Customs and Traditions

Processional with Family

I haven't put any thought into the processional beyond knowing that I want the groomsmen and bridesmaids to pair up to walk down the aisle because we have quite a few. 

My FI's sisters were in town this past weekend for the holiday and yesterday his older sister came by our home. She asked me what she should wear and if she would be walking down the aisle with family. I just said I didn't know yet and that she could wear whatever she wants to. She asked about colors so I gave her the color scheme to guide her if she wanted, but I made it clear that she may wear what she pleases.

I had thought about having the groom's parents go down the aisle and then my mother and then we would get started. Now, I'm wondering if I need to have grandparents go too? And siblings? He has two grandfathers still living, I have one grandfather (paternal) and a step-grandmother (maternal) still living. I have two brothers and he has two sisters. Any ideas for how we could do this? And do I need to find another song to add for them? We don't have ushers, either. Do I need to ask some people to usher? 

Sorry for so many questions, but each question or answer I come up with leads me to another question! 

Re: Processional with Family

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I didn't include my grandma in our processional. She was 92 on our wedding day - she was fine sitting. My husband doesn't have any living grandparents. But I don't know that I've seen grandparents ever really included. 

    This is how I set up our processional. We didn't really have a wedding party. 

    H walked down with his mom (FIL did not attend our wedding) 
    My brother escorted my mom 
    Maid of honor and best man 
    Me and my dad 

  • There is no rule about this- it's generally a cultural thing.

    Good for you for telling her to wear what she wants. Fine to tell people what your colour scheme is, but let them wear what they want. You may also decide to (or not to!) give corsages/boutonnieres to your family members.

    Ushers are not necessary. Ushers were traditionally used to help seat the guests as they come in, but people really don't need help knowing where to sit a ceremony. Or, if you think they may, the groomsmen can do this role.

    I think your two easiest options are:

    1) No family included in the processional beyond parents. Siblings and grandparents seat themselves in the front rows (usually reserved for immediate family) as the rest of the guests do.

    2) You can have your families walk in separately from the rest of the guests, but before the processional. They would have their own song, but it can be a song similar to anything else you are playing during the ceremony. Then you start your processional.

    At our wedding, DH walked in with his mom, got her seated, then stood at the front. My brothers escorted my mom in as part of the processional. DH's siblings or Dad were not part of the processional, but my SIL gave a reading during the ceremony and niece and nephew were our flower girl and ring bearer.

    We thought about including more family, such as grandparents, but both of our grandmothers have/had mobility issues, so we thought it would be easier for them to seat themselves in their own time.
    CMGragain
  • edited December 2016
    You can be really creative when it comes to the processional. It sounds like you have a decently large family and a large wedding party. Unless you're having a huge wedding, that probably makes a relatively big chunk of your guest list. Personally, I wouldn't have grandparents and siblings process. I would do it this way:

    - MOB with whoever is escorting her
    - groom with his parents (or just his mom with his dad seated)
    - wedding party in pairs
    - you with your dad

    Keep it simple. For grandparents and siblings, you can reserve the first two rows so that they feel special without making your processional 10 minutes and 100 people long.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • I would just have everyone who isn't a parent or in the bridal party go sit down whenever. Sounds way too complicated to be corralling them all in the back. 
    InLoveInQueens
  • I've never seen siblings participate in a processional if they aren't part of the wedding party - doesn't mean it can't be done. I have seen grandparents seated prior to the moms. DD and SIL wanted his GM to process but she didn't feel comfortable walking down the aisle with all eyes on her so she was seated before guests even arrived.
  • I've seen grandparents process in (before parents of the groom and MOB), but I've never seen siblings in the procession unless they were part of the BP.  Not saying they can't...although for simplicity's sake and to ensure guests aren't watching a parade (you said you had quite a few BP members), I probably wouldn't.  You know your FSIL better than I do though- if having her not do it will cause WW3, I'd just let her.  Will she also expect to be part of the introductions/grand entrance at the reception?
  • Yeah, I didn't think that siblings usually did it either but their family is very traditional about formal events so when she asked if she would be going down the aisle I wasn't sure if she knew more about what was supposed to happen than I did! I don't see her often so if she brings it up again it will be easy to explain that it isn't something people typically do. 

    @southernbelle0915 I was thinking of just having my older brother escort my mom down the aisle. Do you think if I do that, that my FSIL will wonder why my brother gets to go down the aisle and not her? I know that's probably a question you can't answer unless you know her but I honestly don't know her really well. What I do know about her makes me think it could go either way. She's practical, so I feel like she would get it but she is also really rude and says whatever is on her mind so she might get upset. Maybe I could have the sisters walk with their mom and dad and just have the whole family go sit at the same time? 
  • Just have your brother escort your mom. If she finds this really upsetting, let her tell you. You can always squeeze her in if its a huge deal, no reason to compromise before she even asks you to.
    k&n62517
  • Are you having any pre-ceremony music? You can always have them seated last, not part of the formal procession exactly, but just seated by ushers after everyone else. Maybe give them a corsage/bout as well? 
    SP29
  • @charlotte989875 Yes, everyone in the family is getting a bout/corsage. I am having music before the ceremony. I like the idea of having them just be seated last without much fuss. 
  • No family processed at my wedding. My Mom was relieved as that was the part she hated about my sister's wedding. My Dad walked me down the aisle and that was it. We didn't have a wedding party so that also made things easier.
  • @ernursej I wouldn't mind having no family go and I know my mom would be pleased not to do it but I know that his family will be offended at that. 
  • k&n62517 said:
    @ernursej I wouldn't mind having no family go and I know my mom would be pleased not to do it but I know that his family will be offended at that. 

