Today we're giving you tons of tips on planning your wedding ceremony processional! The order for your wedding processional can be set anyway you want; there is no official wedding party order! Feel free to do what feels right for you. If you're looking for a simple wedding processional, check out these valuable tips!
To help figure out where everybody's going to stand when you're up at the altar getting married and how to seat your parents or grandparents in the front row, grab a FREE copy of our Ceremony Cheat Sheet!
1. Make sure that you leave plenty of room between people walking down the aisle.
Nothing is more critical when planning the order for your wedding processional! Start by considering the width you need. Make sure that there's plenty of space for people to walk down the aisle without banging their elbows against walls or guests. There must be enough space to do this comfortably! The last thing you want is someone falling and tumbling down the aisle. Next is the vertical space, ample enough room that accounts for the gaps between couples. You want to make sure that there's plenty of space in between the groups walking down the aisle.
Don't forget to consider the photographer's need to take pictures with no one photobombing the background. Lastly, think about the time it takes for the music to change in between the groups. For example, when the parents, the wedding party, and the bride walk down the aisle.
2. Make sure that you have helpers for your little ones.
If you have small children in your wedding party processional (anybody underneath the age of four is considered a complete and total wild card) there's no telling what they'll end up doing. Don't worry; guests always think whatever reaction they have is adorable! But at the same time, you'll need someone watching to help get down the aisle. More importantly, being on hand to whisk them away safely if they get too distracted. Should they start to have some sort of emotional breakdown, or they're making way too much noise, it's best to deal with that quickly, so have someone standing by.
3. If you get nervous, look at your partner.
So this can apply to bridesmaids and groomsmen in the wedding processional, but usually, the couple is the nervous ones. Using eye contact with your partner when you are worried is essential, but don't forget to look where you're going. A big issue I see most often is once the couple gets down the aisle, they tend to turn and look at the officiant. To get the best pictures and create those sentimental moments, look into your partner's eyes and not the minister that's marrying you. So be mindful of this when the minister begins to speak!
4. Practice makes perfect.
Even if you have a short wedding ceremony, you're going to want to rehearse. Practicing is more about the transitions than the order! For example, when the bride is given away or hand your bouquet off and take your partner's hand. The goal is fluidity, and if the movements aren't practiced, it will show on your wedding day. It's also not necessarily crucial that you practice at your actual venue. It's more important that your entire bridal party is there. At the minimum, this includes the couple getting married, officiant if possible, wedding planner, bridal party, and anybody else that has a key role in the ceremony.
5. Knowing the official processional order you've chosen.
So typically, you're going to want to start with the officiant. Next are the grandparents, then the groom's parents, then the bride's mother with an escort. Follow this with the groom, the bridesmaids, and groomsmen with the maid of honor and the best man being last. Last are the ringbearers, flower girls, and then the bride with whoever's escorting her down the aisle.
The example above is based on wedding etiquette and tradition. This order for a wedding processional is the most commonly used. However, during your wedding, you can do whatever you want! If this is the same-sex wedding you're planning, you can change it up for anything that makes sense to you. You can put some guys on the girl's side; you can put some girls on the groom's side if you want. Do what feels right! If it goes against tradition, it is totally okay!
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Wedding Processional Quick Recap:
Make sure to leave plenty of time between the people walking down the aisle. A slower processional gives the photographer time to capture every person as they walk down the aisle. If you rush it, the photos will come out a little blurry or rushed. As a wedding planner, I stand by each person before they hit the walkway. I provide spacing for them and let them know once they need to go.
Make sure your little ones have a helper. Pick someone your flower girl or ring bearer is comfortable with, and they should either guide them or be in sight at the end of the aisle. Children are more likely to go to someone they know, especially when they have many strangers staring at them. Don't worry if they don't comply; most of your guests will find this adorable.
If you get nervous, look at your partner. He or she will most likely be smiling right back at you. Look at them to calm your nerves and to remind yourself that today is your day, and everyone is gathered there for you guys.
Practice makes perfect. Rehearse! Especially the transitions, like giving the bride away and handing off the bouquet.
A typical wedding processional order is below, but any order or sequence you decide is okay! It's your wedding day!
The groom's parents
Mother of the Bride
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen (best man and maid of honor are last)
Ring bearer/ Flower girl
Bride and Father of the Bride (or escort)