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How to Organize the Bridal Party Processional: Order of Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

You'll need to figure out what order everyone will be standing in.

One of the toughest parts of planning the ceremony can be figuring out what order your bridal party should walk in and stand beside you.

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Photo: John Cain Photography

While lots of thought goes into the planning of a wedding reception, the wedding ceremony can be tricky to figure out for a bride as well. After all, the wedding ceremony is the most important part of your big day – it's when you actually get married!

One of the toughest parts of planning the wedding ceremony can be figuring out the order of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Your bridal party should walk in and stand beside you, but how should the wedding processional be organized? This decision not only relates to aesthetics, but can also affect personal feelings within your wedding party. The more bridesmaids or groomsmen you have, the more complicated this can be for a bride and groom to break the news to their friends and family.

There is no right answer for how to order the processional of attendants at weddings, as it can really depend on the bride and groom, as well as their specific group of friends and situation while wedding planning and beyond. However, there are a few popular wedding processional ordering options for weddings that a bride and groom can choose from based on what fits best with your bridal party and personal preferences.

wedding party bridesmaids and groomsmen in front of church
Photo by John Cain Photography; From Real Wedding: At-Home Dallas Fête Inspired by San Miguel de Allende Weddings

By Closest Relationship

While this may be thought of as the more expected way to organize bridesmaids and groomsmen, it can definitely cause hurt feelings if one of your attendants feel their place in the lineup for the ceremony doesn’t match how close they thought you were. This option does often feel right though, especially since a maid of honor (or matron of honor) or best man will usually be standing closest to you anyway, with the other men and women serving as a bridesmaid or groomsman extending outwards. This is usually a safer choice for smaller wedding parties, as it’s easy for a friend or cousin to understand your sisters or brothers are closer than it is for a friend to realize she’s only the 12th most important woman in your life.

By How Long You’ve Known Each Other

Usually this works out to be organizing everyone by relationship while appearing to be a more objective ranking system. It can be a good plan if each attendant is from a different stage in your life (i.e. elementary school, high school, college, work, etc.), but may not be as effective if you met all of your bridesmaids the same year.

By Height

Organizing your bridesmaids and groomsmen by height order has the benefit of both being an objective way to organize everyone while also being aesthetically pleasing – especially if your flower girl or ring bearer is also standing with you or nearby on the outside. While you can always leave the honor attendants – or flower girl and ring bearer – out of this ranking, it is certainly convenient if your maid of honor and/or best man happens to be either the tallest or shortest person of your group.

By Alphabetical Order

As with height, this option will look objective and not like you are favoring one bridesmaid over the other. It also won’t make it seem like you are overly concerned with the aesthetic appeal of your bridal party – if that is something you are worried about. While your best friend or sibling will likely serve as your maid of honor or best man, the rest of the bridal party can be arranged in alphabetical order for the ceremony processional. This is the best of both worlds for a bride who wants to make sure she isn't hurting anyone's feelings throughout the ceremony and beyond!

For more wedding tips and advice, discover ideas for your ceremony processional music, learn more about bridesmaid etiquette, and get more planning tips.