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Processional

Return to the Guide to Wedding Ceremonies for Interfaith Couples.

 

In traditional Jewish weddings the entire wedding party processes down the aisle. The rabbi sometimes processes first, or is waiting at the huppah. The processional then continues with the groomsmen walking single file, followed by the best man, and the groom with parents on either side of him. The procession continues with the bridesmaids going single file followed by the maid of honor, followed by the ringbearer and flowergirls and finally the bride with parents on either side.

Once at the huppah, the bride traditionally stands on the groom's right, which is the reverse of traditional Christian or American weddings.

In interfaith weddings, couples usually have more freedom to choose their processional style. Sometimes the bride's mother is walked down the aisle after grandparents, so the bride can walk with just her father.

At the end of the wedding, the bridesmaids and groomsmen pair up to leave. The wedding couple enters separately and exits together and the attendants follow their queue.

Music for the processional usually includes pre-processional music, to which the grandparents process, a piece chosen for all the attendants including ringbearer and flowergirl. The bride and her parents usually come in to another piece of music. Traditional wedding marches including "here comes the bride" are often not used in weddings with Jewish guests due to the musicians' association with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Like all details of the wedding, be sure to clear music choices with your officiants and family members.

Finally, changes in our world today, including same-sex weddings and families that have split and recombined, have created all sorts of new ways of thinking about ritual including processionals. The processional, while being important for the experience of the wedding, is not a religious ritual. It is however a ritual of society and culture and is often taken seriously by wedding couples, families, and officiants.

The Guide to Wedding Ceremonies for Interfaith Couples is also available in PDF and Word formats.

Hebrew for "canopy" or "covering," the structure (open on all four sides) under which a Jewish wedding ceremony takes place. In its simplest for, it consists of a cloth, sheet, or tallit stretched or supported over four poles. Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation.
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