Are ceremony rehearsals necessary? If you have any sort of bridal party whatsoever, then yes, a huge, resounding YES! Here are some basics:
WHO should attend? You & Your fiancé (duh!) The Bridal Party Flower Girls & Ring Bearers BOTH sets of parents Readers Ushers Anyone else playing a part or walking down the aisle (grandparents, godparents, sponsors)
WHEN should the rehearsal take place? Ideally the day before the wedding. The rehearsal is traditionally followed by the rehearsal dinner.
HOW do I tell participants about the rehearsal? In person On the phone Via email Formal written invitation (Or maybe all four methods above to ingrain it into their minds!)
How LONG should the rehearsal last? On average, 30 – 45 minutes. You don’t have to run through the actual ceremony portion (which is why Officiants don’t always attend). This run-through is more so to make sure everyone knows when to walk, how to walk, where to stand/sit, how to exit, etc.
Bonus Tip #1 Tell people to arrive 30 minutes before you actually expect to start. e.g. If you plan to start the rehearsal at 6PM, tell everyone that they need to be there at 5:30 (but don’t tell them you plan to start at 6!) People will inevitably run late, especially since rehearsals often take place on a Friday afternoon/evening, the worst possible time for traffic
Bonus Tip #2 Have a Master Plan. If you don’t have a wedding planner/coordinator, then be sure to work with your Officiant regarding the “choreography” of the ceremony. Determine if the groom and his groomsmen are standing at the alter waiting at the start of the ceremony. Or if the groom is walking both of his parents down the aisle. Or if the bridesmaids and groomsmen are walking down the aisle in pairs. If you (the bride) are walking in alone, or with you father, or both your parents… As you can see, there are endless configurations, so put it in writing and figure it out beforehand.
Bonus Tip #3 If you don’t have a coordinator/planner, then put someone else in charge!! Preferably someone with a slightly authoritative personality :) Review the walking order and ceremony outline with them, and then, put it in their hands!
(Personal photos from my own ceremony rehearsal)
Anyone else have tips for the ceremony rehearsal they’d like to share?