Why have a wedding rehearsal?
When you bring together a group of different people with different roles in a random place with a set of variable factors (weather, timing, noise, little children, maybe even pets), anything can happen! A rehearsal happens the evening or two days before (maximum) and is a time for the bridal party and their families (and others who are actively involved in the ceremony) to get together, perhaps even meet each other for the first time.
A wedding rehearsal provides solid framework for your wedding day and with preparation, your wedding party will understand the flow of the ceremony. Everyone involved in the wedding party can then enjoy the real ceremony without worrying where they should be standing, what they should be doing or saying or wondering what is going to happen next and relieves the bridal couple of as many nerves as possible.
Irons out technical issues: Test and co-ordinate the music programme, practice the readings, decide on the format of arrivals / departures / signing documentation and work through other sections of the ceremony, particularly the exchange of vows and rings (without giving too much away what will be said on the day), and even the timing of the kiss!
Boosts confidence: An informal run-through helps everyone – but particularly the bride and groom.
A rehearsal can be fun! The bridal couple come together with their most loved friends and family in a relaxed situation to put the final touches to their special day… and what could be better than that! A rehearsal should be something to look forward to. It’s a lovely part of the joyous process of wedding planning that helps consolidate the hopes and dreams of the bridal couple.
Who should be there? In an ideal world, the whole wedding party would attend the rehearsal but sometimes this just doesn’t work for some folk. If attendants can’t all attend, appointment one person from each side of the couple, to pass on the information to the rest of the party and give them their cues. It’s also a good idea to get the little kids familiar with the ceremony venue. They already feel important to be part of the ceremony, so let them practice the walk in, being the ring bearer, scatter confetti/petals (on entry and/or departure). I always suggest that the person in charge of your music attend the rehearsal to have a run-through on timing (and the right songs).
Do you need to have the rehearsal at the wedding venue? Preferably yes, but if that just isn’t possible, a rehearsal can be held in a home/garden environment and use some props to provide authenticity. Even better, if the rehearsal can be held around the same time as the actual ceremony. But ideally, it should be done at the venue at approximately the same time of day as the actual ceremony.
How long should it take? The full scripted ceremony does not need to be enacted at a wedding rehearsal rather it is can be seen as an opportunity to have a run-through in a relaxed opportunity to discuss what happens when and where, and resolve any outstanding issues.
Finally, a word of advice, leave just a bit of room for some spontaneity on the day after all, often the things that don’t go to plan become the most memorable! And, as I always assure, my bridal couples, I always have their backs on the day!