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Planning a wedding can feel like fielding a continual series of questions you didn’t even know you needed to answer. For instance, what order does everyone walk down the aisle in a wedding ceremony? You’ve no doubt been to many weddings before, and witnessed many ceremony processionals, but when you actually sit down and think about it, even something as straightforward as walking down the aisle can get a little fuzzy. Of course, if you have a church lady at your side, she’ll be more than happy to set you straight (!), but in the meantime, here’s our guide to who goes where, when!

P.S. Have you signed up for our Fruitful Summer series yet? There’s so much goodness in store whether you’re dating, engaged, newly married, or have a few years under your belt! See it all here.

From Jessica and Michael’s wedding, by Blue Ribbon Vendor Tracy Enoch

THE FAMILY: Traditionally, the mother of the bride enters first, often escorted by a special gentleman in her life, such as her brother or son-in-law, and then takes her seat to the left of the aisle in the first row. However, we like the idea of honoring the groom’s parents, as well. If you choose to have them join the processional, ask the mother of the groom to enter first, then take her seat to the right of the aisle in the first row. She can either be escorted by her husband or by another special gentleman, with her husband entering just behind them.

THE GENTS: The groom, best man, and groomsmen generally process together. If you’d like them to walk down the aisle, the groomsmen are followed by the best man and then the groom. We’ve also seen grooms and groomsmen take a more subtle approach by entering the ceremony from the side of the chapel or venue to take their place at the front. Officiants generally process in a similar manner and at the same time as the gents.

THE LADIES: The music generally changes for the bridesmaids’ processional. The maid of honor is the last in line so she’ll be standing next to you at the altar.

THE KIDS: If children are included in your ceremony, they’ll process immediately before you.

THE BRIDE: Traditionally, a bride is accompanied by her father, who walks at her right side and lifts her veil at the end of the aisle. Some brides choose to walk with both their mothers and fathers (this is customary in the Jewish tradition), others choose to walk with just their mother, others with their brother, and others on their own. In unique family situations, we’ve also seen brides split the honor, by, say, linking arms with her stepfather for half of the walk and then switching to her biological father for the remainder. This is one of the most special ways to honor loved ones your wedding day affords, so feel free to do what feels best for your situation.

One helpful tip: on a pre-wedding visit to your ceremony space, make sure you time how long it will take you and your bridesmaids to walk down the aisle–this will help you plan your musical selections, especially if there’s a particular point of the song where you’d like the doors to open or to coincide with your arrival at the altar.

For more wedding ceremony planning tips, pick up your copy of the Southern Weddings Planner! And y’all, I have to brag for a minute. I just finished typing up the final edits before our reorder of the Planner, and friends, it is SO GOOD! It is the project I am most proud of from my seven years at this magazine, and that’s saying a lot. If you’re a bride, go get yourself one – it is one purchase you will NOT regret!!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    There are so many special moments on your wedding day, but I’ll tell you right now: some of the most memorable might not be the ones you would expect! That’s one of the things I love to read in our real wedding interviews–the answers are so different for each couple. Lauren and Kristian, two self-proclaimed “goofballs,” will never forget their first kiss as husband and wife. As Kristian romantically dipped Lauren, he accidentally ripped out her veil, creating their perfect first memory as a married couple. Y’all, I love this so much! While losing her veil could easily upset a bride, it only made these lovebirds laugh! Not everything will be perfect on your wedding day, but being able to take the hiccups in stride will help you focus on the most important part: marrying the love of your life.

    Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy Arrington for sharing this sweet day with us!

    I met Kristian the night of our alma mater’s ball. Long story short, three days before the Ball, my Nashville boyfriend called to let me know he would rather go to a concert than take me to a college dance. I told a good friend of mine the upsetting news. Since I was not in a sorority, this was going to be my first Samford dance, and I was now dateless. My friend quickly found me a date, not telling me who it was. On November 13, the most attractive, respectful, tenderhearted, thoughtful, funny, sweetheart of a man showed up at my dorm with a rose in his hand, just like any Samford PiKap would do, and it was love at first sight. We danced the night away on November 13, 2010 and haven’t stopped since!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. For Mother’s Day, I went home to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my mom. We were driving around Atlanta doing random errands when we drove by Bridals by Lori. My mom and I both looked at each other and said, “Why not? We had no intention of buying a wedding dress that day, especially since none of my bridesmaids or grandmothers were with us, but then I fell in love with the ONE!!! Thankfully, Bridals by Lori has a live stream and I was able to text all my best friends and tell them to log on so they could tell me what they thought of the dresses I tried on. It was unanimous!

