Most brides picture themselves on their wedding day walking slowly down the down the aisle, their family and wedding guests lovingly looking and them, with the groom at the altar standing with bated breath as he sees his beautiful bride in her wedding gown for the first time. The bride’s march is truly the highlight of the wedding ceremony but when it comes to the wedding processional order – who walks down first, with whom, and can she walk solo? Things can get a little confusing. Here’s a guide to the traditional Filipino wedding processional and recessional order. There are also some variations that you can do to give the wedding processional and recessional march a more romantic and cinematic flair.
Traditional Processional March in the Philippines
1. Best Man
He walks down the aisle first. To avoid any mishap of missing rings, the Best Man may also be the holder of the wedding rings, while the ring bearer can present decoy rings on the ring pillow. The Best Man will stand next to the Groom at the right side of the aisle.
2. The Groom with the Groom’s Mother
The Groom marches down the aisle next escorting his mother to his left. The Groom’s mother will sit on the first row on the right side of the aisle. In some churches the Groom’s mother will be seated on a chair with a prayer bench to the right of the altar. The Groom then stands on the right side of the altar with his Best Man.
3. The Groom’s Father with the Bride’s Mother
The Groom’s father escorts the Bride’s mother to his left. The Groom’s father will sit on the first row on the right side of the aisle with the Groom’s mother.
4. Grandparents of the Bride (Optional)
The Bride’s Grandparents comes next, after which they will take a seat in the first row on the left of the aisle.
5. Grandparents of the Groom (Optional)
The Groom’s grandparents follow the Bride’s grandparents and taking a seat on the alternate side of the aisle.
6. The Principal Sponsors
The Ninongs and Ninangs of the Bride and Groom will walk down the aisle in pairs with the female Principal Sponsors to the left of their escorts. The female sponsors will sit on the left and the male sponsors alternately sit on the right side of the aisle.
7. Secondary Sponsors (Candle, Veil and Cord)
The Secondary Sponsors walk down in pairs with the Candle Bearers first, The Veil Bearers next and the Cord Bearers last. The ladies will sit on the left and the gentlemen on the right side of the aisle.
8. Ring, Coin and Bible Bearer
Up next are the adorable Ring Bearer, Coin (Arrhae) and Bible Bearer. After the procession, The Ring bearer hands the rings to the Best Man. If the ring bearer is too young for the task of looking after the valuable wedding rings so you may choose to put dummy rings on the ring pillow. After walking down the aisle the children may sit with their parents on the right side of the aisle.
9. Flower Girls
The flower girls are up next on the aisle. They may carry a basket of petals, which they can shower along the aisle as they walk (if the venue allows it) or they could carry a posy of flowers. Once down the aisle the girls can sit with their parents on the left side of the aisle.
10. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Bridesmaids and groomsmen can walk down the aisle separately, or you may pair them together. While there is no set rule, many brides choose to pair up bridesmaids and groomsmen based on their height and/or significance to the bride and groom. Once down the aisle, the groomsmen will line up at the altar next to the groom, and the bridesmaids next to the bride.
11. Maid or Matron of Honor
On the wedding day, the Maid or Matron of Honor attends to the bride by tending to her veil, train and bouquet before she walks down the aisle. She stands by the bride’s side to hold her bouquet while the Bride and Groom say their “I Dos”.
Traditionally, the bride walks down the aisle with her father or chosen escort. Nowadays some brides choose to do a solo entrance at the venue as her parents or escort wait for her halfway down the aisle. The bride’s father stands to her right as she is “given away” to the groom at the altar. The father may choose to lift the bride’s veil and give the bride a kiss on the cheek, signifying his blessing, then takes his seat next to the bride’s mother.
Alternate Entrance for the Groom
The groom may also enter the ceremony from the side of the venue followed by the groomsmen, best man and the officiant. This is an option used in many Christian weddings.
Odd-Numbered Wedding Entourage
In the event that one or more of the wedding entourage can’t attend the ceremony and you’re left with a Principal Sponsor, Bridesmaid or Groomsman without a partner, two women can walk down the aisle together or a groomsman can escort two women on each arm.
Wedding Guests Seating
It’s customary for the Bride’s family and guests to be seated on the left side of the aisle while the groom’s kin sits to the right.
After the ceremony is over and the photos of the newlyweds are taken along with their family and friends, what comes next is the recessional march. It’s traditionally done in reverse order with the newlyweds exiting first with the bride walking to the left of her groom, followed by the flower girls, ring, coin and bible bearer. Then comes the Maid or Matron of Honor escorted by the best man followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Sometimes though, for purposes of documentation and better visuals, the recession order can be altered with the Principal, Secondary sponsors and the rest of the wedding entourage exiting in the same order as the procession. They line up in pairs waiting at the entrance of the venue. The newlyweds come out last to be showered by petals, rice and confetti.