Etiquette of the Wedding Procession

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According to The Knot, tradition wedding etiquette rules have loosened up. The order of the wedding procession can differ according to the preferences of the bride and groom. While many variations have become socially acceptable, the basic etiquette lies in the tradition of the religion under which the ceremony is performed.

Christian Wedding Procession

  • The traditional Christian wedding procession begins with the groom and his best man entering from the right side and standing together at the altar. They wait there with the celebrant as the rest of the wedding party enters from the back door and proceeds down the aisle. The mother of the groom is first, followed by the mother of the bride. The mothers are traditionally escorted by ushers, but it has become acceptable for them to be escorted by their husbands. Of course, if the father of the bride is escorting both the bride and her mother, he will have to return to the back of the church once the mother has been seated. If the groom's father has not escorted the groom's mother, he may either follow the mother of the bride or take his seat prior to the start of the procession.

    The ushers may follow the mothers if they are not escorting the bridesmaids. It is also acceptable for the ushers to take their places beside the best man or in a designated pew without walking down the aisle. If escorting the bridesmaids, their place in the procession will depend on that of their partners. The bridesmaids proceed in an order determined by the bride, with the maid or matron of honor being last. She is followed by any ring bearers and flower girls. In some variations the flower girls and ring bearers follow the bridesmaids, with the honor attendant being the last to proceed before the bride. It is traditional in Christian ceremonies for the women to stand to the left of the men.

    Once the last flower girl or the maid of honor has reached the altar, the bride enters on the arm of her father, who takes his seat next to the bride's mother once he has escorted his daughter to where the groom stands.

Jewish Wedding Procession

  • In the Jewish wedding procession, the bride and the groom are each walked down the aisle by their parents in a symbol of the parents blessing the union of families.

    The etiquette of the Jewish wedding procession dictates that the Rabbi walks down the aisle, followed by the grandparents of the bride and groom. The groomsmen then walk in pairs and are followed by the best man. The parents of the groom then walk their son down the aisle. Next come the bridesmaids, with the maid of honor last, followed by the ring bearer and flower girl. The bride is last, escorted by her father on her right arm and her mother on her left arm.

    The parents stand behind their children and the entire bridal party remains standing during the wedding ceremony. The bride's side is on the right, groom's on the left.

Variations

  • Many ceremonies follow the traditional etiquette of the bride being escorted by her father or parents. Other variations include the bride's escort to be her brother or a close male relative or friend. She may also choose to be given away by her mother or even her children. Another option many couples choose is to forgo traditional etiquette and walk each other down the aisle.

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