This weekend I will be conducting two wedding rehearsals. One for Nicole & Mike’s wedding and one I will be conducting Saturday afternoon for Courtney‘s Sunday couple. Wedding rehearsals can sometimes seem tedious and unnecessary…however they prove very beneficial in making sure that your ceremony runs smoothly and according to plan. Here some tips on how to have a successful and productive wedding rehearsal:
The Purpose — Wedding rehearsals give you an opportunity to figure out logistics for all the little details of your ceremony (i.e. entering, exiting, where to stand, etc.). Rehearsing them allows your ceremony to run as smoothly as possible.
Who Should Attend — All members of the wedding party and anyone else who is involved in the ceremony (i.e. bride, groom, best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer, readers, parents, grandparents…). Some vendors such as musicians/DJs or photographers/videographers may also want to attend to rehearse their part in the ceremony as well.
Before the rehearsal — Introduce everyone and tell everyone where they should go when they arrive for the wedding. Discuss when photos will be taken.
Step One — Line up the wedding party where they will be standing for the ceremony. Here’s a sample ceremony lineup from Suzanne & Peter’s wedding:
Step Two — Practice the recessional (exit) first. Practice how the bridal party will exit (i.e. couple first, flower girl & ring bearer, attendants meeting each other in the center and walking out as couples, bride’s parents, groom’s parents, bride’s grandparents, groom’s grandparents).
Step Three — Practice seating the guests. Let the ushers know which rows are reserved for who and practice escorting special guests such as grandparents or other family members (if they are not part of the processional).
Step Four — Practice the processional. The wedding party should enter and lineup the way they were in Step One. Typically, the groom and his attendants follow the officiant in (to stand on the officiant’s left). Bridesmaids walk in one-by-one with the last (outside) bridesmaid walking in first. The Maid of Honor follows the bridesmaids. Next the flower girl (and ring bearer if he did not walk in with the groomsmen) will walk in. The bride enters with her escort on her right. Practice the escort’s role in “giving away” the bride.
Step Five — Practice the ceremony. While it’s not necessary to run through the entire ceremony word-for-word, it is important to practice major highlights of the ceremony (i.e. when the readers will go up to the altar, when the lighting of a unity will take place, etc.). Practice with any special props that you can, such as handing off the bouquet (Suzanne used a “bouquet” from her bridal shower) or giving the rings (use fake rings), etc.
Step Six — Practice the recessional again.
Typically, you will need to run through the rehearsal at least one more time to be sure all players remember their roles in the ceremony.