12 Nontraditional Ways to Walk Down the Aisle
From wedding aisle decor to songs to walk down the aisle to, there are many ways to personalize a wedding ceremony. Another way to make the ceremony your own: Opting for nontraditional ways to walk down the aisle. The "traditional" way of having the bride escorted by her father to the altar may resonate for some couples. However, couples with different family dynamics or those who want to plan an inclusive LGBTQIA+ wedding may consider ditching the traditional wedding processional order for fun ways to walk down the aisle.
"One of my favorite things about wedding traditions is watching couples reinvent them to reflect their personal priorities and needs," says Sara Bauleke, wedding planner at Bella Notte. "The processional down the aisle provides so many opportunities for couples to do this." Read on for 10 nontraditional ways to walk down the aisle during your wedding ceremony.
1. Walk Yourself Down The Aisle
There's something simple and beautiful about not having anyone accompany you as you make your way to the altar and opting to walk yourself down the aisle instead. Walking solo is a lovely symbol of your independence and not needing to be "given away".
2. Have Your Mom Walk You Down The Aisle
Traditionally, it's the father who walks their daughter down the aisle, but having a mother walking her daughter down the aisle is a beautiful way to honor her. The same goes for a groom who wants to pay homage to his mother by walking with her down the aisle.
3. Walk With Both Parents
For some people, choosing just one parent to include in the ceremony may be difficult. The good news? You don't have to choose. Having both parents walk you down the aisle allows you to honor them both during the ceremony. It's traditional for both parents to walk their child down the aisle at Jewish weddings, but anyone can adopt this processional idea.
4. Walk With a Stepparent
If you have step parents you're close with, you may want to include them in the processional. We've seen brides and grooms walk down the aisle with a parent and a stepparent on each arm, or walk halfway down the aisle with a parent and then the rest of the way with a parent, or vice versa.
5. Walk In With Your Soon-To-Be Spouse
One of Bauleke's favorite nontraditional ways to walk down the aisle is when the couple walks in together. "You've been living your lives together and made the decision to enter into marriage together. Why wouldn't you walk down the aisle together?," she says. As for the specifics, as with most things, it's entirely up to you. Bauleke notes that often, each partner enters the ceremony separately, meeting in the center to begin the walk together.
6. Walk With Your Grandparents
Remember that anyone who holds a special place in your heart can walk you down the aisle, including your grandparents. "It takes a village to raise children, and if your grandparents played an extensive role in your childhood, consider giving them the honor of walking you down the aisle," says Kimberly Sisti, a wedding planner and owner of SISTI & CO. "This is a great option for those who don't have a mother and/or father in the picture, either due to divorce, death or other extenuating circumstances."
7. Walk With A Close Friend
Sometimes your friends are your family, so why not include them in your wedding ceremony? "If you want to honor a close friend who has been with you every step of the way on your journey, consider giving them the spotlight as a show of your love and appreciation," Sisti says.
8. Walk With Your Kids
Blending families at weddings and making everyone feel included can be a tricky thing to do. Here's what Sisti suggests: "If both or one of the partners has children, consider having the partner with the children walk down the aisle with them to their soon-to-be-married partner," she says. "This is a beautiful and memorable occasion that highlights the blending of either two families or one family with the new spouse. This is sure to get the tears flowing."
9. Walk With a Pet
If your furry friend is your best friend, your pet may be the perfect escort to walk with you down the aisle. Obviously, you'll want to make sure your venue allows animals and that your pet has the temperament for their moment in the spotlight.
10. Have Two People Walk You
Another fun way to walk down the aisle is to have two different people walk you. For instance, Bauleke says some people will have one person escort them halfway down the aisle and then meet the second person there to escort them the rest of the way to the altar. This allows each person to have their moment while including them both in the ceremony.
11. Both Partners Are Escorted
Traditionally, only one partner gets escorted down the aisle (usually the bride) while the other waits for them at the altar. But again, there are no rules when it comes to wedding ceremonies. So a nontraditional way to walk down the aisle that Bauleke suggests is that both partners individually have their moment of walking down the aisle with one or two escorts. "I love seeing each person escorted by important people in their life, be it, family or friends," she says.
12. Skip The Walk Completely
And lastly, rather than opting for alternatives to walking down the aisle, some couples skip the tradition. "Another popular entrance we've seen in recent years is foregoing a walk down the aisle altogether, with the couple mingling with guests prior to the ceremony and then simply stepping into place in front of the officiant," Bauleke, who has over 15 years of experience in the wedding industry, says. "This is a great option for people who find being the center of attention overwhelming."
Ultimately, Bauleke says the most important thing is that you walk down the aisle, if you choose to, in a way that feels good and comfortable. So whether that's walking yourself down the aisle, having someone special escort you, or skipping the entrance altogether, don't be afraid to tweak tradition.