Weddings are the most well-attended event in the social lives of people the world over. For Filipinos, it is a must-see-and-be-seen event in order to reunite with family, relatives, and friends, who are mostly in the Wedding Processional. For weddings celebrated in Boracay, all the stops are pulled out, and no stone is left unturned in the preparations. Invariably, money is no object.
One of the things unintentionally glossed over in the thick of preparations is the order of the Wedding Processional. This, in turn, prompts well-meaning guests and venue facilitators to scamper to put a semblance of order in the chaos of confusion. The more volunteers, the more directions, thus the more confusion and frustration.
The Order of Entrance in the Wedding Processional depends largely on several factors. These factors may include the type of ceremony or service (religious, civic/non-denominational, military, etc.), venue (church, garden, beach wedding, etc.), and the couple’s preference, whether traditional or unconventional, formal or informal. What they are most comfortable with, and what makes them happy, takes precedence over anyone else’s desires and preferences. It is their wedding.
The Wedding Processional Order
The customary wedding processional order is adopted in most Church weddings, regardless of denomination, and generally follow this traditional order:
The Officiants enter from the Sacristy and take their place at the Altar. Note that there should be an announcement that the ceremonies are about to begin, enjoining guests to take their seats;
The Groom and his Best Man
The Groom and his Best Man stand at the foot of the altar stairs. They should be in the first row of seats on the right side facing the altar. The Best Man assists the Groom during the Ring and Arhhae Ceremony, and delivers the Toast at the Reception;
Parents of the Groom
The processional commences with the Parents of the Groom. They walk towards the first row on the right side, to remain standing until the Priest begins with a Welcome and/or Introduction. Afterward, the Altar Server will ask everyone to take their sit. If the parent is a widow/widower, another adult family member stands as a substitute;
Parents of the Bride
Parents of the Bride take their place in the first row on the left side; to remain to stand until instructed by the Altar Server. Again, if a widow/widower, another adult family member can stand in;
Ninong and Ninang, the Principal Sponsors, are arranged by pairs. Women are placed to the left side of the men, to take their place in the second row. Women to the left, men to the right. Those who are first in line should take the outermost seat to make it convenient for everyone.
They remain standing until the Mass begins. Note that Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor should ensure that these pairs know each other. If a proxy attends in place of a Principal Sponsor, apologies, followed by introductions are made by the Maid of Honor and/or Best Man;
Flower Girls, sometimes accompanied by their mother or another elder, walk at the side of the nave (often erroneously referred to as the aisle). They take the third row, left side;
Ring and Bible Bearer
Ring and Arrhae Bearer and if a Christian Wedding, a Bible Bearer, also sometimes accompanied by their mother or another elder. They take the third row, right side. Tradition dictates that the Best Man speaks with the Ring and Arrhae Bearers. This is to remind them of the important role they have to perform, and admonishing them to be in their best behavior during the wedding ceremony;
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen also march in pairs, ladies to the left of the gentlemen. They take the 4th row, ladies to the left side and the gentlemen to the right;
Maid or Matron of Honor
Maid or Matron of Honor, whose duty it is to assist the Bride in certain parts of the ceremony. They take the Bridal Bouquet when Bride and Groom are at the Altar, to be returned to the Bride immediately after the formal announcement of the Union; and helps with the veil during the Communion. The Maid/Matron of Honor sits with the Parents of the Bride. The Best Man sits with the Parents of the Groom;
When the Mair of Matron of Honor reaches the end of the nave, enters
Tradition dictates that everyone stands as she enters and walks down the nave. Guests may sit when the Bride is in the arm of her Groom. Again, note that none of the Principal Sponsors are to sit until it is appropriate to do so when the wedding ceremony is underway. Note further that it is best to clear the background music for the processional with Church officials. Some churches are very traditional.
If a Recessional is preferred, the order is still the same. However, a few exceptions are the Best Man escorts the Maid or Matron of Honor and of course, the Bride and Groom are now together as Man and Wife. The entire wedding retinue should wait at the main entrance of the church for the Bride and Groom to exit and leave for the reception. All guests are to stand and stay in place as the Bride and Groom leave. Guests are to exit through the aisle, as the nave is exclusively for the wedding retinue.
We should learn not to raise an eyebrow when the Processional is different than what we are familiar with. To each his own. Christian Weddings would usually have the same pattern save for the Groom walking along with his parents and the Bride being hand over by her parents.
Other denominations have a strict code and the ceremony takes almost two hours. Some activities are carried out other than just the lighting of candles, donning of the veil, and tenuring of the cord.
A Military Wedding, be it a religious or civil ceremony, has one distinctive difference. The Bride and Groom walk under crossed swords as they leave the wedding venue.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner often referred to as the “Party Before The Party” is not a common practice in the Philippines. Its growth in popularity is due to its necessity in terms of practicing the pace and rhythm of the wedding march. It is important in breaking the ice if the parents of the Bride and Groom are about to meet for the first time.
The Maid or Matron of Honor and the Best Man should discuss what improvements are necessary and bring this up with the parties concerned, such as the pacing and speed of the march, encouraging everyone to relax and be comfortable. When people are nervous, they usually walk faster, destroying not only the pace but the choreography of the entrance sequence.
Let no camera phones mar The Wedding
Most weddings designate an official photographer and videographer who should be able to capture the beauty and solemnity of the entire wedding and reception. This will limit the overeager guests stepping in to take their souvenir snapshots.
Remember, there are no Take Two’s. Better forewarn all guests that they can only take pictures in their seat, and please, no flash.
Most professional photographers and videographers have websites where sample shots and videos can be viewed and acquired, especially those that have not been chosen by the Bride and Groom for inclusion in their wedding album or edited out of their official video.
The Wedding Retinue at the Reception
The announced entrance of the members of the Wedding Retinue is an opportunity to introduce and properly acknowledge their presence. If you opt to have everyone seated directly, the introduction should take place before the banquet begins. Follow the previous sequence save for these people being the last instead: the Father of the Groom with the Mother of the Bride, and the Mother of the Groom with the Father of the Bride, and then the Bride and Groom.
Want out of the usual?
These days, out-of-town and island weddings have become very popular. Topping the list of most popular destination wedding venues is Boracay, famous for its white sand ground through the centuries from an abundance of corals.
Able to accommodate weddings from the most lavish that require intensive planning, exacting preparations, and detailed execution to the very informal and intimate for a party of 6, Boracay is an ideal wedding destination.
Couples can opt to have the ceremony in a Church, on the beach, in a garden, or a hotel ballroom. The wedding reception can be as formal as a Russian service banquet, or a table for four, set with all the bells and whistles.
The only limit the island sets is the couple’s imagination and readiness to pay – and they are ready to comply with some unusual requests, like a bonfire at the beach, which is banned because of its negative effect on the sand. A workaround to accommodate such a request – is to use a huge metal basin to contain the fire and debris. If you want intricate ice carvings, some hotels have a walk-in freezer.
Experienced Wedding Processional Order Facilitators
Pinnacle Resort & Villas has superbly trained and highly experienced talents to facilitate your Dream Wedding, with several events coordinators within reach, ready to whip into action. A team of specialists from photographers and videographers, hair and make-up artists, reception program hosts and entertainers, even a bevy of receptionists to help ensure a smooth sequence of events are available upon request. Contact us today for a full service that includes pre-wedding coordination such as assistance in the booking of churches and reception and accommodation, everything to ensure you a seamless and successful Boracay wedding.