Wedding Rehearsals – Do You Need One?
Ask pretty much any wedding Celebrant if you need a rehearsal and you’ll get one of the following answers:
- Hell yes
- Hell no
My answer is firmly in the Number 3 camp. Some celebrants will do all they can to avoid rehearsals, some will insist on them, I am happy to do or not do them. Some of my reasons why I think rehearsals can be helpful are listed below.
When a Rehearsal Can Be Helpful
If you don’t like surprises: If you’re the kind of person who likes things to be very organised and orderly, then a rehearsal can be a must.
When you have a parent or friend who is ‘being overly helpful’ (also known as interfering): Invite them to your rehearsal so they can see it’s all under control.
When you’re are worried about nerves: A rehearsal can help dissipate any nerves on the day; the rehearsal will help you work through all eventualities and help reduce any anxieties or nerves.
When you’ve not seen the venue, or you’re unsure on how the lay-out will work for the ceremony.
Things to Consider in Lieu of a Rehearsal
- If you’re having a ceremony which is with one partner standing up the front awaiting the arrival of the other partner down the aisle, what order would you like their attendants to stand?
- If you have specific seating for family or friends, please make sure this is known, either by providing instructions to the venue or your Celebrant to make an announcement, providing venue with reserved signs or by allocating someone who is familiar with these guests to look after this.
- How will the processional occur? Will it be traditional, both partners entering together, partners entering from different parts of the venue, etc?
- Bridal/grooms party entrance: decide which order they will enter and check that piece of chosen music is long enough.
- What part of the song does the bride(s) or groom(s) enter?
- When entering, feel free to walk as naturally as possible – no need to do a ‘step – stop – step – stop’ type walk.
- If you wish to do things traditionally, the Father of the Bride stands on the right hand side of the bride as he walks her down the aisle.
- If a Bride is being walked down the aisle with Father of the Bride/parents/friend etc, give instructions on what you would like them to do when they arrive. Do you want them to give you a kiss? Do you want them to shake hands with their partner? Let them know so they don’t feel awkward at this point.
- If you have flowers, decide whether you’d like to hold onto them until the exchange of vows, whether you’d like one of your attendants to hold them, or if you’d like them put on the signing table. It’s worth considering how heavy your flowers may be as this may dictate whether your attendant will hold onto them or if they should be laid on the signing table.
- Decide if you’d like attendants to stand for the whole of the ceremony. If you would like them to take a seat after your Celebrant has done a welcome, they can then come back and join you before the recessional.
- After you’ve had your kiss, do you want to walk down the aisle? An alternative is inviting your guests to join you up in the ceremony area, or going straight into a first dance.
- If you are walking down the aisle, where are you walking to? Quite often the couple will get down the end of the aisle and realise they’re not too sure where to go, so make sure you think about this part of the ceremony. Would you like guests to follow you to an area where drinks will be waiting? Do you want to go and have five minutes, just the two of you, before joining your guests who will have mingled by then?
Who Needs to Be There
In all honesty, I’ve done rehearsals where there’s been only the couple, and others where half the wedding party are there. The more people there are, the more chaotic it will be (trust me on this one!), but equally it can be great fun to get everyone together in the lead up to the wedding.
You Can Rehearse Anywhere
Sometimes it’s just not practical to rehearse at the venue, so a park, a backyard, in fact, any decent sized space, will work for a rehearsal.
Let Me Know
I always try to accommodate rehearsals at the place and time that works for you. However, give me notice and a few options as I will need to work them in around other weddings or meetings with couples.