Post # 1
In my country most weddings are in a catholic church and bridemaids are not at all the tradition. There is only a Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man.
The way the ceremony usualy goes is that the Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man enter the church before the couple and wait by the alter. Then, the couple comes down the aisle together. The ceremony lasts at least half an hour so there are 4 seats by the alter, two in the front for the couple and 2 more behind them for the Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man. It looks something like this:
I’ll already be breaking the norm by having my father walk me down the aisle (which by some is considered tacky) but I’m thinking of pushing it further by having bridesmaids. I spoke to my closest friends and they are up for it so now my biggest problem is figuring out how the ceremony will work and convincing the priest to agree to the idea 🙂
So these are my questions to you bees:
How exactly, does a church ceremony with birdesmaids and groomsmen work?
When do they come in? I think the priest might not let them go down the aisle within the ceremony, do you think they could start off by the alter?
Where do they stand and sit?
What do they actually do within the ceremony?
When do they leave- before or after the couple?
Post # 3
In some Catholic ceremonies, the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk down in pairs. In others, the groomsmen are already at the altar with the groom and the bridesmaids walk down one by one and then leave in pairs.
They usually stand and sit in the first pew, the maid of honor may have their own place to kneel – sometimes she stands closeby to the bride. During the ceremony they will kneel, stand, and sit when everyone else does. The only difference is that they’re in the first row.
After the ceremony, the bridal party goes down in pairs. One bridesmaid and one groomsmen. The bride and groom leave last. The Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man leave right before the bride and groom.
This is how I have seen it done. I’m sure it differs place to place
Hope this helps!
Post # 4
All of the wedding I have seen (most in churchs of some kind) have involved the grooms processing in prior to the start of the ceremony, then there is the processional for the mass (altar boys, readers, priest) and then the bridesmaids process in last of all the Maid/Matron of Honor and then flowergirls/ring bearers. Then the bride with father, by herself or other escort (i’m having both parents). Then for the recessional the bride and groom exit first and it goes in reverse order – flowergirl/ring bearer, Maid/Matron of Honor escorted by Bridesmaid or Best Man and then bridesmaids and groomsmen escorted together. The bridal party usually sits in the first row, just in front of parents and grandparents. In our church the Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man also sit in this row, it is only the bride and groom that sit at the front.
However, I’ve seen it done other ways as well, in reality it’s what you and your Fiance and parish priest agree upon that matters.
Post # 5
the catholic wedding i was in this summer went as follows:
-groom waiting up at alter
-flower girl and ring bearer (they wanted to go together)
-each groomsman, single file, by height
-man of honor (bride had her brother)
-bridesmaids, single file, by height
-bride escorted by her father
-Bride and groom stood/kneeled at the alter the whole time. Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man had chairs on the alter
-grooms men sat in the fitst row of pews on the grooms side, we sat in the first row on the brides side
when we left, bride and groom went first, then Maid/Matron of Honor and then Bridesmaid or Best Man (since they were both married dudes) then the rest of the bridal party went off in pairs with with our corresponding height partners
during the ceremony, we didnt really do anything as bridesmaids. i held her boquet since i was closest to the end of the row.
the catholic wedding i was in a few years back went almost exactly the same, except the Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man sat with us in the pews…
Post # 6
I was surprised that in Germany some priests and pastors don’t allow the father of the bride to lead the bride down the aisle and expect the couple to come down thogether as is tradition and I could imagine some might have similar misgivings about bridesmaids (while others will be perfectly fine with it!) – definitely a good idea to double check!
We’re having a registrar wedding and I have a bridal party of three and I will have them walk in before me, with OH and me walking in together afterwards. Is your OH having groomsmen? If so I like the idea of having them in pairs, then, if not I’d send the bridesmaids down first. Or you could pair your bridesmaids up with your flower girls and page boys, I think that would be really cute!
