Don’t underestimate the value of a wedding rehearsal!
If I can give you once piece of advice through this whole wedding planning process, it would be to have a rehearsal of your wedding ceremony. Why? Because beautiful ceremonies don’t just happen, and it’s also your chance to have a run through the ceremony before your actual BIG day. It may seem like added stress and just one more thing you have to organise for your wedding, but the rehearsal will actually help to ease the stress and set you up for an awesome ceremony.
Your ceremony is the beginning of the most wonderful day of your life. It sets the tone for the entire day; it is the smile on their face, the lump in their throat, the look that takes their breath away as they see you coming down the aisle. A wedding rehearsal will not take away the magic on the actual day, but it will relieve you of as many nerves as possible.
If I could give a dollar for every bride and groom that have told me how much more relaxed, they feel after the rehearsal, I would be a wealthy woman!
Unfortunately, actions may appear cautious, awkward or careless; romantic words or gestures can easily be overlooked or bypassed because it is unclear when and how to proceed. The day of the wedding, nerves and emotions are at their peak and so many things are going on; this is not the time to leave things to chance. I mean, if you are having a small wedding, with few or no bridal party attendants, or you don’t have any special rituals or customs, then perhaps it really isn’t necessary, and I would give you a leave pass in this instance.
However, if you’re wedding is larger, has bridal party attendants, more guests and rituals, then I 100% recommend setting aside 45-60 minutes for a rehearsal with your celebrant. You want to know you’re feeling confident when the processional (that’s when you walk in), and that everyone knows where they are heading, what order to go in, where to stand and how long they have with the music. Its is perfectly piece of timed choreography that a great celebrant with experience can guide you through.
To be honest, without some sort of clear direction, the ceremony can come across as looking chaotic if it is not choreographed right. It can come down to the finer details too, like how the groomsmen hold their hands, as well as the height at which the bride and bridesmaids should carry their bouquets in order to look great in the photos.
Your wedding rehearsal isn’t there to practice your wording, it is there to stage your ceremony as if it were a theatre production. Your celebrant should also run through every element of the ceremony, from ushering guests through to the recessional (that’s when you walk out) and every element of the ceremony in between. If you are comfortable with what you are doing, then you are going to have a more relaxed day and able to enjoy this wonderful time in your life.
So, who should be at the rehearsal?
Anyone who is participating in your ceremony should be there. Both of you of course, and the full wedding party, witnesses, readers, parents (especially if they are walking you in) and who is running the music (if you don’t have a DJ). Most experienced celebrants will have their own PA system that they could bring to the rehearsal and run the music through this for the rehearsal if you ask them to.
If you have small children playing a role on the day, the rehearsal is a perfect time to familiarise them with the venue, and what they will be doing on the day. You can show them where Nana and Pop, or Aunty Jo will be sitting, so they can go there once they are done with walking down the aisle, and it’s not as scary for them then on the actual day.
It is also a great chance for your reader to have a practice of reading out loud with a microphone, and where they are going to stand on the day, and not blocking you out from the photographer!
When should you have a wedding rehearsal?
If possible, try and avoid scheduling a rehearsal right after work. If your wedding party has to fight rush hour traffic, you can almost guarantee the rehearsal will not start on time.
Rehearsals on weekends or holidays are also difficult as wedding professionals may have other weddings booked at that time.
However, the closer you can have the rehearsal to the wedding day the better, as it will stay fresh in everyone’s minds.