The wedding processional is a cherished tradition that marks the beginning of a couple’s journey into married life. As the couple enters the aisle separately with their loved ones, they leave together as one. It’s a moment that is often overlooked and underrated but honestly, it’s one of my favorite moments to watch. You can see the nerves and excitement of the couple and their family as they all begin this new chapter together. It brings me to tears every single time.
So much has changed since the traditional processional. If you are having your ceremony at a place of worship, the officiant will guide you as to the correct processional order according to their traditions. If you are having your ceremony somewhere else, the processional order is all up to you!
Before we get into this, let me say that there is no right or wrong way to your processional order. As long as you both make it to the altar, that’s all that matters! I’m going to walk you through the modern processional that most couples are opting for nowadays and share some ideas on how you can make it your own.
This is the guy or girl running the show. Your officiant can walk down the aisle or they can wait at the altar before the processional begins.
Grandparents of the Bride
If grandma and grandpa want to be involved in your special day, this is where they shine. I personally love when couples include their grandparents in the processional because I believe it pays homage to the wisdom, love and support of the linage that is being carried on. Afterall, the bride and groom wouldn’t have a wedding of their own to celebrate without their grandparents.
Grandparents of the Groom
Next is the groom’s grandparents.
If you both have multiple sets of grandparents, it’s up to you who walks down first. If the bride has both sets of grandparents living, then you can decide if mom’s parents walk down first or dad’s parents. If any of the grandparents were remarried and you have more than two sets of grandparents on one side, you have to decide the order there as well
Parents of the Groom
If the groom is going to walk down the aisle alone, then this is where the parents of the groom walk down together. If the groom’s parents are divorced and remarried, this is a great place to include stepparents. If both parents are remarried, maybe the stepparents can walk down the aisle together so the groom’s parents can escort him. I know, that’s pretty shocking but for some families that just might work. Or if the groom’s mom and dad just can’t see eye to eye, maybe the groom’s dad and stepmom walk here and the groom walks with mom and stepdad together. Again, this is all about making the processional your own.
Mother of the Bride
If the bride is just walking down the aisle with dad, this is when mom is going to walk down. She can walk by herself or she can be escorted by a son, nephew, cousin, male family member or anyone else you can think of! It’s very common for mom and dad to walk the bride down the aisle but if that’s not for you, then this is when mom is going to walk with or without an escort.
Bridesmaids + Groomsmen
I’ve seen weddings where the groomsmen all walk in then all the bridesmaids all walk in. My feeling is that the aisle is already long and to walk down it all by yourself makes it even longer so why not pair up the bridal party! It’s totally okay if you don’t have the same number of people on both sides. Just double up and you will even out. Plus, you don’t want to necessarily make the processional longer than it has to be since the main even is you, the bride and groom!
Maid of Honor + Best Man
Then the Maid of Honor and Best Man are going to walk together. If you are having the bridal party walk in separate, you can have all the groomsmen then the best man then all the bridesmaids with the maid of honor last. Or you can have the bridal party single file and then the maid of honor and best man together. Again, it’s your wedding ceremony so make it suit you!
So the groom can walk down the aisle all by himself or he can walk down with an escort- like his mom or dad or both.
You can have the ring bearer walk down before or after the groom. I like the idea of having the ring bearer and flower girl after the groom because it gives an air of build up to the main event, the bride walking down the aisle in her beautiful gown. Plus, I feel like it adds a little extra presentation like the rear bearer and flower girl are adequately preparing the crowd for her arrival. It’s really up to you what you do here. If you don’t have a ring bearer then you will just skip this part because the best man or officiant will probably be holding the rings. I’ve also seen a dog be a ring bearer so you can have someone else escort the pup down the aisle or have one of the bridal party members walk with the pup.
Traditionally speaking the flower girl is laying the petals for the bride to walk down but I’ve also seen flower girls at the beginning of the wedding processional so everyone walks down the rose petal sprinkled aisle. It’s your decision here.
And then the bride makes her entrance. Now you can absolutely walk down the aisle alone and let that beautiful gown fill the aisle. Or, you can walk down with whatever escort(s) you want! Maybe it’s dad, or mom and dad, or stepdad, or an uncle or aunt, maybe even a brother. My point here is that it’s your day and you can walk down the aisle to meet your husband with whoever you want by your side.
That’s it! Not so hard, right?
The modern processional is a beautiful representation of love, unity and the coming together of two families. Each step of the processional holds deep symbolic meaning, from the officiant’s entrance to the emotional journey of the bride. The processional sets the stage for the wedding ceremony, laying the foundation for a lifetime of love and commitment. It is a cherished tradition that connects generations, and as weddings continue to evolve, the modern processional remains a timeless and heartwarming aspect of this joyous celebration of love.