How to Line Up the Bridal Party for the Church

by Stacie Borrello

Whether you are an aspiring wedding planner or simply a friend who has offered to help coordinate a ceremony, you will need to learn how to organize the processional. The processional is usually a solemn and emotional moment that marks the beginning of a wedding ceremony. Tradition dictates that the wedding party enter the church or other venue in a prescribed way. This allows every wedding party member to receive the proper attention and find their place at the altar gracefully.

Prepare the wedding officiant, groom and groomsmen to enter the church first. The officiant and groom's party can enter the church in one of two ways. They can file in from a room to the side of the altar in the order they will stand: officiant, groom, best man and remaining groomsmen. Alternatively, the officiant and groom's party can walk down the aisle like the rest of the processional. In this case, the groomsmen follow the officiant and groom, with the groomsman who will stand furthest from the altar going first and the best man bringing up the rear. A third option is for the groomsmen to escort the bridesmaids as described in step two.

Line up the bridesmaids, placing the bridesmaid who will stand farthest from the altar first and the maid of honor last. Remind the bride's party to take their time walking down the aisle -- this is their moment to shine. If the groomsmen will be escorting the bridesmaids down the aisle, line them up in pairs with the bridesmaid on the left and the groomsman on the right. Pair attendants who will stand furthest from the altar first and so on, with the best man and maid of honor walking down the aisle together last.

Place the ring bearer and flower girl next in line. These two children can either walk in side by side, or the ring bearer can go first with the flower girl following. Explain to the children that they will go sit with their parents, who are usually seated in the second row, after they reach the altar.

Ready the bride and her escort for her grand entrance. Usually, the coordinator closes the doors to the vestibule after the flower girl walks down the aisle and waits for the bride's processional to start before re-opening the doors. Place the bride on the left and her escort on the right. Make sure to tell the bride she looks beautiful before sending her on her way.

Tips

  • Tie fake rings on the ring bearer's pillow. This strategy avoids dropped or lost rings as well as the drama of the little boy refusing to give up the rings once he reaches the altar.
  • Ask the parents of the groom and the parents of the bride to walk the aisle and take their seats a few minutes before the official processional starts. The parents of the groom go first, followed shortly afterwards by the bride's parents. If the father also is escorting the bride, he should return down the aisle after seating his wife. This tradition allows the parents to receive the special attention they deserve on their children's wedding day.

About the Author

Stacie Borrello began her writing career in 1998 at her college newspaper, where her reporting earned her a Southwestern Journalism Congress award. She also taught in Asia and developed conferences for university executives before serving as senior editor of technical trade journals. Borrello specializes in SEO website content and marketing copy for businesses. She holds a Master of Arts from St. John's College.

Photo Credits

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