By Maria Immaculate Owechi
A wedding ceremony procession is an order in which the groom, his bride, their wedding party and some close family members enter the religious venue.
Traditionally, the officiant, groomsmen and groom enter first and wait at the front. Then, the bridesmaids followed by the maid of honor will enter. The flower girls are up next and finally, the bride walks in with her parent(s). But does it have to be that way? Of course not! Just because something is most times done as a tradition doesn’t mean you have to strictly follow it. Couples who choose to be creative and shake things up a bit will give their wedding a sense of uniqueness.
William Katumba, an event manager with Ka2mba Deco Kingdom says the couple should first ensure that the officiant of the ceremony is okay with spicing up things at the procession because there are some churches that prefer to strictly stick to the traditional way of doing things.
While keeping that in mind, for those who are looking for creative ways to walk down the aisle, here are some unique ideas that you can incorporate,
Beautify the aisle
The first thing is to ensure your walkway is well decorated so that it provides the perfect backdrop for you and your wedding party.
Apart from the usual placement of a red carpet adorned with flower vases, Katumba recommends couples to consider adding a bit of glitz and glamour to the décor.
He suggests wiring lights or placing candle lamps along the red carpet which can only be switched on when the entourage is marching.
“The decorator can also put a smoky effect as the entourage is walking down the aisle to make the whole atmosphere look heavenly,” the event manager suggests.
Announce your entrance with a bang
The entrance of the wedding party is usually announced with a song but wouldn’t you like it to be dramatised a bit?
Katumba suggests the option of playing instruments like trumpets, drums, guitars or saxophones to alert everyone when the bride is set to walk the pathway.
He shares about a wedding where the couple hired Isaiah Katumwa, a Jazz musician to play some of their favourite love songs which made the ceremony beautiful.
Let the groom have his own moment
In many ceremonies, the groom and his groomsmen usually enter quietly without being accorded the same attention as the bride. Since he is also equally part of the wedding, why not consider making him have a special entrance.
George Mukiibi, a worship leader at Watoto Church says as the best man to a friend one day, they surprised everyone with their special entrance.
“With all lights on us, the groom matched in holding a microphone as he sang to one of his favourite praise songs while I and the groomsmen played the role of his back up singers,” he reveals. “It made the congregation lively and they even joined in singing the song.”
March to an untraditional song
Consider selecting a special song to walk down the aisle to in place of the traditional hymns.
Christine Nankya Ochen, an events manager with Elegant Events says at a wedding she attended, each partner selected a love song to be sung by a band as they matched to the altar.
Mukiibi also reveals that his friend surprised his bride by singing a love song as she was being walked to the altar.
“The bride cried tears of joy all the way to the altar,” he says.
Dance all the way
Instead of the usual walking down the aisle, Nankya says she has witnessed some jubilant brides who dance all their way to the altar, “My cousin danced and her husband to the altar for their 25th wedding anniversary. The congregation became lively and everyone was brimming with excitement even during the exchanging of the vows,’’ she shares.
Walk with your mother
It is common for a father to escort his daughter to the aisle. Mothers rarely to do this. If you want your parents to do this together, or for some reason prefer that your mother walks you down the aisle, there shouldn’t be an issue with this.
Nankya agrees and shares that during her wedding ceremony in 2016, she only walked down the aisle with her mother.
“This decision did not make some of my relatives happy because they wanted me to at least have an uncle beside me,” she reveals.
Usually, a bride is escorted by her parents as the groom keeps waiting at the altar. Katumba reveals that now there is a new trend where the bride walks half the way with her parents and then, the groom comes to the middle to take over and then, they can walk together towards the altar.
This trend was seen during the recent British wedding where Meghan Markle who Prince Harry met her in the middle where they continued the journey together.
Walk-in in a group
There are groups of grooms or brides who are not excited about the whole idea. For some, it is because they are not used to being a focus of attention, among other reasons.
The solution to this is to try including more people like grandparents, good friends or siblings besides your parents to escort you down the aisle.
In January this year, I attended an aunt’s church wedding that had other people walk behind her besides the parents. These were grandparents, some siblings and relatives who walked excitedly making ululations.
She said this helped in cutting down the nervousness of having everybody’s eyes glued on her.
These are our creative ideas for walking down the aisle but you have the power to use your imagination to come up with something unique to your personality and taste.