Catholic Weddings

Thoughts on processional order?

Hi, I could use some input on our processional order... Here's who we've got: grandmother of bride (divorced/single), mother of groom (recently widowed, also amicably divorced from FI's dad), father of groom, father of groom's long-term girlfriend (FI cares for her a lot but does not consider her a parental figure really), mother of bride (divorced/single), stepmother of bride. My dad is walking me down the aisle. Here's what I was thinking:

Officiant, groom & best man will enter through front side door & stand near altar

Then:
Grandmother of bride (escorted by a groomsman)
Mother of groom (escorted by a groomsman, or FI's dad, or FI)
FI's dad & his long-term girlfriend
Stepmother of bride (escorted by a groomsman or my dad)
Mother of bride (escorted by a groomsman or my brother)
Bridesmaids (one at a time, met halfway & escorted by groomsmen, other than MOH who will walk alone)
Flower girl & ring bearer
Bride/Dad

Does that sound okay from an etiquette standpoint? Also, couple questions. If FI's mom wants FI's dad to walk her down the aisle, where does that leave FI's dad's girlfriend? If FI's mom instead wants FI to walk her - does he just leave his post at the front and walk around to the back of the church to walk her, then head back up there? If either FI or a groomsman walks her down the aisle, would FI's dad process down the aisle (in this case, with his girlfriend) separately from FI's mom, and would that be before or after his mom? So many questions!

Re: Thoughts on processional order?

  • I had to read this 3 times before i figured out what you meant:

    "Father of groom's long term girlfriend". I think you meant, girlfriend of groom's father.

    Some priests process in from the back, and some do so with the groom, and that's not really your say, though he may ask what you prefer. Also, your fiance can walk with his parents 

    The procession isn't really dictated in the liturgy because it allows for cultural adaptations, though it suggests that bride and groom walk together. 
  • Tami87Tami87
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    As long as your priest is on board with what you pick I don't think there is one right way to do this. What you suggested sounds fine to me.

    We did Priest, Groom and all the groomsmen at the front of the church entering from the side. H's parents walked in together. My mom was escorted by my dad who then made a loop around the outside aisle to come back to escort me as well. Then bridesmaids, flower girl, then me and my dad. We did not have grandparents as part of the processional because they preferred not to be included due to mobility issues and my grandfather was already out of his comfort zone even attending a Catholic church wedding so he didn't want to be in the spotlight.

    I would have FI talk to his dad about whether dad's girlfriend would like to be included in the processional. The other option is to have her already seated in the family pew, but I would definitely let them decide (unless you think she would be insulted by even asking what she would prefer, in that case definitely just plan on including her and have her walk with FI's dad). I would not have FI's mom escorted by her ex-husband.

    I like the idea of your FI walking in with his mom followed by his dad and dad's girlfriend. As Carrie mentioned I have seen the priest process with the groom from the back of the church. So you would probably do something like Priest, Groom and Mother of Groom, Followed by Groom's Father and Father's girlfriend. (If girlfriend prefers not to process, Groom's father can just walk behind Groom and Groom's Mother alone, or if you can fit 3 in the aisle you could have a parent on either side.) Then what you listed for you family looks good to me. Only other change I would make if everyone is processing from the back I would have bridesmaids escorted the whole way (instead of the halfway you have listed now).

    But like I said there really isn't a right way to do the processional as long as your priest is okay with it. Definitely do ask if he has a preference though if you haven't already.  I have seen so many variations and as long as you are taking into consideration everyone's comfort and not forcing ex-spouses to walk together if they don't want to or hurting someone's feelings by asking them to sit out I don't think you have any etiquette issues.

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  • My husband escorted MIL, with FIL following behind, then circled back and processed alone at the appropriate time.
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