Thank you both. It seems like it's not something to get up in arms for and if are those who insist on a certain order, it is better to just let them have it their way. Pastorally speaking ...
I'm not too
rigid as far as this is concerned, although at my parish I like to follow the same order each time so we have consistency and avoid confusion.
Therefore, the ideal for us would be:
Candles > first fan > deacon with censer and diskos > priest with chalice > second fan, (then any additional stray priests
who may have happened by, carrying blessing crosses).
I would also find perfectly acceptable the practice of having both fans together preceding the clergy, although this would mean that the clergy with the Oblations would have to pass the server with the second fan in order to get to the centre of the solea. So practically, it simply would not work at my parish as our solea is not wide enough for two people to pass by simultaneously.
The other thing that is variable and which wouldn't get me too upset if done differently is the practice surrounding the censer. As it was explained to me, the censer serves no purpose during the Great Entrance. Nothing is censed at this point so it is not swung but is merely carried by the deacon, (draped over his shoulder if there is one deacon, as he carries the diskos aloft, or held aloft by one deacon if there are two, while the other deacon follows him with the diskos). The only reason he carries it in the procession is because he and the priest use it at the Oblations table immediately prior to the Entrance and then at the Holy Table immediately after the Entrance. Therefore, carrying it in the procession is simply a way of getting it from A to B without undue fuss. Because of this, in the absence of a deacon, if there are enough servers that the censer can be put away without delaying the Entrance and easily retrieved when needed again, it seems to me that to do this would be best practice, and this is the arangement that I have at my parish. If this would cause a delay, then I don't think I would go into anaphylactic shock if a server were to carry it in the procession. However, I would not place him with the clergy carrying the Oblations, but rather have him stand below the solea, in the middle of the servers carrying candles. He is, after all, not a deacon and should not behave as such.
Any surplus servers usually simply carry more candles and stand at the foot of the solea while those with fans would stand on the solea, holding the fans above the diskos and chalice, held by the deacon and priest in the middle. However, as we currently have neither fans nor deacon, what usually happens is:
Candles > priest with diskos and chalice.
The main thing that surprises me here is that people have mentioned the Cross being carried. According to my sources and experience, the Cross is only carried in outdoor processions and not during the Entrances of the Liturgy. The only exception to this is when the Primate of one of the local churches is serving, in which case, the Cross is used at the reception of the bishop, and again during the Lesser and Great Entrances - that is, only the Patrriarch/other Primate gets this honour and and not other bishops - certainly not priests! This seems to be corroborated by Orthodox11's aforementioned encounters with Athonite priests. If I were to see the Cross being carried in the Entrance when just a priest were serving, I would probably jokingly ask him afterwards whether he had been elevated without telling anyone.