When planning a church service it is important to think about how to ‘process’ in and out of the church at the beginning and end of the service. Traditionally, at the start of a service, the groom is up at the front of the nave with the best man, and the bride enters by the west door and walks down the aisle with her father and is ‘given away’ to the safekeeping of the groom. For many couples this is still what they want to do. But for some this does not feel right, so it is important to plan the entrance to suit each couple’s circumstances. For instance, if the couple have been living together and already have children, it might seem inappropriate for the father of the bride to ‘give his daughter away’, when clearly this has happened some while ago. In this situation the couple, bride and groom, might walk down the aisle together with their children at the beginning of the service.
Here are some possibilities:
The bride enters with her father and joins the groom waiting at the front
The bride enters with her mother and joins the waiting groom
The bride walks down the aisle with her father followed by the groom walking down with his mother
The bride is led down the aisle by her father and mother
The couple enter together
The couple enter together with the best man and/or chief bridesmaid as their ‘supporters’ and the bridesmaids and pageboys
The bride walks down the aisle with a significant person other than her father or mother
The couple enter leading the procession with their extended families following behind
The couple enter in a procession being led down the aisle by their children and families
The couple are together at the front of the church waiting for everyone to arrive
The couple walk down the aisle with their child/children carrying their wedding rings on a cushion
Leaving the church at the end of the service is a little more straightforward. The newly married couple lead the procession down the aisle to the west door, followed by bridesmaids and pageboys, parents – bride’s mother with groom’s father, bride’s father with groom’s mother – close family guests and friends.