How Weddings Work: Introduction & Recessional

For the final step in your wedding ceremony, have you considered how you want to be introduced as a couple for the first time? It can be as simple as “Mr. & Mrs. John Doe,” or you can choose to mention both first names, as in “Mr. & Mrs. John & Jane Doe.” If you will not be taking each other’s names, your officiant can say something like, “Please show some love for the newlyweds!” without including names at all. Whatever you choose, be sure to inform your officiant, DJ/band, and planner, so they all know your preferences.

Congratulations and Best Wishes! You are now married and ready to celebrate with family and friends. Ah, but first we have to exit the ceremony area – a process called the Recessional. A rather easy way to remember who goes when is to exit in the opposite order of how you entered (Processional). Standard wedding parties will typically exit in this order:

  1. Newly Married Couple
  2. Flower Girl/Ring Bearer (unless they are sitting happily with their parents)
  3. Maid/Matron of Honor & Best Man
  4. Bridesmaids & Groomsmen (working from the inside, out)
  5. Parents of Bride
  6. Parents of Groom
  7. Grandparents of Bride
  8. Grandparents of Groom

Once the wedding party has completed the Recessional, your officiant should dismiss the remaining guests and direct them to the next location on the agenda, be it cocktail hour, reception, etc.

A tip offered by a photographer: Though you will be eager to celebrate with your friends and family, the first thing you should do upon exiting the ceremony area is HIDE! Photographers usually want a few photos of you two and your wedding party, or maybe just the two of you alone, as newlyweds, even if you have had most of your pictures taken before the ceremony. However, if even ONE guest corners you to wish you well (and believe me, each guest wants to be the first to fawn over you), it is very difficult to break away from the guests to get the photography finished. Therefore, plan ahead and go directly to a place out-of-sight of guests. Your entire wedding party should follow you to that hidden location, so everyone is where they are supposed to be. Remember that the sooner you finish with the photographer, the sooner you can get to your reception!

The End

But wait! There’s more! Check in next week when I start to cover special rituals that can excite your guests and brand your ceremony with your special flair.

– Reverend Meghan Gurley