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Before the actual day of your wedding, there are many things that a bride and groom need to attend to. Aside from months of planning and picking dresses, you need to consider the rehearsal.
If you’re having a small wedding with no special traditions or customs, you may skip the rehearsal. However, if you’re having a large and formal wedding, you may need to have a run-through of the ceremony.
What is a wedding rehearsal, you ask? In this article, we give you some tips on how to plan a wedding rehearsal. Read on to discover more!
What is a Wedding Rehearsal
A wedding rehearsal refers to a practice or dry-run of the wedding ceremonies. Most couples host their rehearsals the day before the actual wedding. The recommended amount of time to spend on a wedding rehearsal is 30 to 40 minutes. At D’Vine Grace, we give you a full hour of access to your ceremony site in order to give you ample time to complete your rehearsal!
Even if you think you have everything in order, a wedding rehearsal could be beneficial. This helps you work out kinks and practice blocking. It can help your attendees practice where to walk and where to go after the ceremony.
Many couples make last-minute changes during a wedding rehearsal. You can change the processional order or move the altar for better lighting. Doing these ahead of time will allow you to save time and stress during the actual ceremony.
Who Should You Invite?
Your guest list for the wedding rehearsal should include your immediate family and wedding party members – anyone who is part of the ceremony in any way! You can also invite the children and their parents to help them understand their places during the wedding. You can extend your invitation to friends as a symbol of gratitude for their presence. If your guests are coming from out of town, inviting them to your wedding rehearsal is a good way to show your thanks, but we do recommend keeping it small to avoid excess noise and distractions when practicing your run-through of the ceremony!
To make the process easier, we highly recommend hiring a wedding coordinator who can walk you through the necessary steps. They can help you polish any rough edges to make your wedding night perfect, and are a fabulous resource to have at your rehearsal!
How to Run Through the Wedding Rehearsal
When running a rehearsal, there are some steps you need to consider. Here are some wedding rehearsal tips to help you make the most of your time.
Start in the Middle
The first thing you should practice during your wedding rehearsal is your position. Instead of starting with the processional, let everyone know where they should be standing during the ceremony. You must also consider your initial position before you practice walking in and out.
If you’re wearing heels, we recommend that you practice walking in them. If your venue is on grass, sand, or uneven ground, this will serve as good practice. Understand the standard positions of the attendees, parents, and the officiant.
Make sure to have even spacing between your wedding guests. They must also position themselves at a slight angle, looking more forward.
After practicing your positions, speak through the ceremony headings. You may use the ceremony draft as a guide. Read the headings aloud to help everyone understand the order of the ceremony.
You may save the vows and specifics for the actual wedding day. Take note of any ceremony readings. Inform your guests of other important events like the presentation of the rings. Double-check the items required for the ceremony.
The next step to a wedding rehearsal is the recessional. During this part, pretend the ceremony had finished, and you are now walking out. You may start with the presentation of the couple or the kiss before moving to the exit.
The Maid of Honor must give the bride her bouquet. The bride will then exit with the groom. Members of the wedding party often exist in pairs, even if they first entered alone. Ensure that each couple leaves enough room for the other pair in front and behind them. Have a set distance and inform each member of the party. The rule of thumb is to leave at least 20 feet of space between each pair for the photographer.
The Ring Bearer usually goes back down the aisle with the Flower Girl. Then, parents and grandparents will follow, should you choose to have them exit during the recessional as well. Oftentimes, the officiant will make an announcement following the bridal party’s exit, asking the immediate family to stay seated for photos while the guests exit the ceremony location and make their way to cocktail hour. This allows the photographer to get started right away with family portraits without having to wrangle the family for those pictures!
Practice the Processional
Once everyone knows their assigned positions, you may now practice the processional. Allow everyone to line up in the order of their entry. You can use the ceremony draft as a guide.
The officiant and groom are typically first in the order, but there are many variations of this and can be tailored to your family and party! Next, the grandparents will follow, along with the groom’s parents and the mother of the bride. Usually, they go up the aisle. However, they may also choose to enter through the side of the venue.
The bridesmaids will follow, along with the Flower Girl and Maid of Honor. As with the recessional, agree on a set distance between each person. The bride and her escort will not enter until the rest of the wedding party is in place. In most wedding ceremonies, the bride has a separate musical piece.
Conclude the wedding rehearsal with the hand-off. This is when the bride and her escort enter the processional to meet the officiant and groom. Often, if the escort is the bride’s parent, they must congratulate or kiss her.
The escort will shake the groom’s hand. The bride gives her bouquet to the Maid of Honor and joins the groom. From here, the bride and groom stand in front of the officiant while facing each other.
Plan Your Wedding Rehearsal Now
So, what is a wedding rehearsal? A wedding rehearsal can help you polish and clean up your ceremony. Now that you know how to plan a wedding rehearsal use these tips to perfect your wedding day!
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