Your Guide To A Modern Wedding Processional

Traditional and nontraditional entrances—we have you covered

Once you’ve got your wedding party set and established their roles in your wedding ceremony, you’ll want to think about how everyone is entering the ceremony itself. The processional, a.k.a. the entrance, can be a pretty major part of said ceremony. Some couples choose to have a very small processional and walk down the aisle together, just the two of them. Or, depending on the type of ceremony and size of wedding party you choose to have, you could have lots of people come down the aisle. There are lots of options for a modern wedding processional, and most of these are based in one of two traditional wedding processionals: Christian wedding ceremonies and Jewish wedding ceremonies. You, of course, don’t have to follow these traditions, but I’ve found them to be a useful point of reference to start from.

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Wedding Processional FOR A TRADITIONAL HETERO CHRISTIAN CEREMONY

(Men on the right, women on the left when walking down the aisle together)

Officiant
Grandparents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride (Grandparents don’t always come down the aisle, but it’s lovely if they’re able!)
Parents of the Groom
Mother of the Bride (Escorted by an usher, family member, or close friend)
Groomsmen (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Best Man
Groom (Grooms can also make a subtle entrance from the side/back)
Bridesmaids (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Bride and Father of the Bride

At the altar, the groom and his groomsmen stand on the right side while the bride and her bridesmaids stand on the left, with the officiant in the center.

Wedding Processional FOR A TRADITIONAL HETERO JEWISH CEREMONY

(Men on the left, women on the right when walking down the aisle together)

Cantor and/or Rabbi
Grandparents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Groomsmen (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Best Man
Groom and Both Parents
Bridesmaids (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Bride and Both Parents

Under the chuppah, the groom and his parents stand on the left side while the bride and her parents stand on the right, with the rabbi and/or cantor in the center. Bridesmaids and groomsmen stand just outside of the chuppah on either side, if at all.

Wedding processional FOR A Modern Wedding With a Large Wedding Party

(Officiant waiting at the end of the aisle)

Wedding Party (Mixed together, two-by-two)
Partner #1’s Best Person & Partner #2’s Best Person
Flower Person and Ring Bearer
Partner #1, escorted by Parent(s)
Partner #2, escorted by Parent(s)

FOR A modern wedding with a small wedding party

Officiant
Grandparents of Partner #1
Grandparents of Partner #2
Parents of Partner #1
Parents of Partner #2
Flower People and Ring Bearer
Partner #1 and Partner #2, together

WAYS TO CHANGE UP Your Wedding Processional

If none of these options fits your style and you just want to do things your own way, consider this your permission to do exactly what you want. It’s super common for traditions to borrow from each other, such as both sets of parents escorting their children down the aisle, but there are so many more things you can do to make it feel more like you and your partner.

  • Have the person waiting at the altar/chuppah meet their partner halfway down the aisle
  • Invite grandparents to stand (or sit) underneath the chuppah along with parents at a Jewish wedding
  • Send mothers, rather than fathers, down the aisle with their daughters (or other parental-type figures)
  • Have the groom’s mother walk him down the aisle, and send the mixed sets of parents down the aisle together
  • Mix the wedding party up and send them down the aisle together, one-by-one or two-by-two
  • Have each person in the couple walk in alone
  • Have the couple walk in together

As you think about your modern wedding processional and how best to design it, remember that while it may be low on your priority list, it can be extraordinarily important to the older people in your life, especially parents and grandparents. It sets the tone and builds anticipation for the ceremony, grounds your guests in the moment, and is great for photos and memories (especially from the Flower People). You might enjoy it more than you expect.

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