Avoiding the Awkward Lull: 4 steps to planning a dope and photogenic wedding recessional

No one likes feeling awkward, especially on their wedding day. As a wedding photographer, I have been to over 250 weddings and I have seen the same awkward situation play out pretty much every weekend.

You know the scene — the couple has said their “I dos”, the celebrant announces them as officially married (woop woop!), and then they make their way back up the aisle. Sometimes there’s music or confetti, but at a certain point, there is the inevitable moment of…


No one seems to know what to do once they reach the end, or even where the “end” is. In this article, I am here to bust that awkwardness and help you plan a dope (and photogenic) wedding recessional.

What Is a Recessional?

The wedding recessional is a time-honoured tradition that signals the end of the ceremony. It’s the moment a newly-married couple walks back up the aisle, typically to some cheering and fanfare from the guests. Despite it being a very short-lived moment, the recessional will often be a big moment of the wedding as it often represents the first opportunity for everyone to celebrate that you are “officially” married. It can be an exciting moment, but it can also feel very awkward if it’s not handled properly.

How Do I Avoid the Awkwardness?

Step 1: Plan a Confetti or Flower Petal Exit

Arm your guests with some fun things to throw in your direction as you walk back up the aisle.

When it’s time to make a grand exit at your wedding, it’s a great idea to give your guests something to do to celebrate you. Tossing eco-friendly petals or biodegradable confetti is a fun way for your guests to express their love for you – it’s the perfect metaphor for showering you with affection!

Designate one or two people to arm people with the confetti prior to the recessional, and ask your celebrant to announce it right before you begin your walk. Make sure they include something along the lines of “please throw the confetti directly above their heads, not in their faces.”

This will help create a very photogenic “falling” effect that makes for great memories and photos!

Step 2: Choose a designated “end zone”

You need to know where to stop walking at the end of your recessional

This might seem obvious, but it’s something overlooked by many couples when rehearsing their ceremony. They get through all the formalities and then forget to decide where they will stop after the recessional. My suggestion is not to go too far away, but you may like to swing just off to the side a little.

Step 3: Select the perfect song

Selecting the perfect song is crucial to an un-awkward recessional, as it can set the tone for the whole moment. When searching for this tune, pick something high energy, positive, and super lovey-dovey, that reflects your and your partner’s personalities.

Don’t forget to make sure you have someone in charge of playing the music at the right moment. It can be a DJ, band, or even a friend with a Spotify account. They can even ask to link it up with the celebrant’s speaker system.

Here are some suggested songs to use for your recessional:

  • A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
  • We Found Love – Rihanna ft Calvin Harris
  • 24K Magic – Bruno Mars

Step 4: Assign some “early huggers” to meet you in the end zone

If you read nothing else in this article, read this: This is the key to avoiding the awkward lull once you reach the end zone.

Choose 4 or 5 friends or family members to be ready at the top of the aisle waiting to run in for a hug once you arrive. This will indicate to everyone else that it’s okay to start lining up for hugs and congratulations. Having those people ready helps ensure that there won’t be an uncomfortable silence or any confusion about what to do next. Plus, these moments make for some of my favourite photos.

Trust me: having a few people waiting with open arms immediately after you say “I do” will help make your recessional (and the whole ceremony) more memorable and worthwhile because you get to share it with the most important people in your life.

Wrapping things up:

Here’s a quick rundown of the 4 steps to planning a fun and photogenic recessional while avoiding the awkwardness:

  1. Plan a confetti or flower petal exit
  2. Choose a designated “end zone”
  3. Select the perfect song
  4. Assign some “early huggers” to meet you in the end zone

At its core, a wedding recessional should be an exciting moment because it marks the official beginning of your marriage. Planning these things ahead of time will leave you and your guests with an amazing experience that you’ll never forget. Good luck and have fun with it!

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Henry Paul Photography acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. I pay my respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders both past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


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