How to Organize a Wedding Procession
6 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Organizing a Wedding Party
The wedding procession, or entrance of the bridal party, occurs in a certain order that culminates with the bride. The bridal procession begins after all guests are seated and the processional (the music) has started. Bridal processions vary, depending on the style of the ceremony, but the traditional order of appearance (especially for a Christian wedding) is as follows:
The officiant, groom and best man take their places to the right of the altar, usually entering through a side door, and face the guests.
Groomsmen can either take their places with the groom and best man or escort the bridesmaids down the aisle (bridesmaid on the left, groomsman on the right). If they escort the bridesmaids, they can either walk with them from the back of the ceremony site or start with the groom and meet them halfway down the aisle, escorting them the rest of the way. When they arrive at the altar, they turn to face the guests.
Bridesmaids enter through the back of the ceremony site, either alone or with the groomsmen.
After they arrive at the altar, they turn to face the guests. Try to line up the attendants by height, shortest to tallest on each side, with the shortest walking in first.
The maid or matron of honor is the last of the bride’s attendants to walk down the aisle, either alone or with the best man.
The ring bearer walks in next.
The flower girl walks in just before the bride.
It’s common to have two flower girls, in which case they walk in together. It’s also acceptable for the ring bearer and flower girl to enter together, or for the maid or matron of honor to walk behind them. Depending on their ages, the flower girl and ring bearer may sit with their families instead of standing with the rest of the attendants.
Last to come down the aisle is the bride, who traditionally walks on her escort’s left arm.
Some couples choose to have the bride walk on the right so that no one is between her and the groom when she arrives at the altar.Traditionally, the bride's escort is on her right, but feel free to break tradition.
Make sure your attendants practice pacing themselves about for to six rows apart and walking serenely down the aisle at the rehearsal. Nervousness tends to make people rush down the aisle — which doesn’t make for a very elegant entrance.
The basic Jewish processional is as follows:
The cantor and rabbi take their places in the front of the ceremony site.
The bride’s grandparents, followed by the groom’s grandparents, may choose to take part in the processional instead of being seated beforehand.
The ushers file down the aisle in pairs (shortest to tallest), followed by the best man and then the groom, who may or may not be escorted by both parents, his mother on the right and father on the left.
The bridesmaids may walk in individually or in pairs.
The maid or matron of honor comes in after all the bridesmaids, followed by the ring bearer and then the flower girl.
The bride enters last, with an escort on her right side. If the bride is escorted by both parents, her mother is on the right, and her father is on the left.In some Jewish wedding processions, both parents accompany the bride.