The entire point of a wedding rehearsal is to ensure the ceremony is organized and everything runs smoothly on the big day, so how then do you make sure you have an effective wedding rehearsal? Below is the guide to an effective wedding rehearsal you’ve been waiting for. Follow these tips for a faster and more fun rehearsal that will have your wedding party thanking you.
Choose Who’s in Boss
You will need someone who can run point on who stands where and who walks when. It certainly can’t be you or anyone else who is actually in the ceremony, so choosing someone you trust and who can be there for you on the real day is important. A friend or family member can be a great option when you have none, but to ensure that all your loved ones can just relax and enjoy your event, having a wedding planner or event coordinator is a much better option. It can help everything run just a little bit more effectively since they are experienced professionals and have probably already done this a time or two. PRO-TIP: Some wedding chapel venues, like Vintage Gardens Wedding Chapel & Event Center, offer the services of a qualified event coordinator with the reservation of the venue or ceremony package.
Skip the Processional
I know, I know, the whole point of the rehearsal is learning how to walk in and out, but consider this: how does your wedding party know where to go if they just start walking aimlessly down the aisle? Who stands where? Starting right