The order of the processional is a portion of the wedding ceremony that seems to elicit confusion and concern. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds and, if you make a “mistake,” there are no processional police to ticket you. For the most part, any breach of etiquette won’t be noticed by your guests because, after all, does it really matter in what order participants walk down the aisle?
Dear Wedding Guru: “What order does the wedding party follow in the processional?”
(Our answer on next page)
The Wedding Guru says: I’m assuming that you are referring to the processional in a Christian wedding that’s being held in a church, because the rules are different with other ethnicities and other religions.
From the back of the church, your ushers (groomsmen) proceed down the aisle first and in pairs. In the event that there is an odd number of ushers, the “single” usher begins the processional, walking alone. The bridesmaids wait a few moments after the last usher begins walking. If you have fewer than five bridesmaids, they walk in single file. With more than five, they walk in pairs; if there’s a “single” bridesmaid, she starts the processional alone. The junior bridesmaid walks next; if there are two junior bridesmaids, they walk together down the aisle. Your maid of honor is next, followed by the ring bearer, followed by the flower girl (the child attendants can walk together). This works particularly well with very young or uncooperative children. The last to walk are you and your father, or someone else you have picked to escort you.
This is really pretty simple and to boost your confidence in “getting it right,” keep in mind that the purpose of a rehearsal is for your officiant to review the order of processional and recessional.
Check out these HudsonValleyWeddings.com article for more about the processional: “Here Comes the Bride: Walking the Walk to the Altar” and “Alternative Wedding Processionals”