Etiquette for the Wedding Entrance

wedding image by Mat Hayward from

There are a lot of rituals surrounding weddings. There are rules about what to wear, where to sit, when to dance and what to say. Even though your wedding should be tailored to your wishes, it can be helpful to know the customs surrounding the ceremony. Many customs vary by region, but the etiquette for the entrance of the wedding party (also called the processional) in a typical Christian ceremony is fairly standard everywhere.

The Mothers

After all the guests have been seated, the mother of the groom is escorted to her seat in the front right pew. The father of the groom follows his wife and her escort (one of their sons, if he is an usher) and takes his seat next to her. The mother of the bride is then escorted to the front left pew (again, if one of her sons is an usher he will be her attendant). When she is seated, the processional music begins.

Officiant, Groom and Best Man

The processional music cues the minister or other official to enter (usually from a side door) and take his place at the altar facing the audience. The groom and the best man enter at the same time as the officiant, often through the same side door. They take their places at the altar facing the audience, with the best man standing on the groom's left.


If the groomsmen are different than the ushers, they may enter when with the groom and the best man do. They may also wait and escort the bridesmaids up the aisle, separating from the bridesmaids at the altar and going to stand in line to the left of the best man. If there are not separate groomsmen, the ushers may escort the bridesmaids in the same manner.


The bridesmaids (with or without escorts on their right arms) enter one at a time, spaced several feet apart (the distance according to the length of the aisle and of the procession). The bridesmaid who will stand the farthest from the bride enters first and takes her position, followed by the rest of the bridesmaids in reverse order to how close they will stand to the bride.

Ring Bearer and/or Flower Girl

If a ring bearer andr a flower girl are in the wedding party, they enter now---together, if there are two of them. They proceed up the aisle and separate at the altar, where they may either stand with the wedding party or quietly join their parents in their pews.

Maid of Honor

The maid of honour walks up the aisle next. She is unescorted and takes her position at the head of the bridesmaids, ready to receive the bride's bouquet when she arrives.

The Bride and Her Father

After the maid of honour is situated, the bride walks down the aisle on her father's right side. If her father will be giving her away, he remains standing with her until he has done so; if not, he leaves her at the altar and joins her mother in the left front pew. If the bride chooses to walk down the aisle unescorted, her father follows her mother up the aisle when she is seated in the same manner as the father of the groom.

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