The bridesmaids don’t have that much to do. The MoH usually takes your bouquet and helps you if your dress has a train. You could also have them do a reading!
Post # 7
I’ve been to a few weddings where the servers and priest process in first, followed by the bridal party in pairs. Once they reached the front of the aisle, the men went to the left and the women went to the right into the first pew. After the bridal party the flower girls/ring bearer or special attendants followed. The bride is last with her father. Lately, I have seen weddings where the groom is walked in by both his parents right before the bride and then waits for the bride to come down the aisle, also with both her parents. This is just the personal preference of the couple though, my personal preference would be to have the groom waiting at the altar already.
I have also seen differences in what the bridal party does during the wedding. The best man may have the rings or may take them from the ring bearer to give them to the couple during the ceremony. Sometimes the Maid/Matron of Honor helps out by having the ring to hand you. Some preists like for the entire wedding party to come up and stand on either side of the bride and groom during their vows as a sign of support. Like @beezzzkneez said, the Maid/Matron of Honor usually just holds your flowers and helps you walk around or kneel if your train gets in the way of you doing that comfortably.
On the way out, I have usually seen the flower girls/ring bearer go first, followed by any special attendants, and then the bridal party in pairs. The bride and groom follow with the priest going last.
Post # 8
There is a very good reason for that: in Germany, a church wedding is not legally valid, and every couple must first have a civil ceremony in order to be married in a church. Hence, by the time they get married in church, sometimes the next day, week, month or even year, they are already legally married and considered husband and wife.
Post # 9
Quick question, are you getting married in a Catholic church? Have you talked to your priest about having your father walk you down the aisle? There are some parishes that prohibit this as it is not the way it is technically outlined in the rite of marriage.
I can’t see why your priest would be against bridesmaids though. The rite of marriage says you may have attendants walk down the aisle as well.
Good luck talking it over with him!
Post # 10
Actually many Catholic parishes throughout the world prohibit the father walking the bride down the aisle, including in America. It is not always followed, in fact I think it usually is not followed, but this is what the rite of marriage says about it.
“If there is a procession to the altar, the ministers [e.g., lectors, altar servers] go first, followed by the priest, and then the bride and bridegroom. According to local custom, they may be escorted by at least their parents and the two witnesses. Meanwhile, the entrance song is sung.”
This is from the website catholicweddinghelp.com in reference to the above rite of marriage paragraph, “Sound unfamiliar? That’s because in the United States and elsewhere, it is much more common for the bride to be escorted down the aisle by her father, who then “gives” her to the groom waiting at the altar—a tradition rooted in the days when weddings were viewed as a sort of property transaction (with the woman being the property).
The wedding procession suggested by the Rite of Marriage better symbolizes the Church’s understanding of the complementary role of the husband and wife in marriage.”
Post # 11
I am Catholic, despite being a Brit, and am actually very familiar with this ritual. My husband and I walked down the aisle together, as I objected to the reference of being given away, precisely because I am not a piece of property that has to be transferred from one owner to the next. I was tremendously bothered by the whole symbolism. My parents had done the same, so there were no obstacles to overcome.
Post # 12
@Persephone: I know there are British Catholics, without them I would not be Catholic 🙂 I’m not a fan of the symbolism either, and will also be refraining from this practice. I actually go to one of the parishes that does not allow a bride to be “given away” by her father.
Post # 13
Yes, I primarily objected to the symbolism, which implies a property transfer/business transaction, as that is indeed what marriage was for many centuries when women were not seen as independent people, but rather as legal dependents that could not enter a contract on their own.
You should see the faces of some people, when they find out that I am a British Catholic. I’ve heard everything from “Weren’t you all killed by Henry VIII?” to “Does that mean the Queen is Catholic?”
True, we are a minority in the UK, under 10 percent in England and Wales, around 16 percent in Scotland (Glasgow and the Gaelic-speaking isles have higher percentages), and 40 percent in Northern Ireland, but we do exist.