1. Who will be there?
The first thing you need to do is figure out who needs to be at the rehearsal. Only the people walking down the aisle should be present at your rehearsal. If there is more people it could get more difficult to manage and the people there will get distracted easier. Keep the rehearsal to a minimum. Usually this will involve grandparents, parents, officiant, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, and of course the bride and groom.
2. Plan your order.
Have the order of your processional ready to go ahead of time so once you get to the rehearsal you or your wedding planner can instruct everyone where to stand and when to walk. The order of your processional can vary, but click here for a guide by Jen Goldenburg if you are unsure about your processional order.
3. Practice the recessional.
The easiest thing to do is start with the recessional. I know that seems backwards, but showing everyone where they need to stand at the altar and then practicing the recessional will make practicing from beginning to end much easier. This way when everyone walks down the aisle they will know where to stand once they get to the end of the aisle.
4. Practice processional.
After everyone knows where they will be standing at the altar or in the case of the parents and grandparents, where they will be seated, then practice the processional. Have everyone lined up and run through it. If you can practice with your music then I would highly recommend it in order to plan transitions, but if not then just make sure whoever is doing your music has the right versions of the songs you want. With all the different versions of songs out there it is easy to get songs mixed up even for a professional.
5. Tips once you get down the aisle.
There are a few things to remember for your actual ceremony, but should be mentioned at your rehearsal. No gum, phones (unless used for vows), or locking knees. The maid of honor will hold the bride’s bouquet after her escort gives her away, and the second bridesmaid will fix the bride’s dress. Also make sure you plan who will have the rings whether it is the best man, ring bearer, or the best man & the maid of honor. Then make sure you practice handing them to the officiant during your rehearsal. (You can practice with fake rings)
6. Practice the ceremony.
After everyone has walked down the aisle and taken their designated spots then you want to generally run through your ceremony process with your officiant. You do not have to do word for word but just practice the general order of how your officiant plans on doing your ceremony. Each officiant does things differently so just make sure you are prepared by practicing, especially if you have a special ceremony like a sand, candle, or tying the rope ceremony.
7. Then practice the recessional again.
Once you have run through your ceremony then practice your recessional one more time to complete the whole rehearsal. Again if you can practice with music for your recessional I highly recommend it so that your wedding party can get a feel for how everything will play out. After you have run through it once, you can practice one more time to feel confident or you are good to go!
Rehearsals aren’t that difficult but they are an important step in your wedding planning process. Without practice people can get confused and things can get jumbled up. I hope this cheat sheet makes you feel more confident going into your wedding rehearsal. Comment below for any further questions. We would love to help you during this exciting time in your life. Couples who read this also like our wedding day timeline.