It’s understandable to be nervous about walking down the aisle on your wedding day. No matter how much thought and work you put into the color palettes and flower arrangements, at that moment, all eyes are on you.
Although the following tips are meant to help you learn how to walk down the aisle properly during a traditional English white wedding, customs differ widely from one culture or religion to the next. These tips can help anyone preparing to take center stage stay calm and feel more comfortable throughout the ceremony.
The more bridesmaids and/or groomsmen you have in your wedding party, the more organized your wedding processional needs to be. If you each only have one or two people at your side, there is plenty of time for everyone to walk out individually. If you each have four or five people in your processional, pair them off to help move things along.
If you have a large wedding processional, consider sending the group out in two waves, one for each side of the aisle. They can walk in pairs if you need to save time. And don’t forget to plot out exactly where each person will stand. If need be, you can use place markers to make sure no one crowds the officiant during the wedding ceremony.
Once you’ve chosen the processional music, whether it’s the classic “Wedding March” or something special to you, give it a few trial runs to get the timing down. A wedding processional usually lasts around three to four minutes, and timing for groups or individuals will vary depending on the size of your wedding party.
It shouldn’t take you any more than 30 to 45 seconds to walk down the aisle. That will allow enough time for everyone to enjoy the moment and for the photographer to get a few good snaps. It may help to count in your head as you time your steps.
The more you practice, the easier it will be to get through any anxiety that may come up on your wedding day.
If your clothing is flowy or heavy, or you’re not used to walking in the shoes you chose, it may be hard to stand up straight. You may also be tempted to look down at your feet. Your photos will look much better if you can maintain your posture while you walk.
The best way to keep your head level is to lift your chin and try to keep your earlobes in line with your shoulders. If you spend a lot of time looking down on your computer or phone, your neck muscles may not be used to it, but practicing every day will help.
Stand straight and tall. Push your shoulders back and keep them down. This will help you avoid hunching, especially if you’re holding a bouquet. As you walk, keep your knees bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Tuck your tummy in to keep your core engaged and help you maintain.
Focusing on your posture is important, but you don’t want to go rigid.
You should let your body move as naturally as possible. Keep anything you may be carrying—like a bouquet—a few inches in front of your stomach, but allow your arms to move some when you walk. And resist stiffening your neck to keep a veil or floral crown in place. Instead, look from side to side as you walk down the aisle and try to make eye contact with your guests as you go. (If eye contact is too much for you at the moment, you can look at people’s heads or shoulders.)
Even if you feel a little nervous, you will look more natural this way, and it will make a big difference in the photos and videos.
Hopefully, this will be a no brainer. If you are swept away in the moment, you will likely be unable to keep yourself from smiling, But if your nerves are getting the better of you, close your eyes and take a breath when your entrance song begins. Take a second to clear your mind before you start your walk. Relax your face and jaw muscles, and let your tongue lay slack in your mouth. Lift your eyebrows slightly, and think happy or goofy thoughts, or even something embarrassing, and smile. Small is better than big if you’re nervous, but don’t hold back once you start to feel it for real.
If your mom or dad, or anyone else special to you will be walking you down the aisle, have them lock elbows with you. If two people are walking you down the aisle, have them lock arms on either side of you. That way, you will be sure to start on the same foot as each other for a smooth walk.
If you are holding a bouquet, locking arms with your escort can also remind you to keep your flowers low. Not only will it be more flattering, but it will also make sure the camera can see your outfit.
No one wants to trip in the middle of their ceremony. If you are mindful of how you step, you can reach the end of the aisle without incident. However, you also need to be aware of what you are wearing and how it may interfere with your stride.
If you are wearing a long, flowy wedding dress, you can avoid stepping on it without having to look down at all. Each time you put your foot forward, your dress will move against the back of your leg. Wait until the hem of your dress hits your ankle before you take your next step, and you won’t have to worry about stepping on your dress.
If you aren’t a pro at wearing heels and decide to sport them for your marriage ceremony, you can get some practice in at home by walking around on the balls of your feet. This will strengthen your legs and ankles so you can stay steady on your feet. You should also break your shoes in before the ceremony.
When the big day arrives, take the time to eat breakfast and stay hydrated. You are much more likely to be stressed, woozy, or light-headed if you haven’t taken care of yourself all day. But even more essential is scheduling some time right before your grand entrance.
While you’ll likely want to make some last-minute touch-ups to your hair or makeup before you go down the aisle, give yourself at least 15 additional minutes to use the restroom, have a glass of water, and take some time to collect yourself right before the ceremony begins. If you’re jumping from one thing to the next all day, you’re more likely to be flooded with stress the moment all eyes are on you.
As much as you practice at home, you still need to do a run-through at the venue. Put on your song, make sure you have the timing right, and put on your best posture and smile. This will let you know precisely how far the walk will be and whether or not there’s anything that might trip you up.
It will also help you be aware of any bright lights that might be shining in your eyes, so you can be prepared to avoid any squinting or grimacing. The fewer surprises there are on the big day, the better.
If reading anything on this list made you even more worried than you were before, you can scratch it. After all, it’s your wedding. If you are having fun, it will show, and you won’t have to sweat the small stuff. All the work you put into wedding planning is finally paying off, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by having a great time and celebrating your commitment to each other.