I recently attended a wedding where the bridal entrance was absolutely annihilated by a vicar who thought he was a bit of a comedian. He was indeed funny. But not at that moment.
For me those few moments just before I was about the walk down the aisle, with my father and my closet friends, were the most sacred, emotional and exciting minutes of my life (to date), I still treasure those memories today.
The hugs, my Dad rubbing me on the arm to check I was ok. Giggling with him ‘backstage’, my best friend giving me a wink and a knowing smile just as we were about to enter.
The running of a wedding day, though planned down to a ‘T’, is still unknown territory for most of us.
This is likely to be the first time you will be walking down the aisle and if you are not having a church service, there is no dress rehearsal to ear mark what will happen before or during the ceremony.
So what exactly happens in these moments before? What do you do? How do you create those magical moments you see on TV when the bride 1st enters the room and the guests and groom start beaming and the water works begin?
One of the most successful ways of creating drama and atmosphere is to add suspense. But be warned: there is a fine line before a dramatic pause turns into botheration, agitating your guests and worrying the heck out of your beloved, so don’t be late!
Don’t feel that as soon as the music starts, you have to enter and gallop down the aisle.
Absorb the moment you are standing behind the scenes with the people you love, waiting to be given away. Close your eyes for a moment….Yes it is really happening – you are getting married! Savour that moment, it is so incredibly sacred.
Consider having your bridesmaids lead the procession to give a snippet and a taste of what is to come to your guests.
Hide the bride!!
That’s right. Not even a snippet or a peek round the corner to see who is there.
It might feel like you just want to put your running shoes on and sprint down the aisle, but wait your turn and take your time, it’s worth it and it will help create the element of surprise.
Honestly – this is where the comedian vicar went horribly wrong. Let me shed a little light:
The aforementioned vicar, for some unknown and random reason, decided to bring the gorgeous bride from her perfect hiding place, outside, to the back of the church, where we could all see her in full view. The music hadn’t even started playing, the guests were not asked to stand up , instead the vicar proceeded to tell jokes, talk about the rotting roof that had been eaten by Death Watch Beetles (nice), how it needed repairing and of course, that all donations were welcome.
Did we really need to hear about Death Watch Beetles at that very moment in time? We were all a bit miffed and didn’t know where to focus our gaze, on him or on the bride.
The brides cue from the Vicar was simply “are you ready yet?” (Well yes, patiently waiting for him to conclude his beetle speech!) by which point, the music had started, guests were still seated, she was halfway down the aisle, I was completely bemused, completely annoyed for the bride and unsure what was going on. The end of the world? No. But not the entrance she wanted or deserved and the element of surprise was completely diminished and those tender ‘backstage’ moments, gone.
SO, ensure you stay out of sight until you hear your cue in the music.
Your entrance music should start at the point at which the vicar / celebrant asks your guest to ‘please stand and welcome the bridal party’ GOOSE BUMPS!
Music (especially live music) is such a powerful and beautiful backdrop in creating the perfect and bespoke atmosphere for your wedding entrance.
You may have noticed that you are bombarded with wedding song suggestion lists (that invariably all have the same songs on them). Great starting point, but don’t get too bogged down with them.
Is there a song that you can instantly think of that means something to you both? It doesn’t have to be a slow song either, it can be upbeat! Is there a song that instantly makes you feel a certain way?
Unless you opt for a traditional wedding march, your wedding entrance song should reflect or mean something to you both. Or simply be a song you LOVE! (Keep it clean) Now there are restrictions to song choice you need to consider eg: if you are have a civil ceremony songs cannot have any religious connotations.
We chose live musicians to perform Desree’s Kissing You a HUGE favourite of ours.
We had a combination of a string quartet, gospel choir and piano – it was just gorgeous and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and the musicians made sure I entered at the point the song reached it’s natural crescendo.
Perhaps you might like a choir, or a soloist, or someone singing against an acoustic guitar, or if no-one can sing Whitney Houston as good as Whitney, then your favourite CD.
Once you have chosen your song, if you are having live musicians a quality musician will work with you and ask / suggest, at what point in the music you should enter. Now of course, most aisles are not several miles long, so it is unlikely you will get to use the full duration of our chosen song.
Consider: If there is a moment in the music that you really love, if this point is 5 minutes into the song, then consider editing the song if you are using recorded music or talking to your musicians about performing a shortened version. (5 minutes sounds like no time at all, but leaving your beloved to wait for you to enter for 5 minutes is cruel and apparently feels like 5 hours to them!)
Now I’m not talking about a full on dance routine or flash mob (though whatever takes your fancy and yes, it has been done!) BUT there is very simple and subtle unconscious choreography that naturally lends itself to well executed wedding entrances.
Consider: If you are having bridesmaids / guys, or flower girls, do you want them to precede or follow you?
Do you want them to walk in, single file, or in pairs?
What side do you want the person giving you away to walk you down the aisle? (Traditionally brides would take their fathers right arm and meet their groom on his left hand side). But again, whatever feels right for you is also ok.
Where do you want your bridal party to sit or stand when they enter?
Whatever you decide, inform your your girls and guys in advance, so they know what they should be doing.
Keep your head up! That includes your bridal party.
Your friends, family and official photographer are dying to see you and have their camera’s poised! No one wants to take a picture of the top of your head, PLUS we want to see every gorgeous detail of your dress!
It’s so much easier to walk gracefully (and in a straight line) when you have your head up, I promise! Don’t make things harder for yourself. Honestly, all you have to do is just walk normally, breathe. Smile. That is all.
Embrace your nerves
If you are feeling nervous, don’t panic. Accept them. It makes sense to be nervous doesn’t it? Getting married is exciting and it also a big deal! Plus when in our lives will we ever have that many people looking at us at once?
Talk to your father, or the person you have chosen to walk you down the aisle. Give them a big squeeze!
Turn to your bridal party for support, that’s what they are there for and they might be nervous too. Give them a squeeze too.
Consider putting a sprig of lavender in your bouquet.
Close your eyes. Take deep breaths and smell your bouquet or lavender. Gorgeous instant reliever.
If you’re worried about everyone looking at you, which is completely understandable, all you have to do is take a deep breath and smile and remember that they are all on your side!
And please, please believe me, that the moment your foot enters your ceremony room, you won’t even notice they are there or have time to think about it. Focus on nothing other than your gorgeous beloved.
That walk down the aisle will pass in no time and soon you’ll be in each others arms saying “I Do” and wishing you could do it all over again! Magic!