Pre-ceremonial music is played as the ushers seat the guests, beginning about 15 minutes before the ceremony.
After guests are seated, the groom’s parents are escorted to their seats. The bride’s mother is the last to be seated. The bride’s father waits with the bride.
If step parents are involved seat the groom’s mother first, followed by the groom’s stepmother, the bride’s stepmother and finally the bride’s mother. Stepmoms and spouses may be seated in the third row (second if space is a consideration) behind the mother; or all together in the front row, if the relationship between divorced parents and new spouses/significant others allows.
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- Cultural and religious issues also play a part. In a Jewish wedding, the groom’s family and guests are seated on the officiant’s right hand side and the bride’s family sits on the left. The opposite applies in a non-Jewish ceremony.
- Groom takes his place. The officiant, ushers, best man and the groom take their positions. Some couples choose to have the groomsmen escort the bridesmaids or meet them at a halfway point. In a Jewish wedding, the groom is escorted by both of his parents. The parents take their seats next to or inside the Chuppah if it is large enough.
- Attendants’ procession. The processional music for the bridesmaids, maid or matron of honor, flower girl and ring bearer begins as they are ready to walk down the aisle.
- Bridal procession. The bride’s father offers the bride his right arm as they begin down the aisle. The guests rise in honor of the bride.
- The exchange of vows.Traditional vows may be exchanged or you may write your own personal vows to recite. The bride and groom face each other during the vow exchange.
- Music with ceremony.Music is played during the candle-lighting or other non-verbal portion of the ceremony, such as Communion.
- The ring exchange. The best man should present the rings.
- Blessing of the wine. In a Jewish ceremony, the wine is blessed.
- The kiss. Have Fun! Think about the importance and meaning of the kiss.
- The introduction. At the end of the ceremony, the officiant introduces the newlyweds to the guests for the first time as husband and wife.
- The recessional. The bride and groom lead the wedding party back down the aisle. Recent trends allow the bride and groom to return to the church and dismiss guests row by row. This offers them an opportunity to greet each guest and thank them for attending the ceremony.
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