How to Do a Christian and Jewish Wedding Ceremony

Christian Ceremony Seating Arrangement

If you are going to have a traditional, formal Christian wedding or a large civil ceremony, it is natural for the bride’s family and friends to be seated on the left side while the groom’s family is seated on the right. The first few rows with flowers or ribbons and that is not occupied by the main family will be given to immediate family members and special guests. For parents who are already divorced, they may sit together in the front row as long as they can be both civil. If they have already remarried or not in good terms, better have them seated away from each other in the third or fourth row. Ushers will also seat guests according to the time they arrived, from front rows to back.

  1. Rows 1 and 2 – Made for the bride’s and groom’s parents
  2. Rows 3 and 4 – Bride’s and groom’s grandparents and siblings
  3. Rows 5 and 6 – Bride’s and groom’s special guests

Order of Procession

Before the procession starts, the officiant will take his or her place at the altar while the groom stands on the left side and his best man stands beside him also on his left. The groomsmen may stand at the front or they could join the procession. This will be followed by the bridesmaids, then followed by the maid of honor or maiden of honor. In most processions though, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen walk in pairs that will also be followed by the maid of honor and best man. The ring bearer and flower girl will walk last before the bride. The bride can be escorted by her father who will walk beside her, on her left.

  1. Bride
  2. Bride’s father/parents
  3. Flower girl
  4. Ring bearer
  5. Maid of honor
  6. Bridesmaids
  7. Groomsmen
  8. Officiant
  9. Groom
  10. Best man

Formation at the Ceremony

The groomsmen will be standing in a diagonal line with the first groomsman taking his place farthest from the groom. The bridesmaids will also be standing at the bride’s side also in a diagonal line, which makes the formation like a V shape. The flower girl and the ring bearer will stand in front of the attendants.

Once the bride reaches the altar, her maid of honor, the groom, and the best man will turn toward the officiant. This will start the beginning of the ceremony. There are some ceremonies though, where the bride and groom face the guests and the officiant has his back to the guests.

  1. Officiant
  2. Bride
  3. Groom
  4. Maid of honor
  5. Best man
  6. Flower girl
  7. Ring bearer
  8. Bridesmaids
  9. Groomsmen

Order of Recession

Once the wedding ceremony is done, the bride and groom will turn to each other with their arms link together and walk briskly back up to the aisle. This will happen as the musicians start playing the celebratory recessional music. The rest of the wedding party will follow them walking in pairs with the women on the men’s right arms. The flower girl and the ring bearer will walk after the bride and groom, then followed by the maid of honor and the best man, and last the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

  1. Bride
  2. Groom
  3. Flower girl
  4. Ring bearer
  5. Maid of honor
  6. Best man
  7. Bridesmaids
  8. Groomsmen

Jewish Ceremony Seating Arrangement

For traditional, formal Jewish wedding, the bride’s side is on the right while the groom is on left, which is different from Christian ceremonies. During the ceremony the parents stand under the huppa. For couples who have step parents, they may sit in the aisle seats in the third or fifth rows for the groom, and fourth or sixth rows for the bride’s side. But, if they are also close to the bride or groom, they can stand also under the huppa.

  1. Row 1 – Groom’s grandparents and siblings
  2. Row 2 – Bride’s grandparents and siblings
  3. Row 3 and 4 – Groom’s and bride’s special guests

Order of Procession

Just like the order of procession for a Christian wedding, the order of procession for a Jewish wedding is just the same except there are additional members of the family who will join the procession. The grandparents, the groom’s parents, and the bride’s mother will all join in the walk through the altar. The rabbi and the cantor most of the time lead the procession.

  1. Bride
  2. Bride’s father
  3. Bride’s mother
  4. Flower gir
  5. Ring bearer
  6. Bridesmaids
  7. Groom’s father
  8. Groom’s mother
  9. Groom
  10. Best man
  11. Groomsmen
  12. Bride’s and groom’s grandfather
  13. Bride’s and groom’s grandmother

Formation at the ceremony

Once they reach the huppa, the groomsmen and bridesmaids form a diagonal line from the front poles. An alternative to this, is that they will just gather around the huppa. The maid of honor and the best man will stand next to the bride and groom. Both the bride and the groom’s parents will stand under the huppa as well. Small children can go back to their parents once the ceremony begins or they can also stay with the rest of the bridal party.

  1. Rabbi
  2. Cantor
  3. Groom
  4. Bride
  5. Best man
  6. Maid of honor
  7. Groom’s parents
  8. Bride’s parents
  9. Ring bearer
  10. Flower girl
  11. Groomsmen
  12. Bridesmaids

Order of Recession

The same with a Christian wedding with the groom and bride leading the way. However, the parents will also join the order of recession. The newlyweds will be followed by the bride’s parents, then the groom’s parents, the flower girl and the ring bearer, the maid of honor and the best man, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen. They will also be walking out in pairs with the women on the men’s left arms. Right after the ceremony, the bride and groom will take 10 to 15 minutes to themselves in yichud, which is the symbolic consummation of their marriage.

  1. Groom
  2. Bride
  3. Bride’s parents
  4. Groom’s parents
  5. Ring bearer
  6. Flower girl
  7. Best man and groomsmen
  8. Maid of honor and bridesmaids
  9. Rabbi
  10. Cantor