What Is the Typical Order of Service at a Wedding Ceremony?


Quick Answer

The procession is the first part of a wedding ceremony. This is when all the members of the bridal party, including the marrying couple and their parents, walk down the aisle. Once everyone is arranged at the altar, the officiant may lead an opening prayer before welcoming the guests and speaking about the significance of the wedding. The couple exchanges vows and rings. The officiant declares them married, they share a kiss and they walk down the aisle together.

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Full Answer

The specifics of a wedding ceremony depend on the religion and cultures of the couple, the couple's wishes and the ceremony location. A secular wedding may include only the most basic ceremony elements, while a religious ceremony typically includes prayers and other rituals. For instance, a Jewish wedding ends with the groom breaking a glass under his foot.

There is also some variation in the way processionals happen, but the order is generally the same. The couple's mothers are often escorted to their seats first. The groom may be escorted down the aisle by his parents, or he may wait at the altar alone.

Members of the bridal party proceed down the aisle next. Groomsmen may escort the bridesmaids or wait at the alter with the groom. The maid of honor follows the bridesmaids. The flower girl and ring bearer follow her. The bride is typically escorted down the aisle by her father, both her parents or another male relative.

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