    My mom told me about the Estate on Piedmont, and when Kristian and I looked it up online, we were blown away by its beauty. We both loved the style, urban feel, and intimacy that it offered.

    We went back and forth on a first look. We talked to different couples who did and did not do one, and decided that for our day, there would be so much nervousness, excitement, emotion, and anticipation, that it would be best for us to do a first look. And we are so glad that we did! It was so nice to have those special few minutes with each other that day.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It is impossible to pick just one, but the cross that Legendary Events designed for us was perfect and everything we hoped it would be!

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Our favorite line was, “For many years, I prayed that God would lead me to His choice. I praise Him that tonight, His will is being fulfilled.”
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ephesians 5:31-32 was read by my longtime mentor and friend, Adrienne Christian, who flew in from the Dominican Republic, where she is a missionary.

    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? My mom, wedding planner, and event coordinator were a great team! They worked very well together, making it easy for me to make decisions. This allowed Kristian and I the time to go to premarital counseling and do a premarital bible study! So worth it!

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Having our wedding at an estate in the middle of Buckhead made the wedding feel very Southern, from the old hardwood floors, to the grand piano, to the chandeliers on the ceilings in the ballroom!

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Cake? I was too busy looking at my new husband! I cannot wait to actually eat in when we are mailed a fresh one on our first anniversary!

    Tell us all about the proposal! On the morning of Saturday, April 5, 2014, my doorbell rang. To my surprise, Shawn, one of mine and Kristian’s friends, was at my front door with a clue in hand. I was going on a scavenger hunt!! The clues brought me through a fun day full of my favorite things, with some of my best friends showing up at every place. The sixth destination was Red Mountain Park. When we pulled up, one friend told me that another friend and I would be hiking up the mountain. Kristian met me at the top of the mountain, which has a gorgeous view of ALL of Birmingham. It was so beautiful, peaceful, and romantic. After he said some of the sweetest things, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Once he proposed, we still had quite the hike back down the mountain, and I wanted to go slowly because I did not see why we needed to hurry anymore. At one point, I was walking so slowly, Kristian picked me up and started carrying me! It was not until I heard my mom scream that I knew why we were in a hurry! Once we got to the bottom, we were greeted by all of our friends and family!! It meant so much to have all of my close friends and family there to celebrate our engagement!
    When did y’all get married? March 14, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Kristian and I decided that I would walk down the aisle to “Holy (Wedding Day)” by City Harmonics. We wanted our guests to not only see the story of Christ loving the church, but also hear it at our wedding. I thought we were never going to decide on our first dance song. A couple at our church told us that “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran would be easy to choreograph to, so we settled on that since I am not a talented dancer.
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, my something borrowed, old, and blue was my grandmother’s garter. My something new was a small, sweet picture frame with my dad’s picture in it that my mom put in my bouquet.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first kiss. Kristian dipped me, and in the process, ripped out my veil. We are such goofballs. It was a perfect first memory as a married couple!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner! If not, find a close friend or family member who can help you. Enjoy your engagement!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I am currently the Associate Minister to Students at CrossPoint Church. Kristian and I love serving the 6th-12th grade students! In May, Kristian will graduate with a nursing degree, and hopefully will begin working at Children’s Hospital.

    Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Connor Wagner / Venue: The Estate / Florist, Caterer, and Wedding Cake: Legacy Events / DJ and Lighting: Chris Watson / Paper Products: Village Press / Bride’s Gown: Style #120747 by Bliss by Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridals by Lori / Hair Stylist: Bailie Rangel / Makeup Artist: LuLu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bari Jay / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

    Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    2 Comments
    1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

      This is one of my favorite weddings to date! Her bouquet is exquisite, and I filed that away immediately!! I love how sincere, down to earth, and cute this couple is, and their wedding day abounds in the most beautiful and meaningful details.

    2. avatar Piedmont Estate and Gardens Wedding : Lauren + Kristian reply

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    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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