Ever wonder about coordinating the order for the wedding processional? Getting ready to stroll down the aisle doesn’t have to be Broadway choreography. We have the traditional Jewish wedding processional for you right here, so you don’t need to worry about who goes where and when.
First to walk down is the rabbi. If you choose to have a cantor, too, the cantor will walk with the rabbi to his right. They set up shop under the chuppah where there should be a microphone stand and a table with all of the wedding accessories (kiddush cup, bottle of wine, and signed ketubah).
Second to mosey down the aisle are the bride’s grandparents followed by the groom’s grandparents. If there is a scenario where there is a single grandparent, consider having a cousin or father walk the single grandparent down the aisle. After the walk-down, the grandparents should sit in the first row of chairs, closest to the chuppah. Bubbie’s gotta hear, ya know?
Next, the groom’s attendants, followed by the best man, take a hike down the aisle to clear the path in support of the groom.
Then, the groom walks down the aisle with his parents. The father is to the left and the mother is to the right. Their son is obviously in the middle. It’s a groom sandwich! The groom’s parents should go take their places under the chuppah on the left side (if you’re looking at the chuppah).
While the groomsmen line up to the left of the chuppah (if you’re looking at it), the groom stands at the foot of the chuppah, waiting for his bride to join him.
But first he watches as the bridesmaids and the maid of honor make their way down the aisle and settle to the right of the chuppah (if you’re looking at it).
This next slot would be for any flower girls or ring bearers if you choose to have them.
Finally, the big reveal: the bride walks down the aisle with her parents. The father is on her left and the mother is on her right. The bride’s parents will then make their way under the chuppah on the right side, joining the new machatunim (yiddish for “in-laws,” also known as, the groom’s parents or the bride’s parents, depending on who’s speaking. Used in a sentence: “We’re going to the machatunim’s house for Passover tonight. Our daughter Esther’s mother-in-law makes a very good gefelte fish, no?”).
What happens next is determined by the rabbi and the couple. This varies from rabbi to rabbi. But eventually, the bride and groom will join their parents and the rabbi under the chuppah to begin the ceremony.
The recessional isn’t much different than the processional. As we learned in 4th grade English, “re” means again, so it’s really just the “-cessional” again. After the glass is broken and there are lots of kisses and exclamations of “mazal tov!”, the couple turns around and faces the guests and leads the way down the aisle. The parents should go next, then the members of the wedding party.
You may choose to have your wedding party paired up in couples. We’ve seen this at many Jewish weddings, so it seems to be okay. If you opt to couple up your bridal party, they can process between the bride and groom and recess after the parents.
As always, we must remind you to consult your rabbi or cantor about this topic before setting anything in stone. We write what we know, but we’re not clergy.
Let us remind you, dear brides, to take a deep breath, open your eyes, and smile! Walking down the aisle and seeing your friends and family surrounding you is an overwhelming and beautiful experience. Take it all in and enjoy!