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  • Writer's pictureMolly

How to: Planning the Processional

So you’ve booked the wedding venue, the Officiate, and the harpist. You’ve asked your friends and family to join you as your bridesmaids and groomsmen, your flower girl, and maybe you even have a little ring bearer. Now, the question is how exactly to structure the entrance of the wedding party. This is something that brides often don’t think of right away. There are a hundred other components to planning a wedding, and the processional order is often one of the last decisions to make. For everything to run smoothly, the processional order needs to be planned.

I structure the music for my ceremonies as follows:

  • ~15-30 minutes of prelude music while guests are arriving

  • Groom and Officiate head to alter during Prelude music

  • Processional music begins and wedding party enters

Following this is where I’ve seen the processional order diverge. Meaning that after the Groom and Officiate arrive at the alter there’s different scenarios for when the prelude music ends and the processional pieces begin.

I’ve arranged the following five scenarios as examples for the most common ways to structure the ceremony procession. These are examples to give you an idea more than anything, there are of course other ways to structure the entrances depending on each individual wedding.

Scenario 1:

Prelude Music:

  • Groomsmen enter with the Groom

  • Mothers of couple enter

Processional Music Starts:

  • Bridesmaids enter; Maid/Matron of Honor is last, followed by Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

Bride's Music Starts:

  • Bride enters

Scenario 2:

Prelude music or requested piece:

  • Mothers of couple enters (can be escorted by fathers or groom/groomsmen)

Processional Music Starts:

  • Bridesmaids enter with Groomsmen’s; Maid/Matron of Honor is last, followed by Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

Bride's Music Starts:

  • Bride enters

Scenario 3:

No Wedding Party

Requested processional:

  • Groom/Bride escorted by parents or mother/father

Requested processional:

  • Groom/Bride escorted by parents or mother/father

Scenario 4:

Prelude music:

  • Mother's of the couple escorted by Groom.


  • Groomsmen/Bridesmaids enter together, followed by Flower Girl. *No Ring Bearer

Bridal processional:

  • Bride enters.

Scenario 5:

Prelude Music:

  • Officiate and Groom enter

Processional Music:

  • Groomsmen enter, Ring Bearer enters, Bridesmaids enter, Maid/Matron of Honor last, Flower Girl

Bride's processional:

  • Bride enters.

Other scenarios do happen. Some wedding parties have eight groomsmen/bridesmaids, some have one, others have multiple Officiates. One of my more recent brides had her two sisters become ordained and officiate the wedding ceremony. It added for a very personal feel, and was quite touching. I've also seen weddings with no flower girls or ring bearer. Often the best man and maid/matron of honor will be in charge of the rings.

Using these examples you can get an idea of how formal or informal you would like your ceremony procession to feel. The larger the wedding party, the more structured plan you’d want to use. This also would add a bit more formality than if you had a small wedding party.

No matter the size or structure of your wedding party it’s a good idea to have it all thought out beforehand. That way, there is one less thing to worry about the day of. Regardless of how you choose to organize the ceremony, by picking a plan and having your musician and Officiate aware of the plan, you and your wedding parties walk down the aisle will be as smooth and joyous as it should be.


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