Wedding Processional Order: Who Goes When?

Written by Shivani Chandel

Wedding moments are always special, no matter what ceremonies and rituals one follows. The bridal march is one such highlight of the wedding, and thus, it needs to be extravagant. The breathtaking instance when a bride walks down the aisle and everyone looks at her in awe is something that every to-be bride desires.

However, just like other rituals vary with religion, region, and other factors, the wedding processional order can differ according to the host’s preference and belief. This article talks about wedding processional orders — Catholic, modern, and traditional — in detail. Read on!

What Is A Wedding Processional Order?

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A wedding processional refers to a set of people walking through the aisle in a specific order, initiating the wedding proceedings. Deciding the wedding processional order isn’t as simple as you might think. There are lots of considerations, choices, and rituals to follow.

A normal wedding processional includes important people for the couple. It is usually dictated by the traditional customs of a Christian wedding and comprises the officiant, bridesmaid, ring bearer, flower girl, and bride. While a few Christians follow this basic order, modern wedding processional styles vary greatly.

You can personalize your wedding processional order according to your preference and even outline something creative. Choose from the Catholic, modern, and traditional wedding processional orders detailed in the sections below, or create one of your own.

Catholic Wedding Processional Order

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A Catholic wedding processional order involves an entire crew of people walking down the aisle, depending on the arrangement of the party. In a Catholic wedding, the father aides the bride to the platform and gives them away only after taking the seat. The order of a Catholic wedding processional is:

  • Officiant

The officiant leads the procession in the ceremony, marking the beginning of the wedding. This person usually stands at the center of the altar.

  • Groom

The groom’s entrance is a bit different compared to the usual processional order. Here, the groom enters from a corner and stands at the right side of the platform.

  • Best Man

The best man follows the groom and might hold the wedding rings. They also enter from the side and stand next to the groom.

  • Groomsmen And Bridesmaids

In the Catholic style, the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle in pairs. Usually, the groomsmen stay on the right side, while the bridesmaids are on the left. They walk to the front of the altar and form a diagonal line so that the couple can be viewed well by the guests during the ceremony.

  • Maid Of Honor

The maid of honor conducts a final check of the bride’s dress, veil, and makeup and walks solo. They stand beside the bride, specifically on their left side. The maid of honor also holds the bouquet for the bride during the rituals.

  • Ring Bearer And Flower Girl

According to Catholic principles, the ring bearer and the flower girl can walk together or solo. The ring bearer usually takes the position next to the parents. Traditionally, the ring bearer carries the wedding rings tied to a little pillow. On the other hand, the flower girl tosses flower petals along the way and sits with the parents.

  • The Bride Along With Father

Finally, the bride walks down the aisle with her father. As they reach the altar, the father lifts the bride’s veil and kisses them. After this, the bride approaches the officiant, and the father takes a seat in the first row.

The good thing about the wedding processional order is you can customize it according to your choice. The modern wedding processional can either have a lot of people or just the couple. It all depends upon the size or grandeur of the ceremony. The next section details one of the many ways you can decide to keep your wedding processional order in the modern setting. 

Modern Wedding Processional Order

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The modern wedding processional order follows two traditions: one of the Christian weddings and the other of Jewish wedding ceremonies. In recent weddings, the groom also walks down the aisle just like the bride. After all, it is his wedding too, isn’t it? The order can be as follows:

  • Officiant

The officiant walks first and takes his place at the center of the altar. They may either enter from the side or be the first ones to enter with the wedding processional.

  • Groom’s Grandparents

The groom’s grandparents walk down the pathway and take a side on the platform. Later, they sit on one side in the first row.

  • Bride’s Grandparents

The bride’s grandparents come next and take the seat opposite the groom’s grandparents in the first row.

  • Groom’s Parents

The groom’s parents walk down the aisle. It is customary for them to stand on the right side of the couple during the ceremony.

  • Bride’s Mother

The entrance of the bride’s mother indicates that the ceremony has begun. They walk down the pathway and occupy their seat in the first row on the left.

  • Groom

The groom also walks down the aisle in the modern wedding processional order and stands near the altar. At times, they are also accompanied by the best man.

  • Best Man

The best man acts as a legal witness and walks down the aisle. They might either hold both the rings or just the groom’s ring.

  • Groomsmen

The groomsmen enter the procession and stand by the side of the groom.

  • Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids also enter the aisle and stand by the side of the bride.

  • Maid Of Honor

The maid of honor assists the bride and gives her the final touchup. The matron also stands by the side of the bride near the altar.

  • Ring Bearer And Flower Girl

The ring bearer usually carries the rings if the best man doesn’t carry them. The flower girl spreads flower petals all through the aisle.

  • Bride And Bride’s Father

Finally, the bride enters with her father on her right side. It marks the end of the processional order. Later on, the father joins the bride’s mother in the front row.

The traditional processional order for any Christian or non-religious wedding ceremony includes an order that is quite different from the Catholic or the modern form. Read on to know more.

Traditional Wedding Processional Order

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The traditional wedding processional order goes as follows:

  • Bride’s Mother

The entrance of the bride’s mother signals the beginning of the wedding process. They reach the end of the aisle and sit on the left side of the first row.

  • Groom

The groom enters the stage from the side and stands in front of the altar. Many choose to walk down the aisle as well.

  • Best Man

The best man might come with the groom or walk alone. They might hold the rings as well.

  • Groomsmen

The groomsmen walk down the aisle and stand by the groom’s side.

  • Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids also walk down the pathway and stand by the bride. The bridesmaids and groomsmen might walk down in pairs as well.

  • Maid Of Honor

The maid of honor assists the bride and makes sure that everything is perfect. Then, they stand by the side of the altar and hold the bouquet for the bride when needed.

  • Flower Girl And Ring Bearers

The flower girl and the ring bearer lead the bride down the aisle. The flower girl scatters bright flower petals along the pathway. On the other hand, the ring bearer holds the rings for the couple if the best man doesn’t carry them.

  • Bride And Bride’s Father

The bride’s father walks the pathway with the bride and gives them away by kissing them as a sign of blessing. The bride walks to the altar, and the father sits beside the bride’s mother in the front row.

You can follow any of these wedding processional orders and even customize and organize them according to your wish. Whether you follow the Catholic or traditional orders, it looks great if you walk with both parents down the aisle. If you want to keep it low-key, you can reduce the number of people walking down the pathway and just keep your parents alongside!

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