A wedding ceremony should seem to unfold effortlessly and smoothly, but those of us in the know are aware that this is only the case because all of the key players have practiced their entrances and exists, their lines, and the choreography. Also known as the wedding ceremony rehearsal, this walk through of the main event is pretty important for any couple having anything more than the simplest of ceremonies. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Or take longer than 20 minutes to an hour. No one needs to dress up. The bride doesn’t need to don her wedding jewelry or have her hair did. The rehearsal just needs to be thorough enough and long enough to make everyone comfortable with their roles.
As for who ‘everyone’ is, the usual roster of participants at ceremony rehearsals will include:
- The bride and groom
- All members of the wedding party (including ring bearer and flower girl)
- All those individuals with special roles during the ceremony (readers, lighting candles, etc.)
- Musicians or soloists
- Parents of the bride and groom
- Wedding coordinator
The wedding rehearsal is usually held at the ceremony location the night before the wedding. However, if the ceremony location is unavailable, the rehearsal can be held at an alternate location.
Here are some more tips to make your rehearsal (and thus your ceremony) amazing:
* Make sure that everyone that should attend knows the time and location of the rehearsal. Some brides send out invitations for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner along with directions for those that may be unfamiliar with the location. The goal is to get everyone there on time!
* Let your Officiant run the rehearsal. He or she should give directions to everyone in terms of the flow, order of events, where and when to enter and where to stand at the altar.
* Don’t try to add anything new to the ceremony that wasn’t already talked about and agreed upon with your Officiant. It will only add confusion to the ceremony and the rehearsal.
* All those with special roles should rehearse their part. Readers may only want to practice a few lines – or they may wish to rehearse their entire passage. Be aware and make sure at the end of the rehearsal that everyone is comfortable with his or her role.
* Instruct the readers on how to adjust the microphone, if necessary. Make it clear where the reading (the actual piece of paper) will be located. Will the notes be at the podium? Or will the reader need to carry them up to the podium? For an evening or candlelight service, make sure there will be sufficient light to be able to read.
* The Bride and female attendants should practice walking down the aisle to make sure that everyone follows the same pace. Children (flower girls and ring bearers) may need extra practice time to make them feel comfortable walking down the aisle.
* The Bride and her attendants should also discuss how their bouquets should be held (i.e. up high, in the middle, or down low). You want a consistent look for the pictures and video.
* The Officiant should also instruct the ushers on how to seat mothers, grandmothers and wedding guests. They should also receive instructions on rolling out the aisle runner if one is being used