The wedding procession – sounds rather formal doesn’t it, but it has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of a wedding. Not only for the person making the entrance, but also for the one waiting at the other end and all the attendants watching. It’s also a chance for me, as a celebrant, to catch a glimpse of each person’s emotions as they see each other for the first time. A treasured moment.
Like all things wedding there is of course a traditional tried and tested formula. There are two popular formats. The bride to lead or be led. The British tend to do it one way and the Americans the other.
Traditionally Brits take the view that the Bride leads her attendants. Cast your mind back to the vision of Catherine Middleton and indeed all the royal weddings. She was the star of the day. The bride at this moment SHOULD be the star. Majestic, composed, radiant, happy and beautiful. Quite right that all eyes should be on her from the outset.
There is also a completely logical and practical reason for the bride to lead. Most traditional wedding dresses have a train. The attendants i.e. the bridesmaids, are there to hold the train and make sure that all is well. They need to be behind the bride to do this.
Those across the pond go for the build-up of excitement and anticipation of the first glimpse of the bride whereby the attendants lead the bride down the aisle. Sometimes this can turn into a huge procession of friends and family. To get the full impact one really needs a big venue otherwise the party enters in drips and drabs and the whole affect is slightly lost.
I do believe a procession is an important element of any wedding ceremony. For that special moment in time, those who are processing are transported from the humdrum of everyday life to the spotlight of a grand entrance with carefully selected music. It is a fabulous way to honour your special friends and family too.
Of course, if yours is a same sex union or you are looking at something away from the norm, this can throw up a plethora of opportunities. Walk in together. This symbolises total unity with specific family members following behind. One partner walks first escorted by one or both parents, the other follows with his or her family. Perhaps have more than one aisle and approach together. And how about this for an idea? A pre-recorded short narrative by yourselves of your journey to marriage. Lastly you both could be at the front when your guests arrive and borrow from Jewish tradition whereby both sets of parents walk down the aisle and present you.
Which way are you going to process, British, American or something completely different? I’d love to hear your ideas.