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11 Steps to an Easy Wedding Rehearsal

outdoor white wedding chairs

In our blog Wedding Rehearsals – The Real Deal, we debunk some myths about rehearsals and answer some frequently asked questions.  Today, we’re going to give you 11 steps to an easy and efficient wedding rehearsal.

Hire a wedding planner (or coordinator)
I’m sure you’re thinking “of course she would say this. She’s a planner.”  While this is true, having a professional planner execute your rehearsal will help things go SO MUCH smoother.  Not only does it keep couples from stressing out and being seen as “bossy,” it also helps to keep those “helpful” know-it-all family members and friends at bay, eliminating lots of confusion.

Pair up your wedding party
Before the rehearsal figure out who you want to walk with whom. Whether it’s by height or relationship, have an idea of who will walk together. Unless there’s a married couple in your party, we typically suggest pairing the couples by height.  This eliminates the awkwardness of your 5’9” bridesmaid (before heels) walking with your 5’5” groomsman.  Other considerations are personalities and past relationships.  If you’ve got exes in your party who aren’t cordial, it’s probably best not to pair them together for your wedding.

Decide how the wedding party will enter
There are a number of ways your wedding party can enter the ceremony.  Unless dictated by your faith or place of worship where the ceremony will be held, this is totally up to you.  You can have all the pairs walk in together, OR the best man walk in with the groom, the pairs enter together and the maid/matron of honor walk in alone OR have all the men at the altar and all the ladies enter alone.  There’s no right or wrong here.  Just go with what feels best for you.

Determine what order everyone will enter
Now that you know who’s paired with whom and how they will enter. The next step is to decide the order for the rest of the processional. Traditionally, the groom enters, the grandparents, and then the parents. Following them is the wedding party, maid/matron of honor, ring bearer, flower girl, and of course the bride. This is 100% personal preference. So again, go with what feels right for you.

Decide who will walk the bride in
Tradition says that a bride’s father will walk her down and give her away.  However, this isn’t always possible or the best option, whether because of death or simply the nature of their relationship.  Some brides have asked their mom, a close uncle or sibling, even their children.  Whomever is chosen, be sure to ask them with love and appreciation for what they mean to you.

Let your readers/singers know what they will be sharing
If you’re having a reader recite a poem or scripture or other text or a singer/musician performing a musical number, be sure to send this to them with ample time for them to prepare.  If someone is reading text, send them the passage in large easy to read font in a format that they can print with ease.  Be sure to have an extra copy on the wedding day.  I also highly recommend sending these to your planner as well, just in case.

Review the order of service with your officiant
Some officiants choose not to attend rehearsals since much of the time is spent walking in and out.  However, regardless of their attendance, you and your spouse to be should meet with your officiant to talk through the events.  They can share with you how they normally run a ceremony, and you can share with them your desires and plans – personal vows, unity ceremony, readers/singers, etc.  Be sure to ask any questions you have and work with your officiant to make your ceremony as unique and personal as possible.  Your ceremony should be a reflection of your personalities.

These are typically done by your planner/coordinator, but it’s always good to have an idea of the most efficient way to execute a wedding rehearsal.  Talk to your planner to make sure you know what to expect going in.

Start by lining up your wedding party on the altar
It might sound counterintuitive start at the front, but one of the most time-consuming parts of the rehearsal is figuring out where everyone will stand.  So do the hard stuff first.  Place your wedding party in the positions you want them.  Now, take a step back.  Make sure you can see everyone because your photographer will be capturing this image.

Recess out
Play your recessional music and have your party walk out – newlyweds, wedding party pairs, parents, and grandparents.  This lets everyone know what order they will leave at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Process in
We started rehearsal midway the ceremony, with everyone in their places.  Now we’re going back to the top; how they will come in. Play your processional music and allow your families and wedding party to enter in the order you decided on.  This allows them to see where they are coming from and going to.

Talk through the order of the ceremony
With everyone in their places, briefly talk through the events of the ceremony.  Who will speak, sing, or read and when.  If there’s a unity ceremony, be sure the let the wedding party know if they will need to step back a little to allow you access to that designated table or area.

Have a moment of Q&A
At this point, rehearsal is done.  All that’s left is to answer any questions and make sure everyone knows where to be and when on wedding day.  This is also a good time to let the wedding party know where they should go after they recess out after the ceremony.

Check out Wedding Rehearsals – The Real Deal to get answers to some frequently asked wedding rehearsal questions.

Happy Planning!

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