The Processional

The walk down the aisle is one of the most important and memorable walks of your life. Before you get to take the walk, a few other important people need to precede you. Getting all of the important members of the family and wedding party to their places is the purpose of the processional.

Walking Down the Aisle

In what order do attendants walk down the aisle in Christian ceremonies? In a Catholic processional, the bridesmaids walk down the aisle one by one, while the groomsmen and best man wait at the altar. Who goes first is usually determined by height, from shortest to tallest. For large weddings with more than four bridesmaids, they walk in pairs. The honor attendant is next, followed by the ring bearer and flower girl. The bride then enters on her father's right arm, followed by pages (if any), who carry the bride's train. The Protestant processional is the same, except ushers may precede the bridesmaids in pairs, according to height.

In what order do attendants walk down the aisle in Jewish ceremonies? Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform processions vary according to the families' preferences, devoutness, and local custom. A traditional religious Jewish processional may begin with the rabbi and cantor (with the cantor on the rabbi's right), followed by the ushers walking one by one, and the best man. The groom then walks between his mother on his right and his father on his left. The bridesmaids then walk one by one, followed by the maid of honor, the page, and the flower girl. The bride is the last to enter, with her mother on her right and her father on her left.

Giving the Bride Away

My parents are divorced and my mother has remarried. Is it more appropriate for my father or my stepfather to walk me down the aisle? This really depends on who raised you, your personal preference, and your current family situation. If you've remained close to your father, you may prefer that he fulfill his traditional role. If both men have been involved in your life, consider including both men in the proceedings. For example, have both men escort you down the aisle, or have one escort you halfway down the aisle until you meet up with the other, who will finish the walk with you. In Jewish ceremonies, divorced parents both walk the bride down the aisle.

My father has passed away. Who should escort me down the aisle? There is really no single correct answer. When considering your options, what is most important is that you do whatever feels most comfortable to you. Some brides walk down the aisle with their mother or even with their groom. If your mother has remarried and you are close to your stepfather, he may be a good choice. A brother, grandfather, special uncle, or close family friend could also do the honors. Of course, there is always the option to walk without an escort. Keep in mind that whomever you choose should sit in the front pew with your mother during the ceremony (except if you choose your groom, of course).

Essential

If the tradition of the father giving the bride away is too old-fashioned for you, there are alternatives. Instead of the offici-ant asking “Who gives this woman … ?” he may ask, “Who blesses this union?” You can also ask if the officiant will skip this part of the ceremony altogether.

Double Take

In a double wedding, do the brides walk down the aisle together? If not, how do we decide who goes first? The undisputed law of etiquette is clear: the older of the two brides is the first to perform all key wedding rites, and so she is the one who processes down the aisle first with her wedding party. However, aside from the fact that everything is done twice, the double wedding can be just like any other wedding.

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