When it comes to the wedding ceremony, most couples find this aspect of their wedding to be a complete mystery. The confusion of who stands where, who walks when, and who leads whom, remains to be seen. Questions you may not think to ask immediately can range from, “Who holds my bouquet?” or “What name do I sign; my maiden or married name?”
As a wedding planner, I’m often involved in the logistics of the wedding ceremony order. I’ve broken down the order for you to help eliminate any anxiety or confusion with a few helpful steps!
Ceremony Processional (aka Entrance)
Officiant - Enters to signify the ceremony is about to begin
Grandparents - If on the groom’s side, they sit on the right side (front row)
Grandparents - If on the bride’s side, they sit on the left side (front row)
Parents - The groom’s parents should sit on the right side, front row, first two seats
Mother of the bride - Escorted by an usher, groomsmen or family member - she should sit on the left side, front row, first seat
Groom - Walks down the aisle or enters from the side. Wave and smile, after all, it’s your moment!
If guys are walking the girls, go in an order which works up to the best man and maid of honor
If walking separately;
Guys walk first down aisle or enter from the side (the best man can lead)
Girls walk down the aisle, ending with maid of honor
Ring Bearer - Holding the real ring (if they can be trusted!) or a fake placeholder ring (if not!)
Flower Girl - Sprinkles flower petals (or just walk down for a touch of cute!)
Father of the Bride + Bride - Father should give you his left arm (so you’re closest to his heart, awwww!)
Ceremony Recessional - (aka Exit)
The Bride and Groom should exit first, followed by the wedding party, parents, grandparents and guests
Voila! You just had a wedding!
A few bonus tips for a seamless ceremony:
Repeat after me: low and slow. The bride and her bridesmaids should hold their bouquets low and walk slowly.
At the rehearsal, the groom and groomsmen should decide what they are going to do with their hands; most importantly, they should all follow suit and do the same thing. Do what feels natural, whether that entails having your hands at your sides, in your pockets, crossed behind your back, crossed in front, etc. Some photographers may not want you to cross your hands in front, as it can appear as though you are protecting the crown jewels ;) Ultimately, you decide!
For the bride, whenever you are doing anything with your hands, holding your new hubby’s hands, exchanging rings, signing the register, pass your bouquet to your maid of honor, that’s what she’s there for!
When signing the register, place your flowers on the table in front of you (this also looks beautiful in pictures) and sign your maiden name. Although you are legally married, your name doesn’t change until you fill out the paperwork to do so.
Your first married kiss! Practice it beforehand, and do whatever feels natural to you both. However, you may consider holding it longer than you normally would, as you want to ensure your photographer is able to snap a few wonderful shots!