Haploidization of the genome in meiosis requires that chromosomes be sorted exclusively into pairs stabilized by synaptonemal complexes (SCs) and crossovers. This sorting and pairing is accompanied by active chromosome positioning in meiotic prophase in which telomeres cluster near the spindle pole to form the bouquet before dispersing around the nuclear envelope. We now describe telomere-led rapid prophase movements (RPMs) that frequently exceed 1 microm/s and persist throughout meiotic prophase. Bouquet formation and RPMs depend on NDJ1, MPS3, and a new member of this pathway, CSM4, which encodes a meiosis-specific nuclear envelope protein required specifically for telomere mobility. RPMs initiate independently of recombination but differ quantitatively in mutants that fail to complete recombination, suggesting that RPMs respond to recombination status. Together with recombination defects described for ndj1, our observations suggest that RPMs and SCs balance the disruption and stabilization of recombinational interactions, respectively, to regulate crossing over.