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Wedding Processional

What is the typical order of events for a wedding ceremony?

The wedding processional is one of the most important moments of the wedding ceremony. It sets the tone for the entire event and can be a beautiful and meaningful part of your special day. Here are some tips for ensuring the perfect wedding processional

What Is the Wedding Processional?
The wedding processional refers to members of your immediate family and wedding party head down the aisle and either find a seat or take their places on either side of the altar. The processional begins with the bride's mother and follows with the groom, best man, paired-up wedding party, flower girl, and ring bearer. It ends with the bride making her entrance escorted by her father who "gives her away" to the groom.

When does the wedding processional take place?
The wedding processional is the opener for the nuptial ceremony. Once all important bridal party members have entered and walked down the aisle, the ceremony begins.

How long does a wedding processional take?
A wedding processional typically lasts between ten fifteen minutes, depending on the number of people taking part. The bride's walk down the aisle can take up 5 minutes.

Who escorts the mother of the bride down the aisle?
If the mother of the bride is taking part in the wedding processional, she is traditionally escorted by a close male relative like a son or brother or may enter alone. If the parents are divorced, she may be escorted by her partner. In some cases, a groomsman or best man will escort her down the aisle.. 

How can you customize your processional?
There are many ways to make your processional unique. You can accomplish this with different members of your family or wedding party walking in the processional, either ahead of you or with you. Don’t feel constrained by only including those family members who are “traditionally” in the procession.

Are there any alternatives to the father walking in with the bride?
There are several options for a bride to enter without her father. The bride can enter by herself, with her mother, or with her spouse-to-be — it's completely up to her.

What song should I play for our processional walk?

Musical Selection is also important. While the traditional "Bridal Chorus" (aka “here comes the bride”) is commonly used, don’t feel you are restricted to playing that. Choose a song that is special to you and your partner to personalize the processional.  

The bride's entrance is a major part of a wedding, but other important attendees like the bridal party and the mother of the bride must also be taken into account. Different ceremonies require different processionals, so we're outlining the order of who should walk when to make your walk down the aisle run smoothly. Our in-house event coordinators will offer a wedding processional order template.

Of course, different cultures and religions incorporate different distinctive elements, and there's so much to love about each! Traditional wedding processional, Jewish wedding processional, Non traditional wedding processional order, Catholic wedding processional, and nondenominational weddings usually have ring exchanges whereas Hindu weddings exchange beautiful garlands created from flowers.


You could opt to write your own vows, share personal statements and then exchange the same vows, or use traditional phrasing.

After each person recites the vows, you will place the rings on each other's fingers. It's considered a symbol of your marriage. You may opt to perform the ring exchange quickly without vows, or you may say a few words about what the ring symbolizes before placing it on your partner's finger.

Now, the good part! After you've exchanged vows and rings, the two of you seal your marriage with a kiss. You're officially married!

If you're planning on having a unity ceremony, this is a good time to incorporate it. In a unity ritual, the couple does something that physically symbolizes their new union, such as using two candles to light a single candle or binding their hands together with a ribbon.

