Your Guide to the Traditional Wedding Recessional
Consider these your classic exit strategies.
When the wedding ceremony is over, it's time for the recessional, which marks the bride, groom, and bridal party's exit down the aisle. A recessional isn't just tradition, though—it also ensures everyone, including the guests, is able to leave this part of the nuptials in an orderly way rather than in a free-for-all fashion. At your rehearsal, practice the recessional so everyone knows when it's their time to go. While it's not as emotional as the processional, it's still a part of the wedding ceremony and should be done right. Here's what you need to know about two different traditional orders.
It's important to note that these are simply the traditional recessional orders. If there's a configuration that makes more sense for your wedding, feel free to do that! It's your wedding, and you should only follow the traditions that are a fit for your day.
Recession at Christian Ceremony
As the musicians start the celebratory recessional music the bride and groom turn to each other, link arms or hands, and walk back up the aisle at a normal pace. The rest of the wedding party follows them, also in pairs, with the women on the men's right arms. The flower girl and the ring bearer (if they remained at the altar during the ceremony) come first (if there's only one or the other, he or she can walk alone), then the maid of honor and the best man, then the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Once the bridal party has left the ceremony venue, it's time for the immediate families to leave, usually led by the parents of the bride and groom. After they've all exited, the guests leave.
Recession at a Jewish Ceremony
The newlyweds lead, followed by the bride's parents, then the groom's parents, the grandparents, the flower girl and the ring bearer, the maid of honor and the best man, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen; all are arm in arm, with the women on the men's left arms, followed by the guests. Immediately after the ceremony, the bride and groom often take 10 or 15 minutes to themselves, the symbolic consummation of the marriage.