How to walk down the aisle

How to walk down the aisle

Photo by Amanda May

Most brides have seen enough rom-coms to know that the last person to walk down the aisle will typically be them. But when it comes to the rest of the wedding processional order, and who walks down when, it can all get quite confusing. We’re here to help you with general guidelines for who walks first, who walks next, and who can walk together. Follow this tutorial for the wedding processional order and you’re golden!

1. Mother of the Bride

Traditionally, the mother of the bride walks down the aisle first and then takes a seat in the first row to the left of the aisle (note: in Christian weddings, the bride’s side is to the left of the aisle, where as in Jewish weddings the bride’s side is on the right). In Jewish weddings, it’s customary for the mother of the bride and the father of the bride to walk the bride down the aisle.

2. Grandparents of the Bride

The bride’s grandparents can also begin the wedding processional, after which they will take a seat in the first row.

3. Grandparents of the Groom

The groom’s grandparents will typically follow the bride’s grandparents, taking a side on the alternate side of the aisle.

4. Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

Bridesmaids and groomsmen can walk down separately, or you may pair them together. Though there is no set rule, many brides choose to pair up bridesmaids and groomsmen based on height and/or significance to the bride & groom. Once down the aisle, the groomsmen will line up at the altar next to the groom, and the bridesmaids next to the bride.

5. Best Man

The best man follows the bridesmaids and groomsmen and can walk down alone or with the maid or matron of honor. He may also be the holder of the rings, and will stand next to the groom at the altar.

6. Maid and/or Matron of Honor

Should you choose to have the maid and/or matron of honor walk down separately, they should follow the best man. They will stand next to you at the altar, and will hold your bouquet as you say “I do!”

7. Groom

The groom walks down next, and can walk down alone or escorted by his mother and father. In Jewish weddings, the bride and groom’s parents, as well as all siblings will stand underneath the Chuppah with the bride & groom. The groom can also enter the ceremony from the side of the room followed by the groomsmen, best man and the officiant, an option used in many Christian weddings.

8. Officiant

The officiant may choose his or her place in the ceremony based on tradition. They may select the option of approaching the altar from the side of the room with the groom or may choose to be the first of the processional before the grandparents of the bride. You can speak with your officiant about his or her preferences when you meet prior to the wedding.

9. Ring Bearer & Flower Girl

Your adorable ring bearers and flower girls are up next. The flower girl is typically the last one to walk down the aisle before the bride.

10. Bride

The bride walks down the aisle last with her escort. The escort will lift the veil and kiss the bride before the bride approaches the groom at the altar.

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How to walk down the aislesays: Anonymous

Well let’s just forget about seating the Mother of the Groom?

How to walk down the aislesays: Maria Edwards

What is the order of the wedding March?

Be careful with this. Much of the order above is reverse of Emily Post formal etiquette. Before people could read, the processional was your lineage on parade. Grandparents (Groom’s first followed by Bride’s) gave birth to the parents, (If divorced FOG first and then MOG) gave birth to the couple, with Mother of the Bride last to be seated as a place of honor before the Bridal Party. That they all walked showed their ascent to the marriage and to the joining of their assets. The Groom and Best Man were either first or he was already up there. Since seeing one another for pictures is a relatively new thing, and not all do a reveal, the Groom in place already gives the Bride more freedom of movement without being seen. The traditional order of the bridal party was the first to enter standing the farthest away and then working closer to the center where the Bride will stand. Today we do whatever works best in the moment. However, it is also good to be aware of the what and whys of what were once hard and fast rules. If one of you grew up in a family where your mother would have been mortified if you used the wrong fork first or reached for the person next to you’s bread at a formal table… the traditional order is something good to know and then adjust to functionality.

Hi! Check out #7. 🙂 She would walk down with the groom if she is solo, or the groom could choose to walk down with both of his parents. However traditionally the groom’s parents aren’t part of the formal processional.

