Wedding Processional and Recessional Order | St. Simons Island Wedding Planner


Just before the processional begins in a Christian Wedding Ceremony, the officiant takes his or her place, with the groom on the officiant’s left, and the best man on the groom’s left, all facing the guests.  The ushers (groomsmen) may also stand at the front or they may start the procession….walking in pairs.  They are followed by the bridesmaids in single file.  The maid or matron of honor enters next, behind the bridesmaids.  As another option, the ushers (groomsmen) and bridesmaids can enter together, in pairs, with the best man escorting the honor attendant.  If a ring bearer and a flower girl are in the wedding party, they are the last ones down the aisle before the bride, who is traditionally escorted by her father, on his left arm.  Today a bride often asks her mother to walk down the aisle with them, on her other side. 


In a Christian Wedding Ceremony, as the musicians start the celebratory recessional music, the bride and groom turn to each other, link arms, and walk briskly back up the aisle as husband and wife.  They are followed by the flower girl and the ring bearer, who are followed by the maid or matron of honor and the best man.  Next come the bridesmaids and the ushers (groomsmen) in pairs, with the women on the men’s right arms.  Ushers (groomsmen) should return to assist guests and direct them to the receiving line or reception site. 

Practicing the Ceremony

Even if you have been to many weddings, a rehearsal of a large wedding ceremony is crucial.  It helps everyone feel at ease.  Without it, questions will arise in the moments leading up to the ceremony, causing unnecessary anxiety.  The rehearsal should take place at the wedding site.  If you don’t have access to it, it’s a good idea to run through the ceremony elsewhere.  The rehearsal is usually scheduled for the evening before the wedding, to be followed by the rehearsal dinner.  Anyone who has a role in the ceremony should attend the rehearsal.  This includes the entire wedding party, the officiant, readers, parents, and musicians.  If someone can’t be there, make sure he or she is briefed before the wedding.  At the rehearsal, walk through the entire ceremony twice.  Establish pace and timing, and make sure the participants know their proper places and responsibilities.  Rather than recite the actual vows at this time, the bride and groom usually review with the officiant what will be said and when.

It was once considered bad luck for the bride to participate in the rehearsal, and a superstitious bride may still prefer to have a relative or friend stand in her place as she watches nearby.  Many brides, however, prefer to take part in the rehearsal. 

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