• Siân Julia Jackson

EPIC Entrances

Updated: Mar 8

8 memorable ways to make an entrance at your humanist wedding ceremony



Two cartoon cats dressed up in wedding clothes

Take any cheesy rom-com and the wedding scene will open with the bride having a bittersweet moment with her father (or another prominent, usually male, figure in her life) before they glide elegantly down the aisle together. The blushing bride has a serene smile on her face with the guests ooooing and aaaaing at her magnificence. ‘Here Comes the Bride’ or a soppy number is the soundtrack to her final steps as a single woman (or man of course).


Many prospective brides and grooms have aspired to recreating a similarly grand, demure entrance for their big day. It’s the epitome of a white wedding fantasy: the graceful walk, the big reveal, ethereal music, those precious moments had with loved ones that come before it. There are so many reasons why couples chose this time-honoured tradition to kick start their ceremony. It’s a ritual laced with sentiment and meaning and for many it’s the only way they envisage the commencement of their big day. I hadn’t even questioned this act until it was my turn…



Here's what I did


I was never the sort to dream of a big wedding or wanted to look like some fairy-tale princess (ironic then that one of my nieces calls me ‘Princess Siân’ on account of my appearance on my wedding day!) but as the date of my day drew closer, I began to consider all the ‘normal’ traditions and pondered their relevance to me, and my entrance was one.



An illustration of a father of the bride literally giving his daughter away to a groom

I love my dad dearly and I’m so very lucky that I still have him, and could share my special day with him, but my inner feminist couldn’t get my head around the idea of him ‘giving me away.’ Not that I believe for one second that most families take that act literally anymore. Lots of brides (and grooms) enjoy the tradition and see it as a way to honour their connection with their father/family before declaring a lifelong commitment to their partner. For them, it’s symbolic, tender and a mark of deep respect. I totally get that, but it didn’t feel quite right for me… for us, and I knew my dad would not take offence. He’s always been liberal and respected my decisions..


So, I didn’t want to saunter slowly down the aisle on my dad’s arm, with all eyes gawping at me, but how else was I going to arrive at our ceremony…? I’d only ever seen it done one way.


I pondered the decision and the more I thought about it, it seemed fitting for me and my finance (ych... I hate that word!) to enter together. I know it’s not how it’s usually done but why not?! After all our wedding was about the two of us, moreover, our marriage was about the two of us. From that day forwards we were pledging to take on everything together so why not take on our wedding day together? And with my man in agreeance (he’ll do anything for an easy life!) that was sorted.



Pharrell Williams looking like a vampire

Next… what on Earth were we going to walk in to? It had to be something fun, light and upbeat and after much deliberation we settled on Daft Punk and Pharrell’s ‘Get Lucky’. My husband loves Daft Punk, I have a soft spot for Pharrell (I was following him long before he became a household name and it’s true, he’s not aged in 20 years and I am in the camp that he is an immortal of some description), we both enjoy their collaborations and we both felt pretty lucky!


So, the day came and, after spending a fun-filled night with my husband beforehand and breakfasting together, I banished him from the room so my sister could help turn this ugly duckling into a splendid swan. Once suitably swanned, our dad joined us for short, sentimental soiree which satisfied that need to have a moment with my dear dad pre-ceremony. Then Dad and Bethan went to join the other guests and summoned my man. We did the ‘big reveal’ in the bridal suite, sipped some champagne fully clad in the bath and enjoyed some time to ourselves… the calm before the storm. Then we got ready to make OUR entrance.




The guests were settled in the theatre and our song started. We left a few bars play before flinging the doors open and strutting in with purpose and energy, hand in hand, with our guests cheering and hollering. (I’d instructed everyone to make some noise to avoid the strange silences I was dreading). And what an entrance it was. We felt like celebrities. It was 100% the right move for us and helped rid any angst, nerves or weirdness. Mission accomplished.



Sian Jackson Humanist Wedding Celebrant walking down the aisle hand in hand with her husband about to marry him



Your entrance, your choice!


Here's 8 incredible ways to rock up at your humanist ceremony


Many couples come to me thinking that a wedding entrance is a set thing. It’s absolutely not. There are many ways to approach it and a well-considered entrance will allow you to create the mood you want, encourage you to feel comfortable and will not only set the tone for the ceremony, but the entire day.


I spend lots of time helping couples discover their options so they feel fully informed and can choose their perfect entrance. I’ve experienced some pretty amazing arrivals and I’d like to share some to help you think about your EPIC entrance.



The classic bridal entrance


So, we’ll start with the classic entrance. Cherished moments with whoever is escorting you on your final journey as an unmarried person. The beautiful music sending shivers down everyone’s spine evoking memories of all the glorious weddings that have been and gone before. Your guests in awe as you appear at the top of the aisle, everyone eagerly anticipating that first glimpse of you looking your finest. That moment when your partner sees you for the first time and their eyes pop out of their head (or they turn into a blubbing mess like dear Dan here!). There’s no wonder why this age-old tradition continues and long may it live!