How to walk down the aislesays: AR

Nowadays, there is really no right or wrong thing to do with weddings. It is pretty much up to the couple to choose how they want their wedding to be. This article will outline what is traditional for weddings and what is an alternative way to do things.

Choosing Sides

Traditionally the bride’s family and friends sits on the left side and the groom’s family and friends on the right side. Groomsmen many times escorts guests to the either side. The family sits in the front rows on both sides.

Now, you may see that guests can sit on any side that they’d like. We like to do the choose a seat not a side and save the front rows for immediate family.

Walking the Bride Down the Aisle

Traditionally, the father of the bride walks the bride down the aisle.

Now, you can have anyone who is special walk you down the aisle – brother, uncle, cousin, your children, your sister, you Maid/ Matron of honor, or maybe even both parents.

Wedding Party Entrance

The officiant is at the front waiting for the wedding party to walk down. All the guests are seated, including the groom’s parents, and then the bridal party makes its way down the aisle. (If you are not having chairs, everyone will be standing, instead of seated.)

The order for walking down the aisle is below:

  • The Groom starts the ceremony by walking down the aisle (he can escort his mom if he’d like)
  • The Bride’s Mother can walking down the aisle if she would like (someone special walks her down)
  • Best Man
  • Groomsmen
  • Ring Bearer
  • Maid/ Matron of Honor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Flower Girls
  • Bride (and person if they are walking her down)

The officiant is at the front waiting for the wedding party to walk down. All the guests are seated, including the groom’s parents, and then the bridal party makes its way down the aisle. (If you are not having chairs, everyone will be standing, instead of seated.)

The order for walking down the aisle is below:

  • The Groom starts the ceremony by walking down the aisle (he can escort his mom if he’d like)
  • The Bride’s Mother can walking down the aisle is she would like (someone special walk her down)
  • Best Man paired with Maid/ Matron of Honor
  • Groomsmen paired with Bridesmaid (walking together)
  • Ring Bearer
  • Flower Girls (with ring bearer or by herself)
  • Bride (and person if they are walking her down)

All the guests are seated, included the bride’s mother (except if she is walking with the bride) and the groom’s parents are seated. (If you are not having chairs, everyone will be standing, instead of seated.)

The groom and groomsmen will already be at the front waiting for the bride. Many times, the groom will have his back to the bride and then turn around to see her for their first look when she is making her way down the aisle.

Then, the order for walking down the aisle is below:

  • Ring Bearer
  • Bridesmaids
  • Maid/ Matron of Honor
  • Flower Girls
  • Bride (and person if they are walking her down)

If there is something unique to the two of you for walking down the aisle, please let us know.

Here’s a few different ideas to think about also:

Bride’s Mother – maybe joining her could be the bride’s brother or other person in the family so she doesn’t walk down the aisle alone.

If you want to include your family more:

  • Groom walks with this Mother
  • Groom’s Father with groom’s Grandmother
  • Bride’s Mother with Brides’s Sister
  • Bride with her Father

If there is no bridal party:

  • Groom walks in with both of his parents
  • Bride walks in with both of her parents

If there is a large bridal party:

  • The bridesmaids and groomsmen can be paired together

How to walk down the aisle

Standing Up Front

Traditionally, the Bride, Groom and Minister are in the middle, and the bridal party is around them, in the reverse order they walked down the aisle. For example, the Maid of Honor would be the last person in the bridal party before the bride, she would stand right next to the Bride and the first bridesmaid to walk down the aisle would be on the very last person on the end.

You may want to have the bridal party take their seat and only have the Best Man and Maid of Honor up front.

Walking After the Ceremony

The Bride and Groom are the first to walk up the aisle after the ceremony. From there it is who ever is next to them that walks as a couple – for example, the Maid of Honor and the Best Man.

You can pair the two of them to walk up the isle or have them walk individually.

However you choose to have the bridal party walking down the aisle, Coastal California Weddings helps their couples coordinate the order of the bridal party. Also, since we coordinate the day of the wedding, we will be in charge of working with the order of the bridal party.

