recognize your best man by allowing him to walk out before the other groomsmen if you are best friends or want him to be recognized.
Sometimes the groom will ask his best man to carry the bride’s ring to the altar if you do not want a ring bearer.
The groomsmen then begin the actual wedding processional of the wedding party by entering. They should enter one by one, in a slow paced walk that is proper for walking down the aisle. They should join the best man on their respective side of the aisle to watch the ceremony unfold.
The bridesmaids then enter the ceremony before the maid of honor. Bridesmaids should walk in a slow, paced walk similar to the groomsmen.
If you would rather have the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk down the aisle together, you can choose to have the groomsmen escort the bridesmaids down the aisle. This is typically what happens during the recessional part of the ceremony.
9. Maid/Matron of Honor
It is important to make sure that the maid of honor enters after the bridesmaids. This is different from the best man because she is granted the task of helping the bride and all of the bridesmaids.
The job of the maid of honor is to assist the bride with her dress and make sure everything is perfect before walking down the aisle herself. During the ceremony, the maid of honor will occasionally hold the bride’s bouquet or the groom’s ring if you decide not to have a ring bearer.
10. Ring Bearer
If you have a young, male family member you may want to ask if he would be willing to. The job of the ring bearer is to carry the rings down the aisle and add a special touch to your ceremony by including younger family members.
If you are too nervous to let the ring bearer carry the actual rings, give him fake rings to carry down the aisle and let your maid of honor and best man take care of the real rings.
11. Flower Girl
The flower girl is another chance to include younger family members at your wedding. The flower girl is typically a younger, female family member who is not old enough to be a bridesmaid.
She is asked to walk down the aisle with a basket of flower petals to spread on the aisle before the bride makes her debut. Once the ring bearer and flower girl walk down the aisle they should then be seated with their family members so the bride can enter.
12. Bride and Father of the Bride
Finally, it’s the bride’s turn to make her entrance into the ceremony. If the bride chooses to have her father walk you down the aisle, he should escort her. By linking arms, the bride and her father should make their way down the aisle in a slow, paced manner so guests can view the bride’s gown.
Next, it is the father’s job to then “give her away” to the groom. Typically this is shown by shaking the groom’s hand and giving him his blessing. After that, the father lifts the bride’s veil and takes his seat.
Exceptions to Traditional Wedding Procession Order
Depending on you and your partners religious beliefs, the order of the processional order may vary. For example, Jewish brides are typically escorted down the aisle with both their mother and father. This is different from the traditional “giving away of the bride” that happens when the father walks his daughter down the aisle.
Other religions, such as Hinduism, make the procession much different by letting the groom enter the ceremony on a white horse while everyone else dances around him.
While differing cultures may affect your wedding procession, there are really no exact rules for weddings, and you should do what you feel is best for you and your partner.
How to Practice Your Wedding Procession
Usually brides choose to have a rehearsal of the ceremony before the special day. This is traditionally done the night before the wedding, on a Friday. This event is typically followed by the rehearsal dinner where all your special guests and members of your wedding party have a nice dinner before you finally get married.
During the wedding rehearsal, typically the wedding planner or coordinator is in charge of organizing and letting people know when they should enter. Since the officiant is usually the first one to enter the space at the beginning of the ceremony, he or she cannot direct when people enter the venue.
If you do not have a wedding planner, ask an assertive close friend or family member who is not part of the bridal party or in the wedding to direct people.
Make sure this person isn’t afraid to talk to people and be a leader. If you have a close friend or family member who is a teacher, that would be the best solution.
This person should also be able to help you on the actual day of the wedding as well as the rehearsal in case some members of the wedding forget their directions on the day of.
You should first explain to people where they will be sitting or standing at the ceremony. This will give people a direction of where to go once they walk down the aisle, which is ultimately the most important part. Once you know this, then you can practice the recessional which is the order of people walking out of the venue.
Finally, practice the processional. This is often the most tricky part of the wedding ceremony and the most stressful. Remember that the processional is a traditional and beautiful part of your ceremony, so make sure you practice it well so it goes smoothly on the day of.
The Wedding Procession Order in Short
Overall, your wedding party and guests important to you should walk in a predetermined order. This is a traditional aspect to weddings and is important to master before your wedding day.
Make sure everyone knows when they should enter your ceremony venue by practicing the wedding procession beforehand.
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