    No one is entitled to anything special at your wedding. Perhaps no one processing might be easier!
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited December 2016
    I was a church organist for 28 years, and I played at maybe 100 weddings.  The family is seated in special reserved pews as I play the prelude music.  When it is time to start the ceremony, the MOB is quietly escorted to her seat in the front,  This is the signal for the ceremony to begin.
    The officiant, the groomsmen, and the groom walk to the front and stand facing the back of the room, waiting for the processional to begin.  I start the processional music, and the bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer (if any) process down the aisle.  If there are a lot of bridesmaids, I generally start another piece of music for the bride and her escort (FOB?) to walk down the aisle.
    After the ceremony is finished, I play the recessional music, and the bride and groom walk together up the aisle, followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, who usually pair off for the walk.  The officiant follows.  Then the guests are dismissed by the ushers, row by row.

    This is the traditional church ceremony.  Jewish weddings and other cultures are different.  You certainly don't have to follow the traditional order, but this would be it.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    k&n62517SP29
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited January 5
    I have often seen the grandparents and parents seated formally before the actual processional. If the grandparents are able to participate, the B & G siblings could be their escorts. If the grandparents aren't willing or able, the sisters may walk in together, prior to the processional. I think it's nice that your FSIL wants to participate. 

    Groom's Paternal Grandfather, escorted by Groom's sister
    Groom's Maternal Grandfather, escorted by Groom's sister
    Bride's Paternal Grandfather, escorted by Bride's Brother
    Bride's Maternal Grandmother, escorted by Bride's Brother
    Groom's Parents either alone or they may escort the groom
    Bride's Mother is traditionally the last family member seated before the processional. This is the cue for the musician to start the processional music. She may be seated by her husband, who may return back up the aisle if he will be escorting the bride. Or the bride may have both parents escort her.

    Bridesmaids and Groomsmen walk in pairs 
    Maid of Honor and Best Man 
    Flower Girl and Ringbearer

    Bride and her escort(s)

    Sometimes the Groom enters with the Best Man and Officiate before the processional. The Maid of Honor would walk alone in this case.

    The family members may be seated during whatever background music is being played. 


    k&n62517 said:
    @ernursej I wouldn't mind having no family go and I know my mom would be pleased not to do it but I know that his family will be offended at that. 
    Some parents regard this tradition as a sign of respect. Although you're not obligated to formally seat your FILs, I'm glad that you recognize that it's important to them. To be honest, my feelings would have been hurt if my daughter omitted this custom at her wedding. 

                
    k&n62517
  • I have often seen the grandparents and parents seated formally before the actual processional. If the grandparents are able to participate, the B & G siblings could be their escorts. If the grandparents aren't willing or able, the sisters may walk in together, prior to the processional. I think it's nice that your FSIL wants to participate. 

    Groom's Paternal Grandfather, escorted by Groom's sister
    Groom's Maternal Grandfather, escorted by Groom's sister
    Bride's Paternal Grandfather, escorted by Bride's Brother
    Bride's Maternal Grandmother, escorted by Bride's Brother
    Groom's Parents either alone or they may escort the groom
    Bride's Mother is traditionally the last family member seated before the processional. This is the cue for the musician to start the processional music. She may be seated by her husband, who may return back up the aisle if he will be escorting the bride. Or the bride may have both parents escort her.

    Bridesmaids and Groomsmen walk in pairs 
    Maid of Honor and Best Man 
    Flower Girl and Ringbearer

    Bride and her escort(s)

    Sometimes the Groom enters with the Best Man and Officiate before the processional. The Maid of Honor would walk alone in this case.

    The family members may be seated during whatever background music is being played. 


    k&n62517 said:
    @ernursej I wouldn't mind having no family go and I know my mom would be pleased not to do it but I know that his family will be offended at that. 
    Some parents regard this tradition as a sign of respect. Although you're not obligated to formally seat your FILs, I'm glad that you recognize that it's important to them. To be honest, my feelings would have been hurt if my daughter omitted this custom at her wedding. 

    I think this is a know your crowd thing. For OP, clearly there is family interest in being part of a processional. For my family, it was a hell no.
    k&n62517
  • Thanks for such a detailed answer, @MairePoppy! MY family would prefer not to do it. My mom does not care for anything where focus is on her. She will if I ask her to, but it's okay with me if she doesn't want to.

    My younger brother is playing the piano for the ceremony (I didn't ask him to do this, he offered to. I did hope he would do this but I don't want anyone to think I asked my brother to perform a job at my wedding. This was entirely his idea as a gift to me and of course it means so much to me that someone I love so much will be doing it.) and my dad is walking with me. So really, all I have left is my older brother and step-grandmother. It's the FILs who want to walk down the aisle, not my family. I don't mind accommodating everyone's wishes, but it's getting to be a lot of people! 

     I have a lot of ideas from all of you though, I'm confident I'll be able to sort it out. 
    MairePoppyCMGragainSP29
  • I was going to say that Jewish tradition is for everyone to go. First the rabbi, then the grooms people, siblings, possibly grandparents and both parents escorting the groom. Then the same for the bride.

    Just an idea if you wanted to include everyone you can. 

    Its up to you.
    MairePoppy
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