When planning a wedding, there are a lot of things to cover and a lot of different things to prepare and have ready. You also then need to prepare the ceremony itself, so that everybody knows what is happening and what to do at each moment, as there are different parts of the ceremony and different actions that need to be taken.
One of the most iconic parts of the wedding ceremony, taking place right at the start, is walking down the aisle. Mainly the part in which the bride walks down the aisle, but she’s not the only one that does so!
But once you start thinking about this part of the ceremony, you will find that there is a lot to prepare for it, and a lot to know. One of the main questions being: how long does it take to walk down the aisle? Or at the very least, how long should it take?
We can answer this question, and much more. From the order in which people should walk down, to ways in which to walk down, and some extra tips to make it the perfect moment. Let’s get right into it!
Who walks down the aisle?
Technically…everybody walks down the aisle. The guests sort of have to walk down the aisle in order to get to their seats, but they do this way before the ceremony starts, so it isn’t a part of the official “walking down the aisle” part.
Can you imagine how long it would take then? No chance, guests go in first, they wait, then the ceremony begins.
Once the ceremony begins, the start is signaled by a procession of people down the aisle, those that are a part of the ceremony itself. But who exactly, and in what order?
Here is who walks down the aisle, in order:
The Mother Of The Bride
The mother of the bride enters first, usually escorted by an usher to guide her to her seat, usually at the front row, as a VIP.
Next comes the groom. He can either enter from a side door and take his place at the altar or alternatively, he can walk down the aisle accompanied by his parents.
The Best Man
The best man can either walk in right after the groom, coming in from a side door and standing next to him, or he can wait and walk in after all the groomsmen. It depends on your preference!
Bridesmaids And Groomsmen
The bridesmaids and groomsmen can either walk in one by one (in which case the groomsmen go first, and the bridesmaids second), or they can go in pairs, walking in at the same time.
The Maid Of Honor
The maid of honor, up until now, will have been helping the bride be as ready as she can be, making sure everything is in place, the veil on properly, and all that sort of thing. Then she will walk in after the bridesmaids, and take her place at the altar, where she will stand next to the bride to hold her bouquet of flowers.
The Ring Bearer
The ring bearer usually carries the rings tied to a small pillow. The ring bearer can be a little boy, the groom’s best man, or even a dog. Honestly, there is complete freedom here. At the end of the aisle, the rings are handed over to the best man.
The Flower Girl
The flower girl (or flower person), walks in right before the bride, to cover the aisle with flower petals.
Bride and Father of the Bride
Finally, the bride walks down the aisle, escorted by her father (traditionally). The father will then take a seat next to the mother, and the bride will join the groom at the altar.
How long does it take to walk down the aisle?
As a whole, the procession shouldn’t take more than 3 to 4 minutes. We will divide the procession into two parts: the party, and the bride.
How long does it take for the wedding party to walk down the aisle?
The entire wedding party shouldn’t take more than 2 to 3 minutes to walk down the aisle. So depending on the length of the aisle, the number of people within the party, and the pace at which you want them to walk, you can adjust in which way they walk down the aisle.
There are three main ways of making the wedding party walk down the aisle:
- One By One:
If the aisle is short, or there aren’t many people, you can have them walk down the aisle one by one, in order to cover those 2 to 3 minutes.
- In Pairs:
If you need to cut down on some time, you can have all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk in pairs, and you could also have the best man and maid of honor walk in together.
- In Groups:
If the wedding party is especially big, or the aisle especially long, and you really need to cut down on time, then you can have them walk down in groups.
How long does it take for the bride to walk down the aisle?
It should take between 30 seconds to a minute for the bride to walk down the aisle. It will, of course, depend on various different factors:
- The length of the aisle
- The walking pace
- The length of the chosen song or music (you want to time it right to make that entrance as memorable as possible!)
Luckily, you can rehearse walking down the aisle a few days before the ceremony, and this is when you can really time the whole process so that you know exactly how to organize it, and how fast or slow people need to walk.
Tips For When Walking Down The Aisle
- It’s best to be slow, rather than fast. Don’t rush this memorable moment.
- Choose the right song for you, and then time your pace to the beat, or make it so that a certain part of the song happens right when the bride makes her entrance.
- Do what works for you! Every wedding can tweak the order or tradition in order to be unique.