How to Figure Out the Order of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen at the Wedding Ceremony

It's best to nail down this detail BEFORE you head down the aisle

Updated 07/18/17

Photo by Nicole Leever Photography

We gave you a basic breakdown of the processional order; now, we tackle the lineup of your bridesmaids and groomsmen at the altar. Whether you’ve got just a few close friends standing with you or over a dozen people on each side, getting them down the aisle—and arranging them once they get to the end!—is an important part of ceremony planning that is often left to the last minute. If your wedding is fast approaching and you still don’t know who will stand where, don’t worry! Our experts are here to help you get it all sorted out.

When you’re deciding how you’ll send your bridesmaids and groomsmen down the aisle, there are a few different options to choose from, with some more PC than others. Take a look at these options, then decide which one fits you best.

By Height

This is the easiest option, as it avoids any and all hurt feelings. Line up your bridesmaids and groomsmen by height, with the shortest closest to the altar and the tallest the farthest away. The exceptions are your maid of honor and best man, who should stand directly next to each of you, no matter how tall they are. As a bonus, this lineup is the most aesthetically pleasing, so if you’re worried about how it will look in photos, this one is for you!

By How Close You Are

Tread lightly with this one. Of course you’ll start with your maid of honor, followed by your sister or sister-in-law, and then from there it varies. You may have your best friend, followed by your cousin and then another close friend, or you may swap the order around. Just be careful, as the person standing on the end may feel slighted.

By How Long You’ve Known One Another

Based on pure facts (since the date you met can’t be negotiated), this is another option that will prevent feelings from getting hurt. Figure out how long you’ve known each ‘maid or groomsman, then line them up from the longest to shortest friendship, with the newest friends on the outer edge of the arrangement.

By Age

Again, this could either be really diplomatic or a little touchy. In this instance, you’d put the oldest bridesmaid or groomsman closest to you, with the youngest on the outer edge.

On Either Side

Do you have an uneven wedding party or a huge crowd? To make things a little more visually interesting (or to hide the fact that you’ve got four bridesmaids and eight groomsmen), skip the “his side, her side” thing and instead have your wedding party blend together and gather around the altar, with bridesmaids and groomsmen on both sides. Want to make it even more fun? Instead of having them stand, surround the altar with lounge furniture and turn your ceremony into a high-fashion photo shoot.

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