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Ten Tips for a Smooth, Stately, and Stunning Wedding Processional 
Copyright 2007 Dorothy Barth

Slow is better. Don't hurry down the aisle! Anticipate and enjoy the beautiful walk.

If there will be  several processionals (i.e., parents, bridesmaids, bride), let the music for the previous processional come to a complete end before the next processional begins.

Discuss  with your musicians the number of attendants that will enter during the bridesmaids' processional (and don't forget to mention whether you are having a flower girl, ring bearer, and junior bridesmaid). This is something that can be done in the weeks leading up to the wedding and will help the musicians time the processionals. In some cases, it  may help them to guide you toward the best choice of processional music.

Likewise, if you choose to have a parents' processional, let the musicians know the number of mothers and grandmothers who will be entering. 

If you reach the altar before the music ends, don't worry! The music may continue a few measures to reach a graceful cadence. 

For the Wagner Bridal Chorus, wait for the familiar fanfare before you begin your walk down the aisle.

For the Pachelbel Canon, consider waiting  four measures (eight long notes) before walking down the aisle, especially if the aisle is short, or if there are only a few bridesmaids, or if the bride is using this selection for her processional. This will allow the music to unfold. 

The musicians will "go silent" approximately 3-5 minutes before the first processional. If there is an unanticipated delay before the start of ceremony, designate someone to inform the musicians. Be as specific as possible, i.e., "play ten more minutes, " or "play two more songs." This will avoid awkward silences while your guests await your arrival.

If the wedding party is entering from a place that is difficult to spot or completely out of view, assign someone to approach the musicians and inform them  the ceremony is about to begin. That way, there will be no ambiguity.

If possible, let the musicians know what the officiant's final words will be before the recessional begins. Generally, this will be the introduction of the bride and groom, but because this is not always the case, it is best to be certain. The musicians may also check with the officiant if the opportunity is available before the ceremony.

Copyright 2007 Dorothy Barth. Wedding magazine editors, please contact the author if you wish to print this article in your publication.

Performance of the Pachelbel Canon by flutes of fancy.  

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