7 Steps for a Stress-Free Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal

As a “career bridesmaid,” I have participated in my share of disastrous wedding rehearsals.  I have see instances when the groom has gotten lost, the officiant had the wrong time, and the church’s doors were locked and no one could get it.  To avoid all of this craziness, consider following our 7 easy steps for a stress-free ceremony rehearsal.

  • Try to schedule your rehearsal in the actual ceremony location. To ensure that everyone feels comfortable on the actual wedding day, do your best to schedule your rehearsal in the actual ceremony location for your wedding.  Some venues won’t allow couples to practice on Friday or Saturday evening because they have other weddings taking place at that time.  If that is the case, consider practicing on Thursday evening or Friday morning instead.  And, let the ladies know in advance if the ceremony is outside — They may make a different shoe choice based on this information, and everyone may consider bringing a sweater or jacket if the weather is chilly in the evening. 
  • Ensure that everyone has the information regarding the rehearsal date, start time and location. Make sure that everyone knows where to go and when they need to be there for the rehearsal. And, while you are at it, send them driving directions too.  You want to make sure the driving directions include the estimated travel time from the hotel where everyone is staying. And, if your rehearsal is taking place during rush hour, include a notation about potential delays because of the rush hour traffic.
  • Review the rehearsal rundown with the officiant beforehand.  Wedding ceremony rehearsal are pretty easy and straightforward, but I still prefer to give the officiant a phone call in advance to review the ceremony rundown with him or her. — When the call is over, I have a better understanding about the ceremony events, the officiant’s expectations and his or her arrival time for the rehearsal and/or the ceremony. 
  • Get familiar with wedding ceremony etiquette.  If ceremony etiquette, such as the order of the processional, the “groom’s side” and the “bride’s side” matter to you, read up on that information in advance.  If your planner or officiant is present at the rehearsal, s/he will know this information.  But, just in case, here is a link to Martha Stewart’s instructions for the wedding processional order.
  • Pre-Determine the processional order for your wedding party. When a couple tries to determine the order of their wedding processional at the actual rehearsal, they should expect plenty of feedback from the rest of the rehearsal participants.  As a result, the 30-minute rehearsal turns into 90 minutes.  Avoid this drama by determining your processional order in advance — If you want to line up the wedding party by height, simply reach out to the participants in advance and ask them for their height.  Pretty simple, huh?
  • Ensure that everyone involved in the ceremony attends and participates in the rehearsal.  It goes without saying that the entire wedding party (including the flower girls and ring bearers) should be at the rehearsal, but you should also consider inviting the couple’s parents (and their processional escorts), readers, soloists, musicians, and the officiant to the rehearsal too.  If everyone has an opportunity to participate in the wedding rehearsal, they will feel more confident about their role on the big day.
  • Bring all of the “props” with you.  If you are going to have readers at your ceremony, bring the actual document they will read from to ensure they feel comfortable with the font type and font size.  If you are going to have flower girls and/or ring bearers, bring their baskets and pillows.  If your musician cannot make it to the rehearsal, bring recorded music and allow everyone to practice walking to it.

So, in conclusion — Plan ahead, dress appropriately, bring everything with you and arrive on time.  Enjoy!

Love & Soul Always, Kay



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