Coastal California Weddings provides all-inclusive weddings and elopements on the Central Coast. Have your wedding overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Pismo Beach, Shell Beach, or Avila.

When you walk down the aisle on your wedding day, all eyes are on you. Your dress, veil, hair, makeup and accessories have been carefully planned out so that you look absolutely perfect. You’ve chosen the perfect song to set the scene and demonstrate your feelings. To ensure that your walk down the aisle goes smoothly, you’ll want to practice it at least once during the rehearsal. Follow these simple steps to make your walk down the aisle graceful and elegant.

Even if this might feel unnatural at first, holding your bouquet lower will make your arms and torso look better. This will create a slimming effect in photos and guests will also be able to see the beautiful bodice of your wedding dress. To achieve this sophisticated look, hold your bouquet low enough so that your arms are bent in a diamond shape in front of your body.

How to walk down the aisle

Some brides tend to walk quickly when they are nervous, while others tend to walk slowly. To make things seem as natural and seamless as possible, a good rule of thumb is to walk at a normal pace for you. However, depending on the song you’ve chosen for your walk, you may want to adjust your pace to match the beat. If the song is set to a moderate or slightly fast beat, it might seem more natural to follow the tempo. If it’s slow, then you’ll want to walk at your normal pace. Figuring out what pace to walk at is definitely something that you’ll learn quickly with a practice run.

How to walk down the aisle

It may help to calm your nerves to stare directly forward and avoid all eye contact with your guests, but this creates a stiff, unnatural presence that ultimately looks and feels awkward. Feel free to look around at the crowd at all of the guests who have shown up to support you and your love. You may find that your aunt is beaming back at you, or your uncle is sending you a comforting gaze. If eye contact is something that will cause more fear than reassurance, then glancing around at the tops of guests’ heads in the crowd is a simple trick that will help you achieve this natural presence.

How to walk down the aisle

Your dress and bouquet may be heavy, and you might not be used to wearing your wedding heels, but the easiest way to instantly appear more graceful and elegant is to stand up straight. Having good posture while you walk down the aisle will make you look tall, lean and more beautiful. Hunching over will look especially obvious in photos, and something as simple as rolling your shoulders down your back will you help you avoid this unappealing look.

How to walk down the aisle

Perhaps the most common fear brides have of their walks down the aisle is tripping over their wedding dresses. These gorgeous gowns are typically floor length, and oftentimes have long trains too. Most brides probably don’t have much experience walking in floor length ball gowns, so a helpful trick to help you glide down the aisle is to be mindful of your dress as you take each step. As you put your foot forward to take a step, your dress will move against the back of your leg. If you wait until the hem of your dress grazes your ankle, you will never step on your dress. This is something that may require a few practice runs, so if you still aren’t comfortable with this process then you can also ask your seamstress to hem your dress slightly shorter.

How to walk down the aisle

We know you’re nervous on one of the most important days of your life, but sometimes we let it show in our faces. Remember to smile and try to enjoy yourself as you gracefully float down the aisle. Everyone in that room is there to support you and celebrate your love, and smiling throughout your walk will let your guests know that you’re happy they came and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

How to walk down the aisle

Your wedding rehearsal is the ideal time to have everyone in your wedding party practice their duties at least once before the big day. Walking down the aisle on your wedding day may seem like a huge deal, but remember that all you’re doing is walking! Smile, stand up straight and be mindful of your dress and bouquet. When looking around the room, you can lock eyes with your partner to be reminded of all of the reasons why you’re doing this. In the end, the most important thing is that you’re marrying the love of your life and your friends and family are there for the two of you.

How to walk down the aisle

How to walk down the aisleRussell-Killen Photography

You can be the most prepared bride or groom ever, but as soon as you start walking down the aisle nerves are bound to take over. It can be an exciting feeling—this is finally happening!—but it can also be more severe and get in the way of the magic of the moment. No worries—you can start your walk with confidence, not acute anxiety, by deploying some of these quick tips.

