Planning your wedding procession is up to you. There are no rules, and if you go to different weddings, you see different arrangements.
At many weddings, the bridesmaids walk down the aisle individually to line up across from the already-positioned groomsmen. Other ceremonies have the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk together and take their spots to the right or left of the officiant.
Bridesmaids traditionally walk down the aisle ahead of the bride or behind her. They do so either to get the procession started and build anticipation for the bride’s arrival or to show support for her and do things like collecting the bouquet from the bride before the ceremony begins.
Walking wedding parties down the aisle isn’t a requirement. It’s up to every couple and their wedding planner to decide what works best for them. If you’re interested in some of the reasons why bridesmaids walk down the aisle, let’s get started.
Here are ten reasons why bridesmaids walk to help you decide whether you want it to be a feature at your wedding.
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1. Marking the Beginning of the Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony is the culmination of all of your planning. It’s normal to want it to be unique, and for that moment when the bride walks in to be something special.
Everyone is in a good mood at the wedding, and having your bridesmaids walk down the aisle to a classic song will have everyone basking in the feeling of the moment.
2. Get Everyone Ready for the Bride
Another reason to have bridesmaids walk down the aisle is to guarantee everyone, and everything is in place by the time the bride is ready to go.
People will know the bride is coming once the classic wedding music starts to play. It may not, however, be enough time for everyone to stand and get in their places.
So having the bridesmaids walk first is the perfect way to let everyone, like DJs, photographers, the officiant, and mingling family members, get in their places and be ready to see the bride walk.
3. It’s Tradition
Wedding processions have been around for centuries. At this point, the processional order is well-engrained in large weddings. Here’s how it usually goes:
- Bride’s Mother
- Best Man
- Maid of Honor
- Ring Bearer & Flower Girls
- Bride & Father of the Bride
As you can see, having bridesmaids walk down the aisle is part of the tradition, along with everyone else at the wedding party. However, over the years, people started to make changes to the procession’s order based on preferences, family practices, religion, and other customs.
Again, there aren’t any rules set in stone when it comes to your wedding, but if you’re trying to stick to formality and tradition, the above order is the way to go.
4. Wedding Processions Have Roots in Arranged Marriages
If you delve deep into wedding traditions and why they exist, you’ll learn that many of them are related to old arranged marriage customs. Traditions evolve, and even though arranged marriages are essentially a thing of the past, much of what we do at weddings is related to them.
In traditional arranged marriages, the bridesmaid was responsible for preparing the bride for the reveal. Then, the bridesmaids would wait on the bride and surround her as she walked down the aisle to meet her groom at the ceremony.
5. For the Flowers Handoff
Another simple reason bridesmaids walk down the aisle is to help the bride with anything she might need before the vows. For example, bridesmaids behind the bride are usually tasked with taking the flower bouquet off her hands so she can turn and hold hands with the groom.
6. To Pair Off with the Groomsmen
Not every wedding party is evenly split between bridesmaids and groomsmen. If yours is, though, then lucky you! You can have your bridesmaids walk in pairs with the groomsmen. It’s a fun twist on the traditional wedding procession order.
Typically, the best man and the maid of honor will be paired, but other than that, there are no actual rules on who goes with who. Just have them line up the same way when they split off once they get to the front.
7. Bridesmaids Get the Party Started!
When you’re the bride, your walk is filled with a lot more expectations. You’re supposed to step a certain way, walk at a certain speed, and stand as straight as possible.
Bridesmaids have a lot of leeway as they walk up the aisle. They can speed up, wave at guests, and put a little bounce in their step to whatever music you’re playing. They can help set the mood for the ceremony, whether you want something more fun and light or a more formal wedding.
Most brides will give a bit of instruction on the procession to ensure it’s done the way they want.
8. They Make the Bride’s Entrance More Dramatic
If you’re looking for a way to make a dramatic entrance, enlist your bridesmaids’ help. Having more people walk in your wedding procession gives you and the DJ time to build to your grand entrance.
Consider playing something light to lift the mood as your bridesmaids walk down the aisle ahead of you. Then, when the music switches, all eyes will be locked on you. It makes for quite the dramatic entrance.
9. Bridesmaids Can Stand-In for Brides
These days, more and more brides are choosing to forego the traditional procession where the father walks down the aisle with the bride. Either they don’t like the roots of the tradition, or they don’t have a particularly close relationship with their father.
If your father is still alive, asking another father figure to walk you down the aisle may be awkward. To avoid any drama, just have your bridesmaids handle the job. Then, you can walk with your maid of honor after all of the bridesmaids make their way ahead of you.
10. To Ward Off Evil Spirits
Hundreds of years ago, the bridesmaids and flower girls preceded the bride to ward off any unwelcome spirits at the wedding. According to lore, the bride is particularly susceptible to evil spirits on her wedding day, so the bridesmaids are there to protect her. First, they cleanse the room and set the mood for a wonderful wedding ceremony.
Deciding whether to have your bridesmaids or anyone else walk down the aisle is totally up to you. You can choose when and how they walk.
Make your wedding a beautiful memory by creating a wedding procession that fits your style and wedding theme. Your guests will love it no matter what. Most of all, they’re there to see you and won’t really remember how things happened before you entered the room.
Take a look at other weddings and find the procession order you like best. You can always play with the order, music, and other details during your wedding rehearsal.