The Presentation of the Bride
The Wedding Procession of the bridesmaids is followed by the Maid of Honor, flower girl and ring bearer who make their way down the aisle to where the ceremony will take place. Perhaps Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel or Air on a G String by Johann Sabastian Bach will accompany the Bride on her memorable walk down the aisle. As the officiant, I announce to the guests, “Ladies and gentlemen please stand for the entrance of the Bride” or when more formal words seem appropriate, “Please be upstanding for the Bride.”
It’s quite dramatic when a door opens wide to give guests their first glimpse of the bride in her splendid white gown and delicate veil with her escort, her father or perhaps her mother or both, or maybe a person the bride has chosen to have the honor of presenting her for marriage.
It’s an emotional moment, often provoking anxiety, tears, ear-to-ear smiles and deep feelings of hope and love. The officiant has a perfect view of the bride as she and her escort walk down the aisle.
The music tappers down and with a reassuring smile I approach the bride and her father. I’ve already explained to him that I would be asking the question, “Who presents this lovely woman for marriage?” I also explained that after answering the question he will want to kiss his daughter.
This is a lovely, tender moment just before the wedding ceremony. It can be a confusing process. I ask the question, “Who presents this lovely woman for marriage?” The father says “I do” or says “Her mother and I do.” The father kisses the bride. If she has a veil covering her face, he lifts the veil to kiss her. If the bride want the veil to cover her face for the ceremony, he should return the veil to its original position otherwise it should be lifted completely. The maid of honor can help fix this later. In the meantime the groom, who has been watching nervously, approaches the bride’s father shakes his hand, and if the mother is an escort too, he kisses the bride’s mother. He does not kiss the bride.
Next, the Bride’s father places the bride’s right in the left hand of the groom which is often a bit confusing for the father. Right to left hand allows the groom to escort the bride to the place in the front officiant where the couple stand and face the officiant. The Maid of Honor is the attendant that fixes the bride’s veil and gown’s train. To be sure that the father does not step on the bridal gown or veil, he should remain in place until the bride has stepped forward with the groom clearing his way to his seat next to the bride’s mother.
The presentation of the Bride before all the gathered guests is one of the most tender and touching moments in a wedding ceremony and it’s for this reason that I have offered my experience. It should be a memorable, intimate ritual captured in photos that can be revisited when the Bride and Groom look through their keepsake album of precious wedding photos.
Ann V. Corbett, Wedding Officiant
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