Jewish Wedding Ceremony Order
Groom breaking glass during Jewish wedding ceremony
Prior to the ceremony, the couple signs a marriage contract, called the ketubah, in private. It could be signed at the groom's reception, the day before the wedding, or even 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. It's proceeded by the bedeken, or the veiling, where the groom veils his bride's face. This tradition comes from the story of Jacob in the Bible, who was tricked into marrying the sister of his betrothed because she was veiled.
Unlike other ceremonies, in Jewish weddings, the bride and her party are on the right while the groom and his party are on the left. Perhaps the most famous parts of the Jewish wedding are the glass breaking and the yelling of "mazel tov!"
The Processional
The rabbi and/or cantor have the option of leading the processional or arriving from the side to mark the beginning of the ceremony. The grandparents of the bride, who are the first to walk down the aisle, will sit in the first row on the right side followed by the grandparents of the groom who will sit on the left side. The groomsmen will then enter in pairs followed by the best man. Finally, the groom, escorted by his parents, will walk to the chuppah. The bridesmaids follow in pairs then the maid of honor, the ring bearer(s), or flower girl(s). Finally, the bride walks to the chuppah, escorted by both parents.
Vows Under the Chuppah
Jewish wedding ceremonies are conducted under a beautiful four-poled canopy structure called a chuppah. You recite your vows to each other under the structure, which represents the creation of a new Jewish home. You could be accompanied by your parents under the chuppah or stand alone.
Hakafot (or Circling)
Once you arrive at the chuppah, a ritual called circling, hailing from the Ashkenazi tradition, occurs where the bride circles the groom seven times. It symbolizes the bride creating a wall of protection over the groom. Typically, there is a blessing, and you share a drink of wine from the same cup. More modern couples circle each other three times each and then once again each to signify a more equitable division of roles.
Ring Exchange
The groom then gives a ring to the bride, and the ketubah is read aloud. Many ceremonies recite the blessings and prayers in Hebrew, but more modern weddings incorporate English so non-Hebrew-speaking guests can understand the sacred elements.
Sheva Brachot: Seven Blessings
The seven blessings are chanted over the couple. Though they are typically recited by the officiant, you may choose family members and honored guests to recite the text in Hebrew or English. Then you both take another drink from the cup.
Breaking of the Glass
"The bride then gives the groom his ring after which the groom breaks a glass by stomping on it, which symbolizes the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem," says Miller. Usually preceded by reading a verse from Psalm 137, which preaches to keep Jerusalem in mind even at the happiest hour, the breaking of the glass is a sobering reminder that even at a couple's happiest they should reflect on a sad moment in their history. The glass is typically wrapped in a cloth to avoid any injuries.
Mazel Tov
Ah, the guests' favorite! After the breaking of the glass, guests are invited to shout "mazel tov!" It means congratulations.
The Recessional
After the shouts of joy comes the recessional. Everyone in the wedding party processes back up the aisle in the opposite order that they entered, usually while guests continue cheering them on and offering blessings. The newlyweds lead the column, followed by a sequence of the bride's parents, then the groom's parents, the bride's grandparents, and then the groom's grandparents. Once the family has walked, the flower girls or ring bearers lead the rest of the wedding party, followed by the best man and maid or matron of honor, and then the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The rabbi or cantor completes the filing.

Hindu Wedding Ceremony Order
Traditional Hindu wedding with bride and groom
If you've been to a Hindu wedding, you'll know that they are often long, fantastical, and opulent events. "Hindu weddings are traditionally elaborate events lasting multiple days. While the ceremony is only one of the days, the festivities and traditions surrounding the wedding stretch the event out," says Miller.
Baraat (the Groom's Arrival)
The baraat is the groom's wedding procession where the groom arrives on a ceremonial white horse escorted by all his friends and family. There is often live music and dancing, which can go on for hours. The groom can also make a grand entrance on an elephant, chariot, or vintage car.
The groom is greeted by the parents of the bride and her closest friends during the milni. He could be given shagun—a token of good luck—cash, or clothes. Sometimes the bride's parents feed him.
The Bride's Entrance
The bride enters the ceremony being led by male family members (either her brothers or uncles). They accompany her down the aisle where her father awaits just before the altar. The groom waits at the altar along with his parents, the bride's mother, and the priest.
This is the moment the father of the bride gives his daughter away to her soon-to-be husband. In the Hindu tradition, a bride cannot be claimed by the groom until she has been offered.
Jai Mala Garland Exchange

The bride and groom perform a garland exchange under a mandap or a beautifully decorated, raised canopy-like platform. It symbolizes welcoming each other into their families. The bride's parents will join the couple's hands, as a symbol of giving their daughter away. The ceremony begins and the priest begins prayers in Sanskrit.

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