The recession of the wedding party occurs after vows are made and rings are swapped and the officiant presents the newly wedded couple. One recession option is to stop to greet parents and grandparents on the way out, a thoughtful gesture of love and appreciation. Some brides offer a single rose or other flower from their bouquet to the mothers. The couple greets the bride’s family first. While you’re greeting the parents, the rest of the attendants are pairing up and lining up to walk back up the aisle.
The basic recession order, especially for Christian weddings is as follows:
Bride and groom
Flower girl and ring bearer
Maid or matron of honor and best man
Remaining bridesmaids and groomsmen in the reverse order of how they walked in during the processional
Parents of the bride, followed by parents of the groom
Grandparents of the bride, followed by grandparents of the groom.
Jewish recessionals are similar, but the parents and grandparents follow the bride and groom. The rest of the bridal party follows in the same order, with the cantor and rabbi at the end.
After the wedding party has exited, two ushers can dismiss your guests, from front to back. The ushers stand at the end of each row facing the back of the site, and step forward to the next row when the one in front of it has emptied. Both sides exit at the same time, with guests waiting patiently until it’s their turn to leave.
You may choose to release the guests yourselves. To do so, you simply return to the front of the church after the recessional and briefly greet your guests as they exit their rows. This activity takes place of the traditional receiving line.