Recently, at a wedding rehearsal, we were going over the procession in to the altar and the recession out.
It was decided which of the groomsmen were going to escort the moms to their seats. We paired up the groomsmen with the bridesmaids and proceeded in. Everything went well. We practiced leaving the altar, bride and groom first, then flower girls, then the bridal party. This group got it together very quickly.
After practicing it a second time, at the end, I asked if anyone had any questions.
“Why don’t we escort the moms out?”, asked one of the groomsmen. It was a great question!
We escort the mother of the bride and groom (as well as grandparents, at times) to their seats as a show of respect. They were the guiding light, raising their children from the time they were born to this moment in their lives. They’ve had a tremendous influence on their children growing into the adults who are here today. They have a special place in the congregation. This marriage ceremony is a bit of a graduation for them. This is the last time they get to see their children as single adults. They get to witness the transition from singlehood to matrimony. They will not have the same level of influence over their children as they did before.
By witnessing this ceremony, a shift begins. It’s written, “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Not only are they becoming husband and wife, they are leaving behind their families’ influences and beginning their own family.
So, at the end of the ceremony, we proceed out and leave the mothers behind. Yet, we don’t leave them behind; sometimes, I will escort them out. And as I do, I know I am not escorting them out, but escorting them into their next phase of growth: Grandparenthood!
As I asked if that made sense, all shook their heads to the affirmative. We ended the rehearsal with some final instructions and an agreement as to what time to be ready the next day. As we dispersed, both mothers came to me, thanking me for the explanation. They appreciated it and were very validated.
The ceremony went smoothly and the bridal party receded out with heads held high. It was a pleasure to escort the mothers out, one on each arm.