Your wedding rehearsal is a practice of your wedding ceremony for you and more for your wedding party. Traditionally, it's held the day before or two days before the wedding day. It is more convenient to do it at your wedding venue, however; a lot of times we see couples do it at their homes (because not everyone can make it to the venue). Following the rehearsal, a dinner or welcome party is planned for the family who has arrived a day early. In my opinion, I love the idea of a welcome party, it is more laid back and a lot less stressful to plan.
5 Steps Prior
Hire a wedding coordinator
I am not just saying this because I am a wedding planner, I am saying it because they will help you walk through the steps to make it a lot easier. The coordinator helps direct the wedding party so that the couple gets to enjoy every minute.
Pair up your wedding party
The best way to do this is height. I hate to say it but it does matter in pictures what it looks like when all of you are standing at the altar. Once you have chosen who you would like to walk together let them know. This will make both sides happy. OH! and avoid pairing up people who dislike each other it will save you a lot of heartaches.
Decide how many you want in your wedding party to enter
Every time I ask my couples this they give me a confused look. This is something to prepare for well in advance. Depending on your religious affiliation, make sure to ask your officiant prior to making a set-in-stone commitment. So that you don't offend anyone. Traditionally, there are two ways the wedding party can enter:
Grandparents, parents, officiant, groom, followed by bridesmaids and groomsmen coming in together.
Grandparents, parents, officiant, groom, groomsmen, and bridesmaids not coming in together but individually walking in together.
Are you going to have readers?
If you are having readers make sure to type out exactly what you want them to say and send it to them. Make sure you give them time to practice. If you have a wedding coordinator make sure to send them a copy as well. Just in case your readers forget their copy.
Decide if you will have a receiving line following the ceremony
A receiving line is an opportunity for guests to congratulate your new marriage and for you to thank them for coming. I am not a big fan of these as they suck up valuable time for you to enjoy your wedding. However; if you do decide to do one make sure you inform your family that they will be part of the line.
5 Steps During
Start by lining up your wedding party at the altar
I start this way first so everyone in the wedding party knows where they are standing before walking in. Position each person in the wedding party with equal space between them, and hands positioned the same way. Followed by the officiant and readers going through the ceremony. (not fully because some things should be left for the ceremony).
Run through processional & recessional
Then I ask the bridal party to pair up and walk out (recessional). Followed processioning back into the ceremony. Usually, we only need to run through it one time. Which is great! Tip * Make sure they are equally spaced out between each other, this helps the photographer capture each pair equally.
Run through the order of events for the wedding day
Towards the end of the rehearsal. Before people leave I had out their "VIP" timelines. These are little pocket timelines that tell them their roles during the wedding day and at what time they start. So no one runs late.
Discuss where the wedding party will go after the ceremony
This is key to making sure the run of events happens on time. Make sure to tell your entire wedding party where they should go for pictures after the ceremony.
Don't forget your wedding license for the wedding rehearsal. You will be handing that over to your officiant.
If you are still looking for a wedding coordinator our wedding management package has wedding rehearsals included. Contact us here!