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Not sure how to make your entrance for the ceremony? There is a particular order that should be followed. Your wedding officiant should assist you with these details. However, if you are being married by a friend/relative ('officiant for the day'), you may need to do your homework!
The couple will each make their way to the altar separately. This symbolizes the fact that you are coming from different families and different backgrounds. Holding hands, exchanging wedding rings and kissing represent the merging of both your lives into one.
In a traditional Christian procession, the father escorts the bride as she makes her way down the aisle to her future husband. In the traditional Jewish procession both parents escort the bride and groom.
Today the bride may choose a person that she is closest to. For instance, she may choose her stepfather if she feels closer to him than her biological father. She may choose both her mother and father or even a favorite uncle. Or perhaps she may walk down the aisle by herself. The choice is totally up to the bride. The procession goes as follows:
During the wedding rehearsal, your officiant will help you organize the altar arrangement. Traditionally, during a Christian ceremony the bride will stand on the left with her back to the congregation. The groom will stand to her right. During a Jewish ceremony the bride is on the right and the groom is on the left.
Traditionally, the attendants will divide by the sexes. The bridesmaids will be on the bride's side and the groomsmen will be on the groom's side. However, you can have the attendants walk down the aisle in pairs and have one couple pair to the right behind the groom and another couple pair to the left behind the bride. Alternating until all attendants are either behind the bride or groom. They will either line up diagonally behind the bride and groom or create a semi-circle around the bride and groom. During a Jewish ceremony, the attendants will stand under the huppah with the bride and groom. The honor attendants stand one diagonal step behind the bride and groom followed by the other attendants behind them.
During a traditional Christian ceremony, the bride's father will escort her down the aisle and will either leave her at the altar with the groom or will stand between the couple until the officiant asks: "Who supports this woman in marriage?" . Then he will give his blessing and take a seat next to the bride's mother in the front pew. The groom's parents will also sit in the front pew (usually on the groom's side). However, you can choose to have the parents stand with you at the altar. During a Jewish ceremony, the parents stand under the huppah on either side of the rabbi.
If you have children in your wedding, they can be seated with their parents after reaching the altar. However, if you feel that they are old enough to stand still, then by all means, have them stand in the altar line-up.
If you have a relative or friend who will participate by doing a reading, seat them close enough to the front. They will get up to do the reading and then will sit back down in their seat. So be sure that they have easy access to the front so they won't have to step on any toes as they proceed to the altar.
After the ceremony is over and you've kissed and been announced husband and wife, it's time to go celebrate. The recession goes as follows:
MA Wedding License
The Heart of the Ceremony
Quick Guide to Planning a Massachusetts Wedding
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