Planning the Entry and Exit of a Wedding Ceremony

Regardless of culture or religion of the bride or groom, most wedding ceremonies follow a similar pattern. The wedding ceremony is essentially a commencement for the bride and groom to declare their love and commitment to live as husband and wife in the presence of family, friends, and significant others. In exchange, those in attendance acknowledge, support, and celebrate their union.

The Procession / Entrance

The manner or order in which members of the wedding party enter, stand or leave may vary. There is no right or wrong answer. This should be decided prior to the wedding by the Bride and Groom during rehearsals.

The traditional order of entry is as follows:

  1. Guests are seated

  2. Mother of the groom is escorted and seated by usher (Right Side – front row)

  3. Mother of the bride is escorted and seated by usher (Left Side – front row)

  4. Minister/Officiant enters

  5. Groom (follows Minister/Officiant)

  6. Best Man (follows Groom, unless escorting the Maid of Honor)

  7. Groomsmen (follows Best Man, unless escorting Bridesmaids)

  8. Maid of Honor (unless escorted by Best Man)

  9. Bridesmaids (unless escorted by Groomsmen)

  10. Ring Bearer

  11. Flower Girl

  12. Bride (can be with or without an escort)

Where does the Bridal Party stand during the Ceremony?

Basically anywhere you want; however, here are the traditional positions:

  1. Minister/Officiant – front and center, facing guests

  2. Groom – to the Ministers/Officiant’s left, facing guests

  3. Best Man – to the Groom’s left

  4. Groomsmen – can be last to enter is closest to Best Man or vice versa

  5. Maid of Honor – besides the Bride

  6. Bridesmaids – can be last to enter is closest to the Maid of Honor or vice versa

  7. Ring Bearer – between the Best Man and first Groomsman, or can take a seat

  8. Flower Girl – between the Maid of Honor and the first Bridesmaid, or can take a seat

  9. Bride – if escorted, stands to face the Minister until her escort is acknowledged, and either takes a seat or stand among the Groomsman or other chosen position.

  10. Bride and Groom – front and center, facing the Minister or Officiant. Some, however, have chosen different approaches and stand front and center facing the guests while the Minister/Officiant faces the couple.

In What Order does the Bridal Party exit the Ceremony?

Again, anyway, you want. The traditional exit is Center Aisle as follows:

  1. Bride and Groom together

  2. Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

  3. Maid of Honor and Best Man

  4. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, paired

  5. Parents of the Bride, if single parent, mother is escorted by ushers

  6. Parents of the Groom, if single parent, mother is escorted by ushers

  7. Remaining Guest exists on their own or row by row by ushers.

  8. Minister/Officiant exits or may remain for the signing of the marriage license and photos with the Bride and Groom

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