Diagram Your Big Day: Christian Wedding Ceremony Basics

Photo: Max Wanger
01 of 04

Seating at a Christian Ceremony


At a traditional, formal Christian wedding or a large civil ceremony, the bride's family and friends are seated on the left and the groom's on the right. Mark off the first few rows with flowers or ribbon as seating for immediate family and special guests, as labeled below. Divorced parents may sit together in the front row. If they are remarried or not on good terms, the father and his wife should sit in the third or fourth row. Ushers seat guests as they arrive, from front rows to back; the final guests to be seated are, in this order: grandparents, mother of the groom (with father walking just behind), and mother of the bride.

Row 1. Bride's Parents
Row 2. Groom's Parents
Row 3. Bride's Grandparents and Siblings
Row 4. Groom's Grandparents and Siblings
Row 5. Bride's Special Guests
Row 6. Groom's Special Guests

02 of 04

Procession at a Christian Ceremony


Before the procession begins, the officiant takes his or her place, with the groom to the left, and the best man to the groom's left. The ushers may stand at the front, or they may start the procession as shown here. The bridesmaids follow, with the maid or matron of honor next. The ushers and bridesmaids may enter together, in pairs, with the best man and the honor attendant. The ring bearer and flower girl are last before the bride, who is escorted by her father, on his left.

1. Bride's Father
2. Bride
3. Flower Girl
4. Ring Bearer
5. Honor Attendant
6. Bridesmaids
7. Ushers
8. Officiant
9. Groom
10. Best Man

03 of 04

Formation at a Christian Ceremony


The ushers usually form a diagonal line, with the first usher taking his place farthest from the groom. Bridesmaids do the same on the bride's side. The flower girl and the ring bearer stand just in front of the attendants.

When the bride reaches the altar, her honor attendant, the groom, and the best man turn toward the officiant. Alternatively, the bride and groom can face the guests, so the officiant has his back to the guests.

1. Officiant
2. Bride
3. Groom
4. Honor Attendant
5. Best Man
6. Flower Girl
7. Ring Bearer
8. Bridesmaids
9. Ushers

04 of 04

Recession at a Christian Ceremony


As the musicians start the celebratory recessional music the bride and groom turn to each other, link arms, and walk briskly back up the aisle. The rest of the wedding party follows them, also in pairs, with the women on the men's right arms. The flower girl and the ring bearer (if they remained at the altar during the ceremony) come first, then the honor attendant and the best man, then the bridesmaids and ushers. Ushers return to assist guests and direct them to the receiving line or reception site.

1. Bride
2. Groom
3. Flower Girl
4. Ring Bearer
5. Honor Attendant
6. Best Man
7. Bridesmaid
8. Ushers

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