Processionals differ from one religion to another and from one traditional to
another. For the purpose of this book, we will consider what I see most often
in small to mid size weddings, which are formal but not stuffy.
This processional will work in backyard weddings and in venue weddings in
which tradition is desired. No one gets bent out of shape over the small
things so don't worry about little things.
The funniest things that usually happen involve small children acting as
flower girls and ring bearers. You just never know what might happen so be
prepared. Sometimes they look at all the people and just run the other way.
Sometimes they sort of get stage fright and just stop. The best one I've seen
was a little flower girl who insisted on placing each flower petal carefully, just
so on the runner.
Guest seating:
The grooms family and friends are seated on the right side, brides to the left.
In some cases ushers are used to seat guests, if no ushers are available it is
advisable to have someone standing near the back of the seating area to
help direct people to the correct area.
In many small wedding, everyone sits where they like with no designation as
to bride and groom. This is advisable where guests for one side far
outnumber the other. This happens many times here in south Florida where
often either the bride or groom comes from out of state or out of the country.
In such cases, it is much nicer to even things out. Otherwise, it can look as
though one side is not represented.
If most cases when there are groomsmen, they will serve as ushers prior to
the ceremony.
The mothers of the bride and groom will be seated last, just prior to the
processional.. Sometimes if there is music, a special piece will be played for
the seating of the mothers. If grandparents are in attendance it is nice to
have the ushers walk them down the aisle and seat them just prior to the
mothers being seated.
The order of the seating of the mothers is grooms mother first; the usher will
then come back and escort the bride's mother.
Exceptions; Many times I see the mother and father of the groom escort him
(groom) down the aisle, and then take their seats. The bride's mother is then
escorted to her seat.
If a Unity Candle ceremony is part of the celebration the mothers will each go
to the alter and light one of the two candles that will be sitting alongside the
Unity Candle. They will then take their seat. If an usher has escorted them
down the aisle they will remain standing at the mothers chair until she has lit
the candle and returned to her seat.
Groom and Groomsmen; There are many ways of getting these people to
their spot. The traditional way is for the groom to just quietly appear, usually
with the minister (officiant) and usually prior to the seating of the mothers.
The groomsmen then walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids. However,
this is not always the case. There is of course, as mentioned back a ways,
sometimes the parents of the groom walk him down the aisle. Sometimes the
groomsmen walk down the aisle, one after the other, along with the groom. In
this case the bridesmaids will walk in alone.
What you should be getting from this is that there are many ways that get to
the same result and they are all acceptable. The main thing is that everyone
knows what is expected of him or her so keep it as simple as possible.
We will continue with the more traditional method of bridesmaids and
groomsmen together.
We have the guest seated, the mothers have come in and have lit their
candles and taken their seats. The groom and the minister are standing side
by side facing the guests.
The music starts and the bridesmaid and groomsman who will stand on the
far outside of the group walk in first. They walk to a predetermined spot and
split with the bridesmaid going to the left and the groomsman going to the
right.
The next couple start down the isle after the first couple have reached the
front. This continues with the maid of honor being last. The ring bearer and
then the flower girl will follow her.
When the flower girl has taken her place, the bride's music will begin and the
bride will make her way down the aisle.
At this point the mother of the bride should stand thus giving the clue to the
other guests who will then stand as well. When the bride (or bride and father
or other escort) have reached the alter it is the mother of the bride who
gives the clue to sit.
In today's weddings, many times the bride walks down the aisle alone, rather
than being escorted by her father. Sometimes a son gives the bride away
and sometimes it is the mother who walks her daughter down the isle.
I'll make the point again, don't worry too much about every little thing. There
are many variations in families these days and so we must have variations in
our traditions and the way we carry them out.
After the ceremony, when the bride and groom have had their kiss, their
music should begin and they walk down the aisle. When they have reached
the end of te aisle the wedding party will follow in reverse of the way they
came in. After a few minutes the mother of the bride should stand and then
she will be the first of the guests to depart. The parents and grandparents or
other special guest should go out first and then the other guests.

The Traditional Processional
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