Feb. 2, 2011, 7 a.m. by SMARTBRIDE

How Should I Hold My Bouquet?


With all you newly engaged brides out there, we thought this post from The Fab Bride (with stellar advice from the ladies over at TwoWeddingBelles.com might be of use. Here, your most burning questions about the wedding ceremony - enjoy!

Wedding Bouquet

Image courtesy of Christina Gapic

"How should I hold my bouquet?"

Try to rest your forearms casually on your hip bones and hold the blooms centered in front of you. It may feel like you’re holding the flowers too low, but the tendency is to start to move them higher if you get nervous. Remember, it isn’t a floral microphone, so there’s no need to have the bouquet right underneath your face. It will look best to those in attendance, as well as in photos, if you keep the flowers no higher than your midsection.

"How fast/slow should I walk down the aisle?"

The easiest way to keep a good walking pace is to take your cue from the processional music. Listen to the beat and keep in stride with the music (which will most likely be fairly slow) being played. Remember, you will tend to speed up if you get nervous, so starting off slow will ensure you don't end up power walking towards the altar. Everyone wants to see you as you pass down the aisle, and there isn’t any reason to rush. Plus, taking a leisurely stroll will make the photographer's job that much easier. Oh, and step-together-step is definitely not required.

"Who walks on which side of the aisle?"

The general rule here is for the female to walk on the couple's left and the male to walk on the couple's right for the processional. This follows the conventional seating arrangement where the bride’s side is on the left and the groom’s side is on the right (when looking from the back to the front). However, we know that traditional Jewish ceremonies, for one, go with the opposite seating arrangement. So in such cases, an opposite walking arrangement would similarly make the most sense. You’re looking for the easiest transition for your attendants once they reach the end of the aisle, so avoiding any sort of crossover or spin moves is the logical way to figure this one out.

"Who exactly walks down the aisle and in what order?"

Let's start with who doesn't walk down the aisle. The groom, the best man, and the officiant typically stand at the front of the ceremony space during the processional. The groomsmen can either stand in front with the groom or accompany the bridesmaids while they are walking. Traditionally, the aisle cast of characters includes:

1. Grandparents of the Bride
2. Grandparents of the Groom
3. Mother of the Bride (escorted by a male relative)
4. Parents of Groom
5. Ring bearer and/or flower girl (if you're having them)
6. Bridesmaids
7. Maid/Matron of Honor
8. Bride (accompanied by her father).

If you're going the traditional route, this list is an easy-peasy guide and we even used the conventional order. (We're sweet like that). What's that you say... the reason you're asking is because your family situation is a tad more complex? Then we'll offer this advice. It's your wedding day, and your preferences of who will and won't walk will prevail. That being said, a wedding is an important union of two families, not just the bride and groom. Wherever you can, err on the side of being gracious and inclusive.

Wedding Rings

Image courtesy of Christina Gapic

"How will I know when to present the rings?"

The best man got the rings safely to the ceremony. Phew. Now he sometimes tends to be overly pre-occupied with the possibility of missing his next big job, which is presenting the rings for the blessing and/or exchange. There is really no chance of this happening, however, since the officiant will make it blatantly clear when the rings are needed, by asking the best man for them directly when that part of the ceremony hits. The best man can sit back and relax…and start thinking about his upcoming big speech!

Flower Girl

Image courtesy of Ashley Athey Photography

"What should the ring bearer and/or flower girl do after the processional?"

You really have to know the limits of the youngest members of your wedding party when it comes to this one. Generally, we say that once the little ones have accomplished the feat of making it to the end of the aisle, their official duties should be over. Let them sit during the ceremony with their parents, grandparents, or a close family friend – someone who will know when to make a run for the door in the off chance that he or she starts to get fussy or fidgety. Their main job is to look adorable walking down the aisle, so once they’re done, there really isn’t a need to have them sit/stand with the wedding party or take part in the recessional.

There you have it, our most commonly fielded questions regarding all things ceremony. Every couple will have its own priorities and preferences, and many churches/ceremony venues/seasoned officiants will have their own set of guidelines for you to follow. But our list will at least get you started.

For more advice, check out The Fab Bride and Two Wedding Belles.