Wedding Planning Guide

The Wedding Processional Order

A handy guide to help you figure out who walks down the aisle and when.

WEDDING PROCESSIONAL ORDER:
TRADITIONAL HETERO CHRISTIAN CEREMONY

Entering the ceremony venue in the following order:
(men on the right, women on the left when walking down the aisle together)

Grandparents of the Groom

Grandparents don’t always walk down the aisle, but it’s a lovely gesture if they're able; the groom's paternal grandparents go first, followed by his maternal grandparents. They take their seats in the first row, on the right side—adjacent to the groom's parents' seats along the aisle—or directly adjacent to the aisle in the second row.

Grandparents of the Bride

The bride's paternal grandparents go first, followed by her maternal grandparents. They take their seats in the first row, on the left side—adjacent to the bride's parents' seats along the aisle—or directly adjacent to the aisle in the second row.

Parents of the Groom

They walk down the aisle together and take their seats in the first row, on the right side.

Mother of the Bride (escorted by an usher or family member)

She walks down the aisle and takes her seat in the first row, on the left side.

Groomsmen

They walk down the aisle one by one or two by two; they take their places up front, on the right side, with the first groomsman taking his place farthest from the groom. The groomsmen might form a diagonal line so they all get a good view of the couple.

Best Man

He walks down the aisle solo, following the rest of the groomsmen, and stands at the groom's side during the ceremony. He may also hold the bride's ring or both rings.

Groom

Traditionally, he walks down the aisle solo but some grooms prefer walking down the aisle escorted by both parents. Other grooms prefer a more subtle approach by entering the ceremony from the side of the venue (following the officiant and followed by the groomsmen) to take his place at the altar.

Officiant

The officiant is also honored with a spot in the processional; however, some couples prefer a more subtle approach with the officiant entering the ceremony from the side of the venue (leading the groom and groomsmen) to take his/her place at the altar.

Bridesmaids

They walk down the aisle one by one or two by two; they take their places up front, on the left side, with the first bridesmaid taking her place farthest from the bride. The bridesmaids might form a diagonal line so they all get a good view of the couple.

Maid of Honor/Matron of Honor

Before she walks down the aisle, she should do a final check to make sure the bride's veil, dress, and train look perfect. Then she walks down the aisle solo, following the rest of the bridesmaids, and stands at the bride's side during the ceremony. She may also hold the bride's bouquet and the groom's ring.

Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

The littlest attendants signal that the bride is about to walk down the aisle; the children can walk together or the ring bearer can enter before the flower girl. Traditionally, the ring bearer carries the wedding rings tied to a pillow (or decoys, if he's too little to be trusted with the real things; the best man and/or maid of honor would then hold the actual rings); the flower girl may carry a basket of petals, which she scatters as she walks, or a small bouquet of flowers. The children may then be seated with their parents.

Bride and Father of the Bride

He makes an entrance with the bride, accompanying her down and aisle at her right side. Traditionally, after he gives her away, he lifts her veil, gives her a kiss, then takes his seat in the first row next to the bride's mother.

WEDDING PROCESSIONAL ORDER:
TRADITIONAL HETERO JEWISH CEREMONY

Entering the ceremony venue in the following order:
(men on the right, women on the left when walking down the aisle together)

Cantor and/or Rabbi

Their entrance signals the beginning of the ceremony; they take their places beneath the chuppah, standing in the center.

Grandparents of the Bride

They walk down the aisle and take their seats in the first row, on the right side.

Grandparents of the Groom

They walk down the aisle and take their seats in the first row, on the left side.

Groomsmen

They typically walk down the aisle in pairs and take their places up front, on the left alongside the chuppah, with the first groomsman taking his place farthest from the groom. The groomsmen might form a diagonal line so they all get a good view of the couple.

Best Man

He walks down the aisle solo, following the rest of the groomsmen, and stands at the groom's side during the ceremony, either beneath or alongside the chuppah.

Groom and Parents

He walks down the aisle escorted by his parents, with his father on his left and mother on his right. It is customary for the parents of the groom to stand with the couple under the chuppah, on the left side, for the duration of the ceremony.

Bridesmaids

They walk down the aisle one by one or two by two; they take their places up front, on the right alongside the chuppah, with the first bridesmaid taking her place farthest from the bride. The bridesmaids might form a diagonal line so they all get a good view of the couple.

Maid of Honor/Matron of Honor

Before she walks down the aisle, she should do a final check to make sure the bride's veil, dress, and train look perfect. Then she walks down the aisle solo, following the rest of the bridesmaids, and stands at the bride's side during the ceremony, either beneath or alongside the chuppah.

Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

The littlest attendants signal that the bride is about to walk down the aisle; the children can walk together or the ring bearer can enter before the flower girl. The children may then be seated with their parents.

Bride and Parents

She walks down the aisle escorted by her parents, with her father on her left and mother on her right. It is customary for the parents of the bride to stand with the couple under the chuppah, on the right side, for the duration of the ceremony.

WAYS TO PERSONALIZE YOUR PROCESSIONAL

Use the traditional processionals (above) as a starting point, but adapt the guidelines (or toss the rule book out completely!) to create a wedding ceremony that is unique and meaningful to you and your families. Here are some creative ways to personalize your wedding processional:

  • Both sets of parents or parental figures escort their children down the aisle.
  • Wedding attendants walk down the aisle in pairs, with one attendant from Partner #1's side walking alongside an attendant from Partner #2's side. Then, Partner #1 enters, escorted by parent(s), followed by Partner #2, escorted by parent(s).
  • Parents of Partner #1 walk down the aisle, followed by parents of Partner #2; then, Partner #1 and Partner #2 walk down the aisle together.
  • Partner #1 waits at the altar/chuppah and meets Partner #2 halfway down the aisle.
  • Each person in the couple walks down the aisle solo.
  • Invite grandparents to stand (or sit) underneath the chuppah along with parents at a Jewish wedding (if there's room).
  • Invite your wedding attendants to walk down the aisle but ask them to sit once they’ve reached the end of the aisle.
  • Skip the walk down the aisle entirely and enter the ceremony space from the side or backdoor once the ceremony begins. Or you could mingle with guests and then make your way to the front once the ceremony begins.