You’ve probably heard, despite all of your careful planning, that your wedding day will have a few unexpected blips. Having been a part of – we kid you not – HUNDREDS of weddings, we can guarantee that the day will not go perfectly. However, those hiccups often make the event distinctive and memorable; after all, a wedding is about enjoying a new experience with people you love!
We wanted to point out that the processional is not immune to the “wedding day hiccups.” Maybe guests are running late or the 3-year-old flower girl is backtracking to pick up the petals she just dropped. Perhaps the wedding party started walking early and the musicians didn’t have time to change songs. Since these things are usually unavoidable, we encourage you to roll with the punches and trust your vendors to make the most out of the situation. That being said, we do have a few tips, speaking from experience, to help ensure your processional will go as smoothly as possible:
Always have someone to coordinate the processional
We can’t stress this enough. Even if you don’t have a wedding planner, you can recruit a cousin or a friend to direct traffic (preferably someone who is not in the processional themselves – many people get too nervous to do double-duty!). This person will be in charge of lining up the family and party, cuing the musicians once everyone is ready to walk, and holding the various parties back until the music has changed. Trust us on this one: A designated processional coordinator will make a significant difference in the flow of the ceremony.
Ask the coordinator to touch base with the musicians before prelude starts
Whether the coordinator is a wedding planner or friend, make sure that they chat with the musicians before prelude begins to confirm the cues and order of the processional. This establishes a connection so that any changes are successfully communicated and the musicians know who to keep an eye on for cues and transitions.
Avoid too many music transitions during the processional
While it may be tempting to have separate songs for family, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, both partners, the ring bearer, and your dog, don’t forget that the music is being performed live and the more transitions you include, the more chances there are for something to go wrong. The processional usually goes by much faster than people expect, so we suggest no more than three songs – you can even combine the wedding party and family into one song if feasible. This will allow the music to fully develop and will minimize awkward silences while the ensemble transitions to the next song.
For more advice on planning your wedding ceremony music (and minimizing the “wedding day hiccups”), read our expert tips blog.