Here’s some advice on how to relax before walking down the aisle.

Prep with a few minutes of me-time.

Your wedding day will be so busy and packed to the hilt with stuff to get done, people to talk to and places to hustle to. By the time the ceremony is set to begin, you’ll probably be rattled. Try to schedule a few moments—seriously, just five minutes will do—to yourself right before walking down the aisle. Find a peaceful place, shut the door, close your eyes and collect yourself. Try a meditation app if that’s your thing. Use this time and space to totally zone out, or to drink a cold glass of water (you’re probably dehydrated!) and think of all the reasons you want to be married to your partner (not wedding stuff, marriage stuff!). It’ll be the perfect reset before your big moment, and it’ll help you separate wedding stress from marriage excitement.

Validate your nervousness.

Don’t try to deny your nerves, and don’t judge yourself for feeling stressed—telling yourself “I’m so stupid to feel like this!” is only going to make things worse. Plus, walking down the aisle is a super-normal thing to be nervous about—this is one of the biggest moments of your life, and it’d be weird if you weren’t nervous! Instead of trying to banish it, take a moment to rationalize it. Before walking down the aisle, identify the reasons you’re feeling anxious—because there are a lot of people looking at you, because you’re waited for this moment for a long time, because you’re so excited to be married but you’re also not sure what to expect, maybe all of the above! Once you’ve rationalized what’s fueling your nerves, it’ll be a lot easier to cope with them.

Make a plan.

A lot of the anxiety you’ll feel on your wedding day comes simply from fear of the unknown. Most of us have never walked down the aisle at our own weddings before, and have no idea what to expect. This is terrifying on a really basic human level—like, survival level—and even if you’re feeling really excited and happy, these nerves will likely creep in. But if you make a plan for when you get there (there being the beginning of your aisle walk), you’ll tamp down that fear of the unknown. Maybe it’s as simple as making eye contact with your spouse-to-be and giving them a little wink, or focusing on looking straight ahead at your officiant, or having a secret signal with your MOH. It’s all about feeling like you have a little more control over this very foreign experience, which is exactly what you need to soothe your worries!

Start strong.

You might be so nervous on the morning of your wedding that you have no appetite. You might be so nervous that you start drinking during hair and makeup and forget to stop. You might be so nervous that you take a random anti-anxiety pill your bridesmaid offers you. Please do not do these things! They may seem like a way to dull any anxiety that may creep up on you as you’re about to walk the aisle, but they’ll actually just make things worse. Being drunk, taking any medications you’re not prescribed, and being starved and dehydrated are all just conditions that will worsen any pre-existing anxiety. Instead of medicating or depriving yourself, set yourself up for success but eating a healthy breakfast (and snacks throughout the day), limiting your drinking until the reception, and meditating during lulls in the action. You’ll be glad you did when you’re walking down the aisle feeling clarity and confidence.

Just breathe.

Probably the most fast-acting and effective way to calm your pre-aisle jitters is something you do constantly without even trying: breathing! When we’re really stressed, many of us tend to hold our breath and forget to exhale. It’s a primal response, so it’s not your fault, but it can seriously increase your stress levels. When it’s about time for you to take your big walk, before you even take a step, force yourself to take three to five deep inhales and exhales. You can even close your eyes while you do it. Visualize yourself bringing all of that calming energy into your chest and throughout your body, then exhaling out all your worries. You’ll immediately feel better and readier than ever. If you don’t, take one or two more breaths. The wedding can (and will) wait.

How to walk down the aisle

One of the most memorable moments of any wedding day is when the bride walks down the aisle. It’s the first time guests—and usually even the soon-to-be spouse—will see the wedding dress, and it marks the start of the marriage journey. Traditionally, fathers walks daughters down the aisle. Once the pair reach the altar, she’s then presented to her partner to be wed.

Meet the Expert

Susan Waggoner is a wedding historian and author.

