The rehearsal. Necessary? Yes! Fun? Totally! Well, maybe more necessary than fun, but hear us out. There are lots of reasons why a rehearsal is important, and it’s not just to run through the actual ceremony ‘script’. You need to do that, in some way, at a rehearsal, sure. But it’s also super important to gather your VIPs (wedding party, officiant, parents, readers…)
Religious or cultural ceremonies are sometimes ‘run’ by the church lady, or the priest or rabbi. For these weddings, planners have less to do, technically, but it’s still an opportunity for everyone in your wedding party to get on the same page. And it’s the planner’s job to distribute information, answer questions, and help wrangle and line everyone up. The first part of the rehearsal can feel a little like herding cats. But...better on the rehearsal than on the wedding day!
We’re seeing more and more couples resistant to the idea of rehearsals. Smaller wedding parties, less religious ceremonies...busier couples? Some couples think that the rehearsal will take away from the wedding day, like it will feel robotic or something. Maybe rehearsals have just gotten a reputation for being boring and a waste of time. But we assure you, they aren’t! Trust us, we’re professionals.
Rehearsals are particularly important if your officiant is not a ‘professional’ - and a lot of weddings these days are in this category. It will make the officiant feel more comfortable on the wedding day, and muscle memory will kick in on the wedding day. It’s good for everyone, we promise.
Rings! Don’t let kids handle the rings. Just don’t. Not at the rehearsal, not at the wedding. Not on a train, not in the rain...
Elements of a rehearsal
- 10 minutes - gather, wrangle, introduce everyone
- 30 minutes - ceremony cue to cue. Beginning with butts-in-seats in the first row or two (have your dad stand where he will sit on the wedding day. The flower girl’s mom needs to be in an aisle seat. Map it out and put people in their places physically. Make a ceremony seating chart. (You should write this down ahead of time.) Then you basically go through the beginnings and endings of the ceremony paragraphs...do NOT read verbatim the whole thing. Anytime there is a physical action - like exchanging rings - you practice it. You rehearse, get it? Practice lining up for the processional and walking in, and then practice the recessional.
- 30 minutes - Powwow. Share information so that everyone is on the same page on the wedding day. Arrival times, ‘getting ready’ plan, who is doing the first toast and when, etc. Remind the bride to eat and drink lots of water! Also, take time to make sure that ushers or greeters know their job.
- 10-30 minutes - STUFF. It’s your wedding, you’ll have stuff! Probably about a trunk-load, give or take. (Including but not limited to - toasting flutes, signage, jars filled w candy, your marriage license in it’s utilitarian manila envelope…)
What if the venue isn’t available for a rehearsal? What if your officiant can’t come to a rehearsal? We still suggest you have a rehearsal - you need some space, and as many VIPs as possible. Have it at the time that the most people can come. Others can be brought up to speed on the wedding day. If possible, it helps to have 8 or so folding chairs to outline the space, the width of the aisle
Hint - a rehearsal is smoothest if:
- There are as many people from the VIP category as possible.
- If ‘extra’ people are NOT there. If you have 5 bridesmaids and they have 5 boyfriends that are not in the wedding party...request that the boyfriends don’t attend the actual rehearsal.
Links we referenced
“You’re a kiss ass, you brown-noser.” ~Michelle, to Christy, with love
“I always tell my couples, if you want to hold hands, hold hands! If you want to wipe her tear away, wipe it away. And when you say your vows, do not worry about the last person in the last row….if they can’t hear your vows. Your vows are the only part of the ceremony that are from one person to another. Just say them!” ~Christy, on the magnetic power between people in love!
“To the couple - do what feels right. Everybody else - do what I told you to do.” ~Christy, spoken like a true wedding planner
“I mean, what three-year-old hasn’t swallowed a precious jewel?” ~Christy, if she had a dime…
“If you can get 6 chairs and an empty room, we can rehearse. You can do it anywhere, as long as your VIPs are on board.” ~Christy, a statement that is true for many situations!
“There are always people that run late...as long as it’s not the couple...you have to start on time.” ~Michelle, on the inevitable and the necessary
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