The processional is the part of the ceremony when all members of the bridal party walk down the aisle to the altar where the bride and groom are married by the officiant. When including both a maid and matron of honor in your ceremony, there are a few etiquette items to consider. The processional responsibilities of the maid and matron of honor are almost identical and when including both, they can work together to complete the expected obligations.
After the mothers of the bride and groom are seated and the officiant, groomsmen and groom walk down the aisle to take their positions, the bride's attendants begin their trip down the center path toward the altar. The bridesmaids begin their walk first, either one at a time or in pairs but the maid and matron of honor walk alone. If including both in your ceremony, the matron of honor walks the aisle first followed by the maid of honor, who stands closest to the bride during the ceremony. The flower girl and ring bearer follow the maid of honor before the bride makes her appearance.
Prior to the processional, the maid and matron of honor straighten and fluff the bride's veil and train. Each check her hair for falling pins and her teeth for stray lipstick. The maid of honor signs the marriage certificate as the witness and both the maid and matron of honor assist the bridesmaids in the timing for walking down the aisle to ensure even spacing between them in the absence of a wedding coordinator.
Commonly, the maid and matron of honor carry a floral bouquet, floral stem or floral pomander, which should be carried at waist level, keeping the elbows in toward the body. While walking very slowly down the aisle, the maid and matron of honor can adapt their steps to the beat of the processional music or count by 1,000s (1-1,000, 2-1,000, 3-1,000) to avoid getting too close to the last bridesmaid. When approaching the altar, the maid and matron of honor take their place directly to the left of the altar with the remaining bridesmaids, but closest to the bride.
Before the Ceremony
Just before the ceremony begins, the maid of honor is asked to hold the bride's bouquet and the groom's wedding ring. When including both a maid and matron of honor, only the maid of honor, who stands closest to the bride during her nuptials, is obligated to perform these tasks. Oftentimes, the maid of honor holds a tissue, or two, for the bride in case she needs it.
After the Ceremony
When the ceremony is complete and the bride and groom are announced as husband and wife, the maid and matron of honor are responsible for arranging the bridal veil and the bride's train in preparation for the recessional. She hands the bouquet back to the bride to begin her walk back up the aisle as a married woman. During the ceremony photography, the maid and matron of honor adjust the bride's hair, veil and train to assist the photographer and organizes the bridesmaids and flower girl for photographs.
Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images