24 Aug 2017
August 24, 2017

Wedding Ceremony Procession & Recession – Officiant Position

This post is not about the Officiant’s “stance” or “feelings” on wedding ceremony entrances and exits but on the Officiants actual position during the ceremony procession and recession.   The how and when the Officiant should go down the aisle and the how and when the Officiant should come back up the aisle when the ceremony is over.  Of course, there are really no rules or regulations that dictate what has to happen, instead it usually comes down to the standard way of doing it combined with what the couple wants and what works best for the venue and type of wedding ceremony.

When discussing the standard way of doing the procession, most often the Officiant is the first to go in the procession and either comes down the aisle or comes in from the side.  Once up front, the Officiant can make an announcement (e.g. silence cell phones) and then the rest of the procession can begin.  An Officiant can also come down the aisle with the groom, or one of the brides if a same sex wedding, if that person has no one, or doesn’t want anyone in particular to escort them down the aisle.  If this is case, the Officiant and the groom (or one of the brides) should still be the first ones down the aisle and then the Officiant can either make an announcement before the rest of the procession or when they ask the guests to be seated (after the couple is in front of the Officiant and just before the ceremony begins).

As far as the recession after the wedding ceremony, the Officiant almost always waits until the entire wedding party and the parents have recessed out.   In most of the ceremonies we have done, immediately after the recession we make an announcement at the request of the wedding planner or venue person (e.g. asking family to stay for pictures and pointing the guests to the reception).  If no announcement is being made by the Officiant, they should walk out as the last person of recession giving the guests the indication that the ceremony is over.

For more logistical advice and information on the procession and recession, purchase the Asked to Officiate workbook or the Quick Guide to Ceremony Logistics.

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