Processional tips via The Classic Harpist

Harpist seen through strings -
Devon Haupt of The Classic Harpist performs at the Jacksonville Bridal Expo earlier this year. She and her husband will be moving to Jacksonville soon.

Jacksonville (Illinois) native Devon (Carpenter) Haupt and her husband, Jeff, will be moving back to town from Chicago soon. They are both harpists, and travel all over the country performing at weddings and special events. They will soon be able to easily offer music at weddings in Springfield and all over Central Illinois, as well as the Chicago area and beyond.

They recently included tips for processionals on their e-mail newsletter (sign up at their web page The Classic Harpist).

It made us think of some of our own suggestions:

  • Slow – sometimes with all the attention your bridesmaids will speed down the aisle. Just remind them to slow down and enjoy the moment.
  • Stairs – with heels, always something to watch for. If the ceremony site has stairs be sure the groomsmen know to lend an arm. If the bridesmaids are meeting their groomsman on top, put the ushers to work to lend a hand as the ladies ascend.
  • Coordinator – it helps to have a traffic cop to tell people when it is their time to go. It’s nice to have some assurance it’s the right time to go.
  • Flowers – keep the bouquet down and don’t try to hide behind the flowers.
Ring bearer has enough of heat and pressure -
Children can be unpredictable - Logan had enough of the heat and his tux just as it was his time to go down the aisle. The groom had to retrieve his pillow (with the real rings). Photo by Tiffany.

Here’s tips from The Classic Harpist (with your musician in mind):

  1. Have a rehearsal.  This gives your bridal party a chance to know where to stand, when to move, and it also allows them to find the venue prior to your wedding day!
  2. Start your rehearsal with everyone in place at the front.  From there, it is easier to walk out in order, and keep everyone in place to practice the processional.
  3. If your wedding is outdoors, be sure the aisle is free of anything that could be a tripping hazard.  If the ground is muddy, consider moving inside ~ high heels sink!  You might also want to avoid using an aisle runner.  They can mask holes and dips in the ground, and are difficult to walk on if the ground is uneven.
  4. If you do not have a coordinator (either provided by the church/venue or hired on your own), designate someone to get the bridal party lined up and sent down the aisle.  This person should also cue your musicians when everyone is ready, so that the music you selected can be played at the right time.
  5. Place your musicians somewhere they can see the processional (the front & back of the aisle) when the bridal party is in place.  If I can’t see what is happening, I can’t make the music fit perfectly!
  6. Remind your bridal party to smile!
  7. Have a designated time when each member of the bridal party starts their walk down the aisle (when the person in front of them gets to the third row, etc.).
  8. The bride does not follow tip #7.  The musicians will be watching for the last member of the wedding party to get into place, and then will change the processional music for the bride.  Listen for this change before you enter.  Your musicians have a good view of the ceremony, and will know when everyone is lined up and ready for your entrance.  Wait for it!
  9. Kids are unpredictable.  If you are having young children in your wedding party, be prepared to be upstaged!  This can be a good thing (super cute) or a bad thing (temper tantrum).  If the kids are overwhelmed by the attention, they may not walk down the aisle the way they practiced the day before.  Have a parent close by to help them along or take them out of the processional if they just aren’t able to do it.
  10. Breathe – and walk slowly!  This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.  Take your time as you walk down the aisle, and make eye contact with your groom.  The parents should stand to signal to the guests when they should rise for the bride’s entrance.
Bride & groom after ceremony -
Coming back down the aisle at the wedding of Allison (Sorrill) & Eric Neumann Sunday 24 May 2009 in Jacksonville. Photo by Tiffany.

Posted by Steve. Warmowski Photography, husband-wife team of photojournalists available to tell the story of your wedding day.

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