Guests arrive: gather in 'cocktail' area, bar is open. No appetizers yet. Sample of our cocktail area from another person's wedding:
And here it is with no setup...
Once all guests arrive, they're escorted down toceremony area where junior groomsmen and a second cousin hand out programs and little kleenex packs. (I got the idea for this little wonderful guest convenience from Bee over at her and Patrick's blog. While mine are not nearly as beautiful as hers (I didn't have the extra funds for more ribbon or perfect labels - nor the patience to cut and assemble), I love the simple idea behind the thought and threw these together in like 5 minutes. They incorporate our wedding colors and our graphic and I had extra sheets of labels laying around so I just had my sister design them real fast and then bought the travel kleenex packs and glassine envelopes for like $25 total...we made about 125 of them.)
To assist ushers (groomsmen) with seating guests, we'll have chair seating cards reserving front rows for specific family members. Something like these (but we will have them for our parents as well as have whole rows marked off for the 'Campbells,' 'Beevers,' etc.):
Courtesy of Serendipity Designs
After guests are seated, DJ plays music until processional begins. The last song before the processional will be "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. I love that song (even though it is on massive overkill) and think it's the perfect way to let guests know, the fun is about to begin!
Side note: If you have not seen this yet, seriously you need to watch this video of them performing this song on the Oprah show - AH-MAZING! There is also a higher quality version right below it if you prefer, but the first video shows the best view :)
So anyway, back to my plans...right after Black Eyed Peas song plays (and no, the video will not be shown), processional begins. DJ plays instrumental / orchestral version of Phil Collins' "Groovy Kind of Love" performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. (I have always loved this song but got the idea to use the instrumental version when Monica and Chandler had a violinst perform the song for the processional during their wedding on "Friends." :) You can hear a portion of it by clicking here.)
Officiant (our pastor) leads groom and groomsmen out to altar. (There is a special little room for the guys to change in just behind the altar and it also lends itself to a perfect entrance for the guys where they are out of sight and then suddenly appear.)
Moms are seated. Bridesmaids, ring bearers, flower girl and finally bride (ME) make our entrance from a patio outside of the bridal cottage / preparation area. We walk across this pretty bridge:
Something like this:
And then through the 'aisle' created by the chairs set up in the outdoor teatro area:
Once my 6 girls walk down the aisle, the four, yes *FOUR* ring bearers will make their way down the aisle. We are sending them down two by two. Now here is where things start to go the 'unexpected' way. What were we going to do with four ring bearers? I wanted to give each of them a task and since we aren't sending the 'real' rings down the aisle with them, I only wanted one of them holding a ring pillow. So I searched the net and found some great ideas.
The oldest of our four nephews (5 years old) will be paired up with his youngest cousin (22 months old). I will have him hold his hand so there is no problem getting the young one down the aisle. The older one will carry the ring pillow and then the younger one will be given a bell and will be the 'bell boy.' He'll ring the bell signaling the bride's entrance and the ceremony is about to begin. Our ring pillow is actually not a real pillow but rather a pillow that will be made out of kermit mums - a flower I love that we are incorporating throughout the bouquets and will use for the ring bearer's boutonnieres. It will be like this but with a ribbon in turquoise probably to match our colors.
The next two nephews (3 years old and 2 1/2 years old) will walk together carrying a small banner. This is a big surprise for Mr Fix It as he is not aware that I have planned this for the boys. The banner looks like this:
The little gray border you see inside the banner is not really on the real thing. This is the proof I received from VistaPrint. Seriously, this is a fun little thing you can do for super cheap! I got this banner for about $13 total including tax and S&H. They had a template in my colors which I was so excited about so I just picked their pre-designed template and added the words. I showed it to 2 of the ring bearer's dad, Mr Fix It's brother, and he totally laughed and said John will love it!
So the ring bearers make their way down, and then comes my cute little flower girl. I opted for her not tossing petals down the aisle since we are going to have the guests toss petals at us as we make our way back down together during the recessional. So instead, she'll carry a little FG wand, something like this:
Only hers will be a little more done up hopefully and more like a round ball of flowers at the top.
So that's the processional...sort of. Of course, the bride (me) is supposed to follow the FG down the aisle with her father. But I won't be making my entrance just yet. After the entire wedding party is at the altar, all except for me, I have one last 'unexpected' surprise for my guests! It is my favorite thing about the entire wedding. I am still trying to finalize this project and cannot wait to share it with all of you. So stay tuned, I am hoping to share the bride's walk down the aisle and my grand entrance soon...but this is a massive DIY project that is taking much more time than I expected.
So what about you, ladies. Have you given any thought to your processional or how your wedding party will make it's way down the aisle? Are you doing anything out of the ordinary, silly, fun or unexpected?