A wedding rehearsal is a must for those couples who are planning to have a big wedding or a ceremony in an unknown location. But if you feel nervous and unconfident, it doesn’t matter how large or small your wedding ceremony will be – you can have a rehearsal anyway, it will help you feel a lot less stressed. But first of all, you should understand what you need a wedding rehearsal for, otherwise, it’s just a waste of time. So, we’ve chosen for you the main issues and activities of a wedding rehearsal.
A wedding rehearsal is not just walking back and forth down the aisle – though, of course, you’ll do a lot of that – but it’s a great chance to make a trial of other wedding activities and get used to this particular venue. After the rehearsal, you should feel confident and organized, you should study the location to know what’s where, and your guests should understand the schedule and their responsibilities.
So, here are a few things you absolutely need to do during your wedding rehearsal.
Go through the official part of the ceremony with your wedding officiant
Invite your officiant to the rehearsal, and ask this person to come a bit earlier so that you could talk to him/her and plan the official part of your wedding. If you have a specific plan for the officiant (for example, you want them to announce the start of the ceremony or make a speech), this is the best time to talk it through and make sure the officiant understands his or her role and knows the schedule. Also, you can introduce the officiant to other vendors so that they knew each other and could communicate during the ceremony without involving you.
Determine your wedding timeline
Make a rehearsal of the official part of the wedding ceremony at least once. You don’t have to read your vows and do each little thing – this is just a rehearsal. But talk about such details as exchanging the rings (who brings them, if there will be a ring boy, how you would take the ring, etc), a unity ceremony (if you’re planning one), and so on. You have to understand how much time the wedding ceremony will last, what activities it includes, who does what (when and how), and what’s your timeline.
The timeline is very important – your marriage ceremony must be short (ideally, from 15 to 90 minutes) and go smooth and easy. A well-organized wedding is the least stressful.
By the way, at a wedding rehearsal, you can hand out the hard copies of your wedding schedule to the guests. Even if you’ve already sent them e-versions, offer printed ones, too. This way, you will be more sure that they read it and know the timeline. Add to these copies any other useful info, like the addresses of wedding locations (including photoshoot locations), contact info of the venue and hotels, info about available parking places, etc.
Go over final details with wedding planner or venue coordinator
The day of the wedding rehearsal is your last chance to change anything and clarify all the details about the future event. Meet with your planner or wedding venue manager and talk through all of the final details. Make sure you understand each other and take care of the last-minute changes.
With the venue coordinator, talk money, discuss any changes, talk about rentals and things you need to store at the venue overnight, and ask them if they have all the info about the future wedding and your contact information. The venue manager has more experience in organizing weddings, so they will most probably lead the way and help you with clarifying the final details.
Also, talk with your bridal party and clarify all the issues, tell them about any changes in the plan, etc.
Another useful piece of advice is to give your wedding planner the envelope with tips for the vendors so that you didn’t have to deal with money on your wedding day. The planner will do all of that for you, but you have to provide the money for that beforehand.
Make a run of the wedding 2-3 times
During a rehearsal, you have to see how the ceremony looks like as a whole, who stands where, how fast or slow the bride needs to go down the aisle, how long the music has to last, and so on. For everyone to understand their responsibilities and do them properly, you have to make a few runs. The first run will be the slowest and there could be misunderstandings and confusion – it’s normal. The next 1 or 2 runs will be more organized and smooth. It’s like when you’re doing a rehearsal of a show, stage play, or dance.
If your parents or grandparents are supposed to actively participate in the ceremony, make a rehearsal of their emergence as well.
Take a few photos of the wedding rehearsal to see how it all looks like and catch sight of any mistakes. For instance, it’s always useful to see how the groomsmen and bridesmaids stand, if anyone stands out and ruins the picture, if the crowd looks in harmony.
The wedding rehearsal is the time to practice. So, use this chance.