Coming down the aisle

People are becoming more creative in the wedding ceremonial procession. There are numerous videos available on the internet that are a testament to the variety of ways couples are breaking the traditional entrance. These displays are however more the exceptions. Most couples want an entrance procession that represents them and that still has traditional roots.

 With the equality of the sexes, the groom may want his own entrance these days. Unlike the bride’s entrance which has the bridesmaids processing individually down the aisle, the guys need something different. The groom usually has his buddies as groomsmen. My suggestion to them is to come in as a group… a gang if you will. An appropriate thematic ‘guy’ song can be chosen.

The bridal procession usually comes in two parts; the bridal party made up of bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer and finally the bride. I recommend to couples that two songs be used for the procession. There is a very practical reason for this. The bride usually enters once all the bridesmaids have reached the front and are in place. However, often the bride cannot see the front because she is hidden from the audience. So there is a practical consideration of knowing when to enter. Using two songs serves as an audible cue for the bride. Once the last bridesmaid reaches the front, the musicians or DJ start playing the second piece of music. The bride now hearing this cue knows that she can enter.

I want to quickly mention timing of the procession. Once the first song starts for the bridal party, the first member should wait ten seconds from the start of the music before entering. It allows the audience time to know that something is happening. Each member of the bridal party should space themselves out in five second intervals. Finally, when the bride’s music starts, she can wait ten seconds before entering as well.

Another piece of advice is about kids in the procession. If you have a youngster of less than five years old, I don’t recommend putting them at the front of the procession. I have seen too many little kids freak out because they are first into the hall and have all these people looking at them. Better to place them between bridesmaids or at least near an adult who can guide them if something happens.

La Grande Entrée of the bride is the big anticipated moment. One of the bride’s decisions is whether she will be accompanied to the front. If so, then she needs to choose who will accompany her; her father, her mother, both? Many still go with the traditional walking down the aisle with her father. This can leave the mother feeling a little displaced. One option is to have the mother join the daughter and father once they have reached to front. Then all of them can participate in the presentation of the bride to the groom. An interesting option is to have the bride and both parents walk up the aisle together. Although beautiful, this can get a little awkward. It certainly is worth a rehearsal.

This leads me to a final word of caution; make sure your aisle is wide enough to fit the bride in her dress plus her accompanying father and/or mother. I had a wedding where there were three foot glass water vases filled with flowers at the end of the first row. When the bride got to the front and turned to face her groom she knocked one over. Luckily, her father caught it.  There was also the wedding where the bride had decorated the end of each row of seats with helium balloons. She had two columns of floating balloons. However, she did not anticipate how much room she and her father would take. She knocked over the balloons, one after another, as she processed. They would disappear under the large hoop of her dress and pop back up as she passed. It was quite the sight!