A bride arm in arm with her father walking her down the aisle to meet her groom who is very nervous and emotional

Photo by the talented Chris at:

https://www.chrisandrewsphotography.co.uk/


A father accompanying his daughter down the aisle at an outdoor wedding in Plas Dinam house Mid-Wales

Photo by the wonderful Sophie of:

https://wyldbee.com/



Bride on a Boat!


Bride, Groom, both of you… whatever! If you want a wedding with the wind whistling through your hair and the feeling of soft sumptuous sand beneath your feet, why not consider going the whole hog and rocking up on a boat?!



Photo by the dynamic Darren of:

https://www.thatcameraman.com/weddings


This is Rhian who gobsmacked her guests, and many on-looking beach-bums as she sailed into her ceremony with her two beloved boys by her side. You can tell from the pictures that she enjoyed the ride! The captain played the part and even carried her off the boat onto the shore where she danced up the sand to meet her gorgeous groom waiting under and arch of sunflowers. Idyllic and epic!



Preceded by your Flower Girls... or Guys!


In these strange years, clouded by covid, many of us have had to deal with unexpected turns of events and have been forced to improvise. Unfortunately, Will and Amy’s flower girls had the call to isolate the day of the wedding, so we enlisted the help of some very willing groomsmen to take their place. They gave the role all they had and pranced prettily down the aisle sprinkling petals on the path and pelting them into the faces of guests! Everyone was gutted of course that the girls couldn’t make it, we gave them a big shout out in the ceremony, but the guys did them proud… it’s just a shame we couldn’t squeeze the chaps into the flower girl’s dresses!


Photos by the luscious Lilly at:

https://lillywilsonphotography.com/



Turn up in an epic vehicle!


A beautiful bride standing in front of a big red fire engine on her wedding day

Why not make a massive entrance in a massive vehicle?! Annie’s partner Dan is an on-call fire fighter, and they had permission to shine-up this big red beast to help the bridal party make an unmissable entrance. It was incredible.


*Disclaimer… I do not condone the grand theft auto of emergency service vehicles for wedding related purposes.

Photo by the creative Chris at:

https://www.chrisandrewsphotography.co.uk/



Enlist the help of your canine friends


A couple, just married, standing with their Dalmatian dog after the dog had accompanied the bride down the asile

If your dog can be trusted not to chow down on your dress or run off with the rings, why not let them help you make a memorable entrance? This is Hopper, Dave and Angharad’s happy hound, who was surprisingly well behaved on the walk down the aisle and for the rest of the ceremony. I’m happy to work with cats, chickens, snakes, hamsters or horses… just please ensure your pets can handle the spotlight and responsibility before thrusting them into any important roles!


Photo by fab-photo duo, Julia and Martin at:

https://www.spinningyourdreams.co.uk/





Make your entrance together


So, I’ve already mentioned this as it’s what me and my man chose to do but I have since shared the idea to lots of other couples who have taken it up and didn’t regret it. Just look at their faces… says it all 😊


A very happy couple walking hand in hand down the asile, making their entrance together on their wedding day

Photo by the sensational Steven at:

https://stevenrooneyphotography.com/


A bride and groom smiling as they enter their wedding ceremony together at the Oxwich Bay Hotel, Swansea

Photo by the fantastic Phil at:

https://www.theweddingphotographercardiff.com/


Boxing ring entrance


Ok, so I’ve never witnessed this yet, but I would LOVE to orchestrate a ceremony where each partner has their own entrance, with their own music, like how two opponents enter a boxing ring. Two epic entrances for two epic people. What not?! Why is it only the bride who is entitled to a grand entrance? It doesn’t have to be that way; you can both have your moment to shine!


Photos by the joyful Jay at:

https://www.jayridsdalephotography.co.uk/


I couldn’t quite convince Sarah and Jules to go with the boxing ring approach, but they had their own idea to make an entrance for each of them. They played Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ and Jules shimmied down the aisle, like it was a catwalk, revving up the guests encouraging whistles and cheers first. When the song reached a crescendo Sarah appeared, arm in arm, with her son and it was her turn to bask in the glorious happiness radiating from the wedding party. It was suitably dramatic and gave them each an entrance reflecting their own personality, married together (pardon the pun!) by a piece of music they both adore. Perfect!



Dancing down the aisle


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One of my 2020 weddings now postponed until July 2022, the couple plan to have the whole wedding party, bride, groom, bridesmaids, groom’s men, flower girls etc. all partaking in an epic entrance that will see the lot of them dance down the aisle… that’s’ all prepared to say for now, photos to come!






Remember you don’t have to do what tradition dictates, do what’s right for you and if that’s the traditional thing that’s absolutely fine too!



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Yours, from my sofa full of virus,

Siân :)




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