An Elegant Presentation

   Here’s a simple suggestion if your ceremony includes the bride being escorted down the aisle by someone other than her fiancé.  (Though this can work for same gender couples as well, I’ll speak as if the two people being married are opposite genders here for the sake of clarity.  Also I will describe this as if the ceremony is taking place in a chapel, in order to make the process easier to visualize.)

    Tip: The bride’s arm should go under the arm of her escort.  Rather than being steered by having her elbow held, she is guided.  Rather than leading the escort by having him hold her arm, she is led.  

    Imagine it this way: the escort points his or her left elbow out toward the bride, and she slips her hand and arm under the elbow to rest her hand on the forearm of her escort.

    As they make their entrance down the aisle, the bride walks on the left of her escort until they are even with the front row of seats, and the pair stops there facing the officiant. The groom and his party stand behind and to the right of the officiant (from the bride’s point of view), having already made their entrance with the officiant at the beginning of the processional. The bridesmaids, maid of honor and flower girl stand together behind and to the left of the officiant. All of the wedding party faces the arriving bride at this time.

    When the time comes in the ceremony for the bride to leave her escort and join the groom, the escort may give the bride a kiss.The escort then extends his right hand to shake the groom’s right hand, with the bride's right arm still resting under his left arm and on top of that forearm.

     After the handshake, the escort will lift the bride’s right hand from his arm, using his right hand, and will place her right hand in the right hand of the groom, who extends his hand to receive it.

    As the groom takes her right hand in his, he turns toward her to walk together back up to the platform. He lifts his left elbow and pulls her right hand under it with his right, placing it on his left forearm.

    Meanwhile, her escort takes his place in the front row with the bride’s family. The bride and groom walk forward to stand in the center of their wedding attendants at the front of the sanctuary.  When they are in place, they turn toward one another and slightly toward the guests (or, if the wedding party will not be facing the guests as in Tip # 1, toward the front of the sanctuary).  All the rest of their attendants on both sides join them in facing the same direction they are facing. If this entails turning slightly, then all parties turn toward the center.