As you consider integrating the father-bride walk down the aisle into your wedding, questions will likely arise: Do I have to select my father to walk me down the aisle? Can I have both parents? What about a friend or a parent figure? Today, brides are observing this tradition in new and modernized ways, which we'll go into a bit later.

Until then, read on to learn more about this storied tradition. We talk to wedding historian Susan Waggoner and get answers to every walk-down-the-aisle question you can think of.

The History and Meaning of the Walk Down the Aisle

While today the wedding tradition of walking down the aisle with your dad can be a super-special moment, “this custom stems from the days of arranged marriages when a father’s looming presence was a good way to prevent the groom from backing out,” explains wedding historian Susan Waggoner. And why exactly might he back out? Well, in Waggoner’s words, a bride was a “financial liability” who was essentially transferred from the household of her father to that of the groom and, sometimes, that led to hesitation that got the best of grooms at the last minute.

Today, the act of the father walking their daughter down the aisle is seen as a way to show support for this next chapter in life. It's looked at as less of a "giving away" and more of a "letting go."

Walk Down the Aisle FAQs

What if my father is no longer in my life?

Then you can select someone else who you’re close to. This could be a mother, another family member, or just someone who’s been important to you.

Should I stand on the left side or the right side?

In a Christian or non-denominational wedding, the bride typically stands on the left side while in a Jewish wedding the bride typically stands on the right. You can choose depending on your religious affiliation or your personal preference.

What do I do when I get to the end of the aisle?

The father usually passes the bride off to the groom and both join together at the altar.

Does he have to "give me away"?

Of course not. If the history behind the tradition turns you off, you can have the officiant skip the part when he asks the question "who gives this woman to be married to this man" and, instead, have the groom simply thank your father when he reaches the altar.

Can I choose an untraditional song to walk down the aisle to?

Absolutely. The go-to song is typically the “here comes the bride” one, or “Canon D” by Johann Pachelbel, but there are plenty of modern tracks to choose from.

Tradition Alternatives

While it's perfectly normal to choose to go the traditional route, there are plenty of other options if you'd like to switch things up. Some women are uncomfortable with the symbolism behind their dad walking them down the aisle, so they seek alternative ways to honor their relationships with their parents. In the Jewish tradition, both the bride and groom are accompanied down the aisle by both parents, a custom that many couples have adopted in the spirit of equality.

Other people in this situation have selected meaningful people in their lives to walk with them, like stepparents, college advisers, or even their ring bearers or children. Some have carried memorabilia that reminds them of their late parents. Some walk hand-in-hand with their partner down the aisle while others choose to walk solo. Some have dealt with this discomfort by eliminating the aisle altogether. This is a good option for folks with tense family situations or LGBTQ couples who feel put off by the heteronormativity of the processional.

So, this long walk down the aisle isn’t just another wedding tradition to be accepted or cast aside; it actually carries a lot of weight for the individuals involved. How someone chooses to approach it can symbolize her core values at that moment: independence, support, identity, equality—deeply personal feelings that are tied to this life change. If you are ever asked to accompany someone down the aisle, you should feel deeply honored and privileged to play that part.

Are you having your grandparents walk down the aisle? If so, how?

16 Comments

How to walk down the aisle

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I love when grandparents walk down the aisle. I’ve usually seen the groom walk his grandmothers down the aisle and someone from the bride’s side walk the bride’s grandparents. I think it would be sweet, however, if the groom walked them all down the aisle.

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How to walk down the aisle

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But what about my grandpas? lol are they already sitting? or do they walk behind the groom and his grandma?! I don’t know what I am doing. lol I have been to 7 weddings this year alone. why haven’t I paid attention? lol

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How to walk down the aisle

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We are. I have one living granddad but he won’t be attending. My grandma and step grandma will be escorted by the two tallest groomsmen. FH’s grandma will be escorted by FH’s dad, as FH is escorting his mom. My mom & stepmom are each being escorted by their sons (my brothers).

