How a Wedding Processional Works

The wedding processional is an important part of your big day. It is especially important if you are getting married in a religious building, as you will likely have to follow their protocol when it comes to your processional.

When you book your wedding venue ask the staff what their processional policy is for weddings. Some may have strict rules while others may be more relaxed. Some venues will let you go as far as lighting up sparklers in the wedding hall while other require you to choose from three classic songs to walk down the aisle to. It is also possible that for the purpose of time keeping your wedding officiant will insist that the processional is done in a certain way. Sometimes even the physical layout of your wedding venue may impact the way in which your processional proceeds.

If you are getting married in a church, the religion you practice dictates how your wedding processional works. In the case of a Catholic wedding when the ceremony begins your priest will be the first member to arrive at the altar. Behind the priest will be the groom with the best man directly behind them. They then stand at the altar as well. In some cases, the best man may stay away from the altar until he has walked the maid of honor down the aisle. After the bridesmaids and groomsmen make their way down the aisle, they take their respective places next to the bride and groom. If the maid of honor has not already walked down the aisle, now is the point during the processional where she will. Last but not least, the ring bearer and flower girl walk down the aisle; it then becomes the bride (and her father’s) turn.

In the case of a Protestant wedding the bride and groom’s mother play an important role in the processional. If the bride has a brother he escorts her mother down the aisle; if she doesn’t, an usher does it. The groom’s mother is then seated by an usher. The wedding officiant then enters, followed by the groom and best man. After the groom’s men and bridesmaids arrive at the altar, the ring bearer and flower girl walk the aisle before the maid of honor does. When the maid of honor is at the altar it is time for the bride and her father to walk down the aisle.

During a Jewish wedding processional tradition is adhered to before rules are. The first person to arrive at the altar is the cantor or rabbi. The bride and groom’s grandparents are then seated. This is followed by the groomsmen, who must walk down the aisle in order from shortest to tallest. The best man is the last to come out, after all groomsmen are in place. The groom is then led down the aisle with his parents. After the groom’s parents are in place the bridesmaids enter the same way the groomsmen did. They are followed by the maid of honor, ring bearer, flower girl and lastly, by the bride with her parents accompanying her.

If you are planning a non-denominational wedding, the rules are much looser. You can use props like confetti or wedding sparklers during your processional, or you could even enter by doing a choreographed dance! The only word of caution here is that you don’t want to belittle the wedding experience for your friends and family by lighting up wedding sparklers or dancing to your favorite song, so you need to keep it tasteful. Many people find weddings to be a sacred occasion, so doing something too crazy could unintentionally offend some of the guests.