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Ummmm - What Is A Spiral Ceremony?

Have you heard about a wedding ceremony where the couple enter via a spiral?

Instead of walking down a straight aisle, the bride walks to her fiance via a spiral constructed by the placement of chairs, ensuring that she passes by every guest on her travels. Recently, celebrant Josie Arnold from "Ceremonies With Style" conducted a wedding with this remarkable bridal entrance.

Read on as she describes her experience as the celebrant at such an unusual entrance, and see what you think about her list of pros and cons.

I love it when my couples, ‘step outside the box’ with their plans . . . or in this case ‘The aisle’.

At a recent wedding I conducted, instead of the traditional aisle the couple chose to have a ‘spiral’.

They were always going to have their own ‘distinct style’ for their special day, and took the time to research and local vendors and suppliers that were abstract in their thinking too. They knew that they needed to source individuals and businesses who would be happy to accommodate their different ideas, whilst still maintaining the traditional wedding rituals and integrity of the day.

As I discovered, a Spiral Ceremony certainly has its advantages and disadvantages.....

  • The Negatives
  • I’m not sure that I would recommend this ‘spiral aisle design’ if you had a large number of guests, as the spiral would lose it's intimate atmosphere.

*  You also need to choose the area available to set it up, some places may just be too small for the circle to work in, and remember it requires hiring enough chairs for ‘every guest’ to be seated, which could become costly.

  • *  Because of the nature of the shape of the spiral, it is unavoidable for some of the guests to only see the back of the bride and groom during the ceremony. This may lead to some guests feeling ‘left out.’ Although some may argue that this is what happens in a church situation.

*  As a celebrant it was ‘challenging’ to address all the guests throughout the ceremony, due to this configuration, however after this particular wedding I did have a lot of positive feedback to say how unusual and personal the ceremony and set up was.

The Positives
Firstly it is very ‘different’ from the usual straight aisle. Having a ‘spiral aisle’ certainly creates a more intimate setting where the guests encircle the bride and groom as they are having their ceremony. It also means that the bride walks past each of her guests individually.

  • *  The centre of the spiral is the focal the point, with just the bride and groom in the middle, having their bridal party seated along with their families on the most central part, again creates a certain ‘intimacy’ within that circle.
  • *  It offers a lovely opportunity for each guest (or second) to give the bride a flower as she passes by them - creating her bouquet.

  • * This idea would also works really well for a Celtic or medieval styled wedding.
  • *  It also generates a quirky group photo opportunity, where all your guests are captured together in a circle.

  • *  This configuration works well if you have a small number of guests, as the circle creates within itself a warm and ‘embracing’ atmosphere.

    *  This arrangement could work well for the grand finale of the evening too, when the Bride and Groom depart, instead of just the usual line up of guests.

In summary, I'd have to say that I think the positives outweigh the negatives for this set up, especially during the processional of the bride and recessional of the married couple. Everyone does get to see them at some point. And it does make for a very unique wedding ceremony.

After we posted this story and shared it on our Facebook page the bride Louise made some fabulous comments about her perspective.

Louise said " This was our wedding that Josie is talking about. Our bridal party and immediate family sat in the inner circle and the extended family and friends were on the second row. We didn’t plan it like that - it just happened. But it did mean that all the important people got a front row experience whilst the others were still close enough to feel like it was an intimate ceremony.

The groom loved being able to walk into the circle before I arrived and greet every guest personally before getting to the centre and I loved walking around the spiral and making eye contact with all the guests on the way to meet the groom.

We chose to face our parents at the beginning of the ceremony and then face each other from the vows on-wards. This meant that everybody had a front or side view of one or both of us for the important bits. We had a ring warming ceremony too where the rings started at the end and worked their way into the center. That was a great way to include everybody and also gave us a breather to just chat among us and take stock of the importance of the day.

Walking back up the aisle as Mr and Mrs was the best bit as when we passed in front of everybody they had first-hand chance to throw lavender over us to spread the love. They then snaked their way behind us and we stood at the start of the spiral to get our hugs and congratulations as everybody passed through.

We wanted our day to be a relaxed family affair and to make sure everybody felt included. We had 60 guests in total and 40 of them were from overseas! So it was important to us to have them feel welcome and included.

This setting coupled with the amazing job Josie did with telling ‘our story’ made for a very intimate ceremony and we got lots of compliments on it afterwards.

I can't recommend this setting or Josie as a celebrant enough."

spiralceremony 1


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