Pomp & Ceremony

What makes Dianna’s wedding different to Jane’s? It’s the planning of every step and the caring out of those steps. If Dianna simply arrived at the church in a carriage, walked down the isle, said “I do” to Charles and they walked back to the carriage, got in and drove away to the reception… there would be no glory in the ceremony.

But each step is announced and the guests are made to look. Now Dianna is arriving..Fanfare and trumpets. She is getting out of the carriage…everyone to attention. Although you can not go to the expense of Dianna’s wedding you can still have the pomp and ceremony.


At my friends Flav’s wedding recently this was brought home to me. The wedding was on a farm. The wedding ceremony and reception taking place in the main house which was beautifully decorated. Flav was dressing with her female friends, bridesmaid and photographers in the cottage a few meters away.

The cottage was close enough to the house to be able to walk it in 2 minutes so not much attention was paid to how Flav would get from the cottage to the house. However the shrewd mother had thought about it. The car was brought to the cottage backdoor where ribbons where fastened. Flav got in the car, bridesmaid and all and drove the 10 meters to the main house with hooter blaring and applause.


Remember that to have ceremony you need to have a group witness it. At my wedding I had a small church with a fairly narrow isle. My brother is in a wheelchair and the isle could not accommodate him and me (the bride). As I was determined that my brother would be giving me away I adapted the Anglican service to suit. Before meeting my husband I had been a biker.

The bikers would escort me to the church with as much noise as possible. At the gate they would leave me and join the other guests. My brother would then come down the pathway to the gate and escort me to the church door.

The guests all standing in a horseshoe around us the minister pronounced the “who gives this bride to be wed” with my brother answering. Then the guests filed into the church and lit candles singing the first hymn whilst my fiancé and I walked down the isle to be wed.

Without the guests being outside this would all have been meaningless and misunderstood.


In order to really have a good pomp and ceremony wedding you do need to have the lead players and ushers well rehearsed. If you cant have a rehearsal at the church with everybody in attendance then do a mock service at home over a braai or script it and email to each player with their section highlighted.

Like every good play or event you do need to have an event manager who will keep you on track and remind those who have forgotten their part as what to do. The wedding co-ordinator will be well rehearsed in your event and how you want to play it.

They will also have the need knowledge to handle seating, procession and words.


The procession for both the church and the reception are important and offers honour to the entourage. A typical procession is

Seating of the Parents

The processional music begins with the seating of the honoured guests according to:

o          Seating of the Groom's grandparents

o          Seating of the Bride's grandparents

o          Seating of the Groom's parents

o          Seating of the Bride's mother


Bridal Processional Begins

· At the church the Minister and Groom enter usually from stage right. If the Groomsmen are not escorting the Bridesmaids down the aisle to the altar, they also enter.

·Bridesmaids enter, usually down the centre aisle, one at a time. If the Groomsmen are escorting the Bridesmaids, they enter together.

· Maid or Matron of Honour enters. If she is being escorted by the Best Man, they enter together.

· Flower Girl and Ring Bearer enter.


Wedding March Begins

The Bride and her escort enter. Typically the Bride's mother will stand as a signal for all of the guests to stand. Sometimes the Minister will announce, "All rise for the Bride."


During the wedding service the party at center stage whilst the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer are seated with their parents or other relative.


At the end of the service how the couple leave the church is just as important as how they entered. The Recessional march or hymn is played and the wedding party exits in the following order:

· Bride and Groom

· Maid or Matron of Honour and Best Man

· Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

· Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

· The Ushers return for the honoured guests who are escorted out in reverse order of their entrance.

· Ushers may then dismiss the remaining guests, either all at once, or one row at a time


As not all weddings have a large wedding party one needs to adapt the service to the circumstance.


At the reception there can be a procession to the bridal table. The procession would consist of the parties at the main table. Once all the guests are seated and the extended family and special friends have taken their seats an entrance is made. The entrance can be in the form of the master of ceremonies announcing the entrance or a march being played. The flowergirl and ring bearer normally sit with their parents who are seated at guest tables.


The wedding party then enter in the following order Bridesmaid and Bestmen followed by the Parents. The party fill the table from both sides. Once everyone is seated the master of ceremonies announces “Please stand to receive Mr and Mrs …” the bride and groom then enter and take their places. When the bride and groom are seated all may take their seats again.


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