I recently saw a viral video where the doors are pulled open to reveal the bride standing there on her own. After a moment, her father joins her and they stand together before walking down the aisle.

If you want your partner to have an incredible reaction to your grand entrance, this is definitely one way to do it, but there are loads of tried and true methods I’ve seen over the years.

So if you want five more, keep reading!

As a Sussex wedding photographer, I’m always thinking of ways my couples can enhance the moments and emotions of their day. 

And the grand entrance is definitely one of those key moments. 

So if you want your partner to beam with the biggest smile or unleash their ugly cry, here are my top tips.

5 key tips to make your grand entrance… GRAND!

1. Pause.

There are a couple ways you can do this and I can’t recommend enough incorporating a way that feels natural to you. So if you standing on your own before your dad (or chosen escort) joins, isn’t for you, keep listening. This is one of those moments a lot of people dream about and romanticise. But walking down the aisle happens really quick. We are talking under 10 seconds quick. Especially in those small village churches here in the UK. The few seconds it takes to get to the altar is honestly not much of an opportunity for your partner to turn around if they are facing forward and take in the magnificent sight that is you. And it doesn’t give you much of a chance to take in everyone. I see brides often waving and distracted by everyone else who came that day, that they barely even make eye contact with their partner. So that pause gives you a chance to take it all in. I have three top tips for a good pause: the first good excuse to pause is for a special guest to adjust your dress and veil. If you’re rounding any kind of corner (lots of church’s have a side entrance), your outfit will likely bunch up. So this is a perfect moment to pause and get that adjusted by someone. You could also do something unique. I once had a bride walk halfway down the aisle with her parents, and then her groom met her halfway. They all had a lovely moment in the middle of the aisle and then the groom escorted her the rest of the way. This gave them time to just be present before the person officiating began speaking.  Another top tip is to wait for the perfect build up in the music that is playing. Which leads me to tip 2!

2. Choose your music wisely.

Music is powerful. I had a couple do a first look, the bride come down the aisle in a Bugatti with the venue owner and then again with her dad, and the groom still wept – it was probably one of the most emotional reactions I’ve seen (He’s the main image on this post)! The music was that good. But more importantly let the music build. Your partner will be standing up at the altar laughing with family and friends. So play a bit of the song before the processional starts so that they have the mental capacity to refocus on the moment that is unfolding in front of them. If your partner knows the queue when you are to enter and the song by heart, that just really builds the anticipation and emotion. And lastly, and perhaps most important, give your partner a say in the song choice. If you aren’t keen on their suggestions, listen to an instrumental version like a string quartet or find other alternative versions. Trust me, it hits different. Just search for a string quartet version of Jack Black’s songs if you don’t believe me. Or head over to the resources page for a huge list of great songs and instrumental variations.

There is also a huge list of readings if you need inspiration!

3. Enter last & leave space in front of you.

Enter after your bridal party and wait till they are at their places (which is another excuse to pause if you need one). If your view of each other is completely blocked by a vicar and/or your bridal party, the chances of a great reaction are less likely.

4. Have your partner’s back to the alter

Tell your partner to face towards you and not the altar. Even if the person officiating tells your partner to face forward, they should turn around when the processional starts or just speak up and say they want to watch the processional. I’ve seen vicars and registrars tell my grooms in the past to face forward and the groom doesn’t even get more than a side glance before the person officiating starts talking. So just know there are no rules around this and you can do what you’re comfortable with.

5. Bribery

Bribery. I’m only half joking but also kind of serious. Those people standing around your partner play a big role in setting the atmosphere. A fart joke right as the processional starts will completely take your partner out of the moment. So personally for me, I’ve started asking my couples what they envision that moment being like. For the ones that really care, I sometimes nudge things along by clueing in the ushers and best man. Have I encouraged betting pools for most stone faced groom? Maybe. Do I pull the best man aside and give him pointers on how he can win the betting lot. Whose to say? But I only do this if my bride begs me for any help or tips. Because of my love for her, I will definitely stoop so low as to resort to bribery and banter.