Wedding Rehearsal Preparation
I’m super excited to meet you, your family and friends and to run your rehearsal! Please be sure to introduce me to everyone and let them know that I will be running your rehearsal.
Here is some info you should know before the rehearsal and in preparation for your big day!
Who is running the rehearsal
If you’ve booked me for your rehearsal (by paying the rehearsal fee and adding it to my calendar), then that means that I’m running your rehearsal. Not your best friend, not the venue coordinator, not the wedding planner – the Officiant.
With that said, your coordinator/planner and I should be working together. Its important that you make this very clear to your wedding party as well as to your planner/coordinator.
Its extremely annoying (and a waste of your money and my time) when I’m booked for the rehearsal and I’m unable to run it because there is someone there thinking that they’re running it or being disruptive because they think (wrongly) that they have the experience and they should be running it.
Since most venues will give you/us an allotted amount of time (usually 1 hour) to run the rehearsal, its unproductive to have to deal with these matters when it can be easily cleared up, right out the gate by the bride/groom, as to who is in charge of the rehearsal. Your cooperation on this would be greatly appreciated.
Who should be present
Anyone participating in your processional and recessional should be present for the rehearsal, up to and including your flower girls, ring bearers etc. If the site is unavailable, don't worry! Just choose a place where you can mimic the layout of your ceremony's venue.
With me as your Officiant, this is entirely your ceremony. Therefore, please determine beforehand exactly which, if any, traditions you would like to follow, the way you want your attendants to line up, the manner in which you would like them to enter and exit, where you would like them to stand, walk or sit. Of course I will guide you through what works and what flows best.
Your wedding is a highly emotional time for everyone and may bring up emotions that are difficult to handle. Please impress upon all participants how important it is for them to attend the rehearsal and be on-time. If you know that your friends and family tend to be late, please build "a cushion" into the time that you ask them to arrive. If everyone cooperates, there is no reason for a rehearsal to last longer than one (1) hour. Please make sure I am introduced to all participants. If you are choosing an outdoor venue, consider whether moving indoors would alter any plans. Every outdoor ceremony should have an indoor alternative — just in case.
If you know that someone cannot attend the rehearsal, appoint a stand-in who will participate in the rehearsal and explain the duties to the participant before the ceremony.
Please have on hand the actual or dummy props (Unity Candles, bouquets, rings, etc.) so that everyone can practice their actions.
It is especially important that children who will participate in the ceremony attend the rehearsal. Please take care to speak with the children in a gentle and thoughtful manner and have props (i.e. a dummy flower basket with petals, a broom, a pillow, etc.) that will allow them to practice their actions. I prefer that just one person give the children direction and everyone else just offer praise. This may be the first time they “perform” in front of a group, let’s make sure that it is fun and easy for them.
The Receiving Line
Decide if you will (or can) have a receiving line. I highly recommend my couples NOT have a receiving line. It takes too much time and it can really screw up your after ceremony timeline. Everything that’s done on the receiving line can be done during the reception. Of course this is up to you.
If you do not have a receiving line, it is incredibly important to reach out to each guest at the cocktail hour and/or reception and thank them sincerely for attending your wedding. Do not leave that role up to your parents. The guests came to support and see you.
After the recessional
Decide where the wedding party will go after the recessional. Whether you are doing a receiving line or not, the wedding party and immediate family should know where to go after the ceremony recessional. If they need to stay for pictures, let’s determine a meeting spot to all meet so everyone is on the same page. If you will be exiting the venue with bubbles, flags, or any other items, we need to explain it to your wedding party so they can help lead the guests in what to do.
Take care of yourself
Do get enough sleep and eat healthy meals as your rehearsal and wedding approach. You will need to maintain your strength and perspective. Take time to visualize your rehearsal and wedding ceremony so that you will be able to address any complications and calm yourself. No matter what happens, do your best to remain flexible, calm, and pleasant. Your spouse, attendants and guests want to celebrate with you – being able to do so is much more important than everything running exactly as you planned.
Remember to enjoy these moments! They will never come again!