The importance of rehearsals
Here is a rough outline for a traditional 5-part Ceremony, that I give to all my couples to help them get a feel for what to expect.
Are you walking down the aisle to your groom?
If so, who is walking you, are you having an ‘who gives this woman’ in your ceremony?
Do you want the officiant to walk down the aisle, or to be waiting at the altar?
What are the groom’s duties en route to the altar?
Are the ushers/groomsmen/groom having to seat anyone? Mothers?
Where will your flower girl/ring bearer go once they reach the altar?
Are there to be readings, poems, presentations, if so by whom, to whom and when?
Do I know your plans?
About the Rehearsal:
Everyone should make an effort to be at the rehearsal. It gives you an idea of what the actual space will allow you to do. For instance if your dress has a train that is several feet long, the spacing needs to be adjusted so that no-one stands on it. If the bridesmaids have big gown skirting, there needs to be enough space at the altar that allows them to stand without crushing each other. If you have standing room for 6 at the altar, don’t plan on 12 in the wedding party!
If you know that someone cannot attend the rehearsal, appoint a stand-in who will participate in the rehearsal and get them to take notes and pass them on to the person taking part in the ceremony. That way, you don’t have that one lost person on the big day.
If you have decided not to hire a wedding coordinator, nominate a member of your family who is NOT in the processional to stand with the bridal party and cue them to move down the aisle at the appropriate times. It’s a good idea to include this person in the rehearsals also.
Bring things with you like fake bouquets, the candles [positioning to not set your hair alight is a good thing] That way you can see what it feels like to try and hold flowers, your dress, the rings, your loved one’s hand and light a candle and speak vows all at the same time.
It’s much less scary if a child is kept informed of when, how and why. That way they know what they are supposed to do, they can get it wrong the first time and there should be no last minute nerves.
Every single rehearsal includes a person that is late. Bank on it, and if you know who it is likely to be, tell them to arrive 15 minutes earlier than the actual time.
Take Care of Yourself:
Eat, sleep, drink plenty of water, don’t have vast amounts of alcohol the day before. The pictures will show you being tired and stressed, so we need you relaxed.
General Pre-Rehearsal Instructions:
Make sure everyone knows everyone else.
Introduce the bridal party to the Officiant.
Go through everything at least once or twice.
Provide snacks and drinks if the rehearsal is an hour or more inclusive of travel time. [little bottles of water and snack packs work well]