There are many types of ceremonies, traditions and customs. The majority of Christian brides use the following procedures, but you must determine with your family and Marriage Officiant what procedures you will follow on your wedding day.
The following schedule is recommended for a large formal wedding taking place about fifteen minutes from the bride’s home:
Two hours before the ceremony, the bride should begin dressing with her mother and her Maid of Honor.
One hour before the ceremony, the bridesmaids, all fully dressed, gather with their flowers and pose for pictures.
45 to 60 minutes before the ceremony, the ushers arrive at the ceremony site and put on their boutonnieres. They wait near the entrance for the arrival of the first guests.
30 minutes before the ceremony, the organist plays the introductory music while the ushers escort guests to their seats. The brides’ friends and relatives are seated on the left side of the ceremony site; the groom’s to the right.
At this time, the groom and his best man arrive. This is when the Marriage Officiant checks the marriage license, receives his fee from the best man and gives last minute instruction he may find necessary.
10 minutes before the ceremony, the Maid of Honor, bridesmaids, and other attendants arrive at the ceremony site. Followed by the bride’s mother, the groom’s parents and other members of both families. The bridal party and the parents wait in the entrance way while the other relatives are seated.
Five minutes before the ceremony, the mother of the groom is escorted to her seat in the first row on the right side of the aisle. The father of the groom follows a few feet behind the usher escorting his wife, and then takes his seat beside her. The bride and her father arrive in a chauffeured limousine about this time or stand inside at a back entrance of another room where the guests won’t see her. Her mother is escorted to her seat in the front row. If guests are waiting at this time, they should be seated first. The bride’s mother is always the last person seated by an usher. As she starts down the aisle, the bride and her father join the waiting members of the wedding party.
Just before the ceremony, two ushers walk in step to the front of the aisle to lay the aisle ribbons and canvas. The ribbons, used only at very formal weddings, remind guests to stay in their places until the parents and other relatives have been escorted out. At this time, the guests should all have been seated and the candles lit. The ushers can now pull out the runner if there is one. Care must be taken that the runner be secure if one is used and not cause the bridal party the chance of slipping.