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How to walk down the aisle

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I don’t think we’re doing this. I have four living grandparents who will be attending, and he has two. It would turn into a grandparent parade. However, I think I will still get corsages for the grandmothers. I think he is going to walk his mom down though, and one of my brothers will walk mine.

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How to walk down the aisle

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Yes! Our grandfathers have all passed. DH walked each grandmother down the aisle after our guests were seated. I love looking at the photos from that, since I of course wasn’t able to watch that.

The grandmas walking down even made it into our highlight video, and I love that!

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DH’s grandfather (our only living grandparent)processed down the aisle – he went first, before the parents. He was escorted by his wife.

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How to walk down the aisle

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Only one of DH’s grandmothers is alive, one of the groomsmen escorted her down the aisle. DH had 4 groomsmen and each escorted someone. I had DH’s stepmother go first followed by DH’s grandmother, then MIL then my mom (as both mothers are divorced and FIL walked down the aisle with DH) followed by DH (with his best man and FIL as FIL officiated).

In your case, you could either have someone escort grandmother with grandfather right behind or you could just have the grandparents process together. As someone who lost her last grandparent at 14, I love seeing the bride and groom’s grandparents (I always find it sweet and think how lucky the bride/groom are to still have grandparents in their life!)

Flower girls and ring bearers are undoubtedly the most adorable members of your wedding party. But encouraging a little one to walk down the aisle without tears or tantrums may seem impossible. Consider the processional from the kids' point of view: They're asked to walk down a pathway wearing formal (read: uncomfortable) clothing, while tossing flower petals or holding a pillow, in front of dozens of people staring and snapping photos. Can you blame them for feeling a little bit of stage fright? Luckily, there are some simple ways to help your young attendants feel great on the big day. Here, two experts share six foolproof tips for getting your flower girl and ring bearer down the aisle.

Have toddlers walk with a parent.

Most flower girls and ring bearers fall between the ages of three and eight, and for good reason: Younger kids typically don't understand the processional, and they're more likely to act out. If you're recruiting a toddler as an attendant, consider having one or both of their parents walk with them down the aisle, since young children are more comfortable with trusted adults. "I say having a parent walk down with them is a lot better than a child refusing and not walking down the aisle at all," says Tara Angelopoulos of Dream Makers Event Planning. Similarly, if your ring bearer and flower girl know each other, allowing them to walk together may ward off nerves or tantrums.

Talk up their role.

If the child is older than four, try emphasizing the importance of their role in the wedding. According to Kelly Dellinger, owner and principal planner of Kelly Dellinger Events, knowing just how special this job is will encourage them to do a great job. "Kids love knowing they play a big role in such an important event. The more you can do to get them to look forward to walking down the aisle, the more likely they'll enjoy it and really get into it." You can also speak with the child's parents before the wedding, and have them hype up the child's "special job" in the days leading up to the ceremony.

Offer up a treat.

Our experts agree that children of all ages can't refuse a bribe. If you're working with younger kids, enlist a parent or member of the bridal party to hold a treat at the front of the aisle. In theory, the child will be distracted by the goodies during the processional, and they'll focus all energy on reaching the item. Alternatively, if you're working with older kids, a parent can promise to give them a coveted toy after the wedding, as long as the child behaves during the processional.

Practice, practice, practice.

Prior to the ceremony, have your flower girls and ring bearers practice their entrance several times, and to do this as close to the actual processional time as possible, Angelopoulos recommends. If you rely on solely on the ceremony rehearsal, the child may not remember the directions properly, since they aren't fresh in their minds. Plus, the vibe at the actual ceremony will be completely different than at the rehearsal. According to Dellinger, "Know that you're not necessarily guaranteed the same star performance that may come the day before. A child may be struck by social anxiety once the entire church fills up with strangers."

Keep kids busy.

