Your Wedding Party and How to Pair Up for the Processional

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words by // Eve Green


Two by two . . . yet another wedding planning task you will have to tackle is determining who will walk in your wedding processional and how they’ll be paired up. At first, processional planning choices may seem simple, actually, however, there are many points to consider.

Begin by listing whom you want to walk in the processional. Traditionally, this includes honored guests such as the grandparents and parents, followed by the wedding party, ring bearers, and flower girls. Anyone in the processional should attend the rehearsal to ensure everything runs smoothly and clears up any confusion as to when they will proceed.

How to Pair Up for the Processional

There are a few different ways to pair up bridesmaids and groomsmen for the processional, with the order being determined by importance. The best man and maid/matron of honor will stand closest to the bride and groom with the remaining wedding party members standing behind them in order. As far as which bridesmaid walks with which groomsman, this is typically determined by relationship. For example, if any bridesmaid is married to or in a relationship with a groomsman, it’s customary to have them walk together. Similarly, wedding party members who are friends are usually paired together. If your top concern is perfectly balanced wedding photos, consider pairing your bridesmaid and groomsmen by height, with the tallest walking together and so on.

Finally, the bride will be the last person to walk down the aisle. At this greatly anticipated moment, she may walk down the aisle solo or accompanied by a parent or loved one. Some brides are embracing a combination approach by starting the walk down the aisle alone and meeting up with a parent halfway down the aisle.

What to Do with an Uneven Wedding Party

If you don’t have equal numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to deal with an uneven wedding party. Today groomsmen may be part of the processional rather than following the tradition of entering from the side to stand with the groom at the altar before the processional. To adjust for uneven numbers, a bridesmaid may be paired with two groomsmen, or one groomsman paired with two bridesmaids. Or, the groomsmen may all stand at the altar at the start of the processional with bridesmaids proceeding one by one or in pairs down the aisle.

Once the wedding party reaches the altar it’s traditional to stand throughout the entire ceremony. If your ceremony includes a full mass you may opt for your bridesmaids and groomsmen to sit throughout the majority of the ceremony. Even without a full mass, some non-traditional couples, for a more intimate feel, opt to have only the maid/matron of honor and best man stand behind the bride and groom during the ceremony.