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What to Include in Wedding Rehearsals

The wedding rehearsal is your opportunity to get comfortable with the movements of the wedding day. It’s a great time to make mistakes, get out your giggles and have some relaxed moments with your closest friends and family before your big moment.

It’s important to make sure that everyone who will play a role in the wedding ceremony attends the rehearsal. This includes the entire bridal party, the officiate, all parents, the readers, cross bearers, altar servers, ushers…anyone who needs to know where to go and what to do on the wedding day. When you notify them about the rehearsal, also be sure to give them attire guidelines. Shorts and sandals may be appropriate at a beach wedding, but a tie or modest dress is required in many houses of worship.

Additionally, emphasize to your wedding party the importance of timely arrival. It is not only critical to keeping your schedule on track, but is also a show of respect for your officiate and your wedding ceremony venue.

It is often most convenient to start your rehearsal by positioning everyone where they will stand during the ceremony. The officiate should run through the wedding ceremony motions, instructing the wedding party and couple what they should do when prompted. You should practice all of the important rites and transitions, although you may choose not to say your vows until the wedding day. Have the readers practice and if possible, have sound conditions and live microphones create the same as will occur on the wedding day. Don’t forget to pull out your actual unity candle or unity sand and run through the set up and execution so you eliminate any questions during the real wedding ceremony.

In some cultures, the bride cannot participate in the rehearsal but watches as a spectator. In this case, have a good friend stand in so the rest of the party can practice.

After you have practiced all of the wedding ceremony elements, rehearse the recessional. Then have everyone line up and practice entering the church or ceremony area. If your musicians are in attendance, rehearse the different cues that will be necessary as well. Run through the processional and recessional as many times as necessary for everyone to feel comfortable. The bride and bridesmaids may want to wear their actual wedding day shoes for this process so they know exactly what to expect during the ceremony.

Someone will need to instruct your ushers on the proper way to escort guests in, as well as where you have assigned any special seating. If you need your ushers to roll out your aisle runner, have this available at the rehearsal as well.

Finally, before you adjourn, go over the wedding day schedule with everyone and ensure that they know where they need to be and when. Distribute a wedding day timeline to be extra safe.

Advantage Bridal has several fun items to make identifying your wedding party members easier. For a casual wedding, have t-shirts personalized with each name and role and you’ll find that the wedding rehearsal is even more fun!