Pairing up your Wedding
Party: Who Walks with Who?
Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant
| Wedding Ceremony | Wedding
do you match up pairs in your wedding party? We're
talking about the formal walk in (the processional),
the formal walk out (the recessional), and the formal
entrance into the reception. The tradition is simple
and clear - at least it used to be. Guys up the front.
Girls and children walk in with the bride. Everyone
walks out of the ceremony and into the reception
in pairs. Except that it is no longer as simple as
that when you've tossed the idea of a wedding party
strictly divided along gender lines and your I Do
is made up of your besties with no
regard for equal numbers or matchy matchy on gender.
So, what are your options? Do you have to add an
extra or two to even up the numbers? Of course not.
It's your wedding, not a dinner party at Downton
Abbey! Tradition isn't law. And who walks with whom,
and in what order are practicalities that can be
easily sorted out with a little thought.
Oh, and heads up. You don't have to have a formal walk
in, a formal walk out, or a formal entrance with
announcements into your reception!
Sticking with old tradition
The tradition, at least for middle-class weddings
(more about that later), is to have the same number of
bridesmaids as you do groomsmen. When there is a bride
and a groom, of course. When there are two brides or
two grooms the same deal applies about numbers.
How the processional unfolds depends on regional
tradition, but if you go back to Queen Victoria's
wedding, the original template for white weddings, the
bride walks in first, followed by her attendants, who
will be in pairs (making it easy to carry Her
Majesty's train). And she has far more attendants than
does the groom. Something we still see in British
Royal, aristocratic, and upper class weddings.
In Australia the traditional wedding party and
processional order has changed over the years, so that
it is widely accepted that children and bridesmaids
walk in first, usually in single file, followed by the
MOH (Maid or Matron of Honour depending on whether she
is married or not), with the bride, escorted by her
father, entering last. The groom, his Best Man, plus
as many groomsmen as there are bridesmaids, are
waiting up the front. And everyone walks out in
pairs, marrying couple first.
New tradition customs
New tradition is pick who you want to stand up with
you, regardless of gender or numbers. Which means you
have to work out the choreography - who walks with
who, and in what order. A new(ish) tradition I love is
the groomsmen escorting the bridesmaids in as well as
out. Time to make some decisions.
Who walks with who and who
stands closest to you
There are various ways to pair up the two sides of you
wedding party. Your choice.
- The Traditional Pairing - by role
So the Best Man will always be paired with the
Maid/Matron of Honour. And these will always stand
right next to you. But you can extend that. If you
have members of your wedding party doing readings
or otherwise taking an active part in the
ceremony, pair those.
- Pair partners with one another
If they are a couple in real life, pair them
up in your wedding party.
- Pair them by height
Pairing the tallest bridesmaid with the
tallest groomsman has loads of benefits. If you
send the shortest couple down the aisle first,
followed by the others in order of height, it
looks great and makes the photographer's job
easier. Added bonus is that when they line up on
either side of you for the ceremony it is
- Pair them by age
Junior Bridesmaid with Junior Groomsman is a
no-brainer. If your wedding party is made up of
your siblings, pairing them in birth order works
too. But if your I Do Crew is made
up of besties you went to school with, you might
need to use one of the other criteria.
- Pair them by where they are on the
Particularly if the two sides of your wedding
party don't know one another, asking yourselves who
will get on with who can pay dividends in
how comfortable they are and how they interact.
While you're not matchmaking, sometimes magic
Think totally outside
Is your Nan going to be one of your bridesmaids?
Pair her with the person she knows best -
regardless of gender, role, or age or co-opt
someone who is not in the wedding party to do
escort duty for the walk down the aisle.
Will one of your wedding party not be at the
rehearsal? Pair that person with someone you can
trust to brief them thoroughly and guide them
through what they have to do.