The wedding processional typically involves more than just your bridesmaids and flower girl. The processional actually begins when VIP family members are escorted to their seats, and ends with the bride (and her father, traditionally). So who walks down first? Who escorts who?
I’m a Virginia wedding photographer who has captured dozens and dozens of wedding ceremonies. I’ve seen traditional wedding processionals, non-traditional wedding processionals, and simple wedding processionals alike. Let’s dive into all the options you have so you can plan a ceremony that feels true to you.
The order for a traditional wedding processional typically goes like this:
Some tips to keep in mind. Groom’s family typically walks down first so that they can watch their son/grandson walk down the aisle. Additionally, there are a few acceptable variations within this order based upon preference and/or family situations.
Variations to the above processional order can be made according to preference or family situations. For example, sometimes “Groom’s Parents” includes step parents. Or perhaps there is a preference on how bridal party proceeds down the aisle. Let’s get into it!
If there are separated/remarried parents, I have typically seen Mom honored first. In this case, Mom and her husband (the step-father) walk down first. Then Dad (and his wife, the step-mother) walks after. Or, if there is a closer relationship with Dad than Mom, there is no rule set in stone saying Dad can’t walk down first. The same can be said with grandparents, but typically elders walk before parents.
When do siblings walk down the aisle if they’re not in the wedding party? I’ve rarely seen siblings “walking” down the aisle as part of the wedding processional unless they are in the wedding party or escorting a family member. In this case, siblings are usually already seated amongst guests in one of the first rows with the rest of the family’s reserved seats. Or, consider having your siblings usher guests to their seats or escort VIP family members.
If all of this seems overwhelming and a bit much for your wedding style, don’t fret! Tradition isn’t everything. You can easily simplify processionals by removing folks from the order or combining. Here are a few ideas I’ve seen that still feel sacred and special:
The point is, make it your own! It’s your wedding day, and though your ceremony is the most sacred part of the day, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t feel like you.
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