Let's face it: Most little kids are bored out of their minds during a wedding, and that includes in the moments leading up to the ceremony. "Diversions, like an iPad to play on, can help with boredom before the ceremony," says Dellinger. She also recommends having snacks on hand to prevent hunger-induced tantrums. Stick with foods that are easy to transport and won't cause a mess, like string cheese, fruit, crackers, and puffs.

Schedule down time.

Thanks to the unfamiliarity and fast pace of weddings, little kids may burn out quickly. Be sure to give them some downtime throughout the day. Dellinger says this is especially important if you plan to have littles ones around for any pre-ceremony photos. "The shorter the time required for taking pictures beforehand, the better your chances are for a compliant ring bearer or flower girl," she says.

Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.

Mark Edward Atkinson/Getty Images

If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), being the center of attention during your wedding ceremony may be difficult. In particular, walking down the aisle with all eyes upon you is sure to trigger symptoms of anxiety—even those who naturally enjoy the spotlight are likely to feel a little nervous on the big day.

However, with a little advance planning and careful anxiety management, you should be able to enjoy this aspect of the ceremony instead of just surviving it.

Tips such as those below are best used to complement traditional therapy for social anxiety such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication.  

Practice Self-Care

It's generally important to take care of yourself, but even more so when you have a wedding approaching. Be sure to pay attention to yourself in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding.

Get regular exercise. In the weeks leading up to your wedding, it can be difficult to fit in exercise. It is important, however, to stick to a regular exercise schedule to keep stress and anxiety at a minimum.   If at all possible, make sure to fit a session in the day before your wedding.

Get a good night's rest. Plan for a restful sleep the night before your wedding. Make sure to unwind before bed with a bath, an herbal tea, or a good book.

Don’t forget to eat. With all the rushing around on the day of your wedding, it can be easy to skip meals. However, it is important to eat healthy foods containing proteins and complex carbohydrates and to drink water. Avoid anything with sugar or caffeine—these are likely to make anxiety worse.  

Have a Tailored Wedding

If walking down the aisle is causing you significant anxiety, you may wish to consider making accommodations to soothe your nerves.

Make it small. If a large audience is what bothers you most, choose to have a small wedding. You could even have a ceremony with just the two of you. Remember, it's not the size of the wedding that matters, it is the meaning of the occasion.

Change tradition. Guess what? It is not written in stone anywhere that you have to walk down the aisle at a wedding. While this may be expected in traditional ceremonies, if you and your family are flexible, you can arrange any sort of order of events that pleases you.

Plan Ahead

Starting early with your arrangements will prevent anxiety related to feeling rushed.

Make the most of practice ceremonies. The purpose of the wedding rehearsal is to ensure that everything runs smoothly during the actual ceremony. Use this time to your advantage to become comfortable with the venue and gain confidence.

Use Coping Strategies

Breathe. In the time leading up to the start of the ceremony, take the time to practice deep breathing. Breathing in this manner encourages relaxation and reduces anxiety.  

Practice mindfulness meditation.   Develop a meditation practice that will carry you through the ceremony. Learn how to be aware of your thoughts and feelings without letting them take over.

Practice visualization. Imagine yourself confidently walking down the aisle. Do this enough times, and your body will remember what your brain has envisioned. It works for athletes and can work for you too.  

Focus Outward

While many people focus on the bride at a wedding, it is also a time for everyone to socialize and chat. Encourage feelings of community rather than "showmanship" with the following tips.

Focus on your partner. As you walk down the aisle, focus your gaze on your partner instead of the guests. If your partner is aware of your anxiety, arrange a signal beforehand that can be done to relax you, such as a wink or gesture.

Use eye contact. Instead of avoiding the eyes of others, show others that you appreciate their presence through kind attention. You don’t have to say anything; smile and your eyes will convey the message.

Move beyond yourself. Above all else, realize that your friends and family are there to celebrate with you, not judge you. If despite all your best efforts, anxiety overcomes you at the last minute, go easy on yourself. Chances are that your symptoms are not as noticeable as you think.