Aug 29, 2017

Wedding Tips: Processionals and Recessionals

One of the smaller details in planning your wedding that is not thought of until the wedding rehearsal is the processional and recessional.  Pro what?  Re what?  This is the order that everyone walks down the aisle together at the beginning of the ceremony (processional) and end of the ceremony (recessional).  You may know who is walking the bride down the aisle.  But have you thought of if the groom is going to walk down the aisle?  Will his parents?  Will the officiant walk down the aisle?  The options are really endless and up to you!  If you are having a traditional religious wedding ceremony, ask your officiant what the order should be.  If you had your heart set on something different, ask if there is any wiggle room!

For those of you not having a traditional religious ceremony, lets go through some of the options you have.  First, lets go over the traditional christian and Jewish ceremony order.

Kara & Osman Schnepf Farms Wedding Queen Creek AZ By PMA Photography

Christian Wedding Processional

  • Grandparents, parents of the groom, and mother of the bride, escorted by ushers
  • Officiant enters and stands at the altar
  • Groom & Best Man enter from side of ceremony
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (in pairs)
  • Maid of Honor
  • Ring Bearer & Flower Girl
  • Bride, escorted by father

Alternative: Groom and all groomsmen enter from side.  Bridesmaids walk individually.


Jewish Wedding Processional

  • Rabbi and or Cantor
  • Grandparents of the Bride
  • Grandparents of the Groom
  • Groomsmen
  • Best man
  • Groom, escorted by parents
  • Bridesmaids
  • Maid of Honor
  • Ring Bearer & Flower Girl
  • Bride, escorted by parents

Kayle & Tyler - Vintage Christmas Windmill Winery Wedding by PMA Photography

Non-Religious Traditional Wedding Processional

  • Grandparents, parents of the groom, and mother of the bride, escorted by ushers
  • Officiant & Groom
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (in pairs)
  • Maid of Honor & Best Man
  • Ring Bearer & Flower Girl
  • Bride, escorted by father


Processional Alternatives and Other Fun Ideas

Here are some other ideas you may want to include or use for your wedding processional:

  • Couple walk down the aisle together.  You can walk in from separate areas and meet at the aisle.  Or an attendant can escort one or both of you to the aisle.
  • Both parents walk you down the aisle.  Your parents can walk one of you down the aisle at the beginning of the processional and the other the end. (This is what my husband and I did)
  • Two important people walk you down the aisle.  Most commonly a dad and step-dad, but can anyone!  Both can walk you down together, or one can escort you to the aisle and the other down the aisle.
  • Grandmother flower girls.  If you have not seen this idea, you need to check it out.
  • Uneven bridal parties.  You can have a group of three walk down the aisle together!  Just make sure the aisle is wide enough for this option.
  • Include Your Pets.  Have them walk in with the groom. Or maybe one escorts each of you down the aisle.  Or they could be a sign holder or ring bearer.  (This is traditionally dogs, but I will cry the day I get to photograph a cat as part of the ceremony!)
  • Walk yourself down the aisle.  Each of you can walk yourself down the aisle!
  • Train Bearers.  If you have a long train on your dress, you could have a train barer hold your train as you are walking to the aisle and or down the aisle.
  • Sign Bearers.  These are the attendants that hold signs while they walk down the aisle.  These signs can be more traditional, like “here comes the bride”, or funnier like “wait…” and “wait for it…”

Victoria & Alex's Rustic Wedding at Whispering Tree Ranch


Recessionals are the easier part.  One simple way to plan a recession is to do everything in reverse, with one change.  The married couple go first!  If the officiant has any announcements to make, the couple can walk down the aisle, the officiant can make the announcement, then the bridal party can start making their way back down the aisle.

Here is a quick suggestion for a recessional order:

  • Bride & Groom
  • Flower Girl/Ring Bearer (if not with family member)
  • Maid of Honor & Best Man
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen in pairs
  • Parents of the Bride & Groom
  • Grandparents of the Bride & Groom
  • Officiant

Having the officiant leave at the end of the recessional is a good way to signal the guests can get up and head to the cocktail hour or reception.

Brianna & Branden's Wedding at Windmill House in Chino Valley, AZ


There you have it!  Processionals and Recessionals decoded.  If you are doing anything fun and unique for your processional I would love to hear about it!  Leave a comment below.

Want more tips for creating an amazing wedding day?  Click here for more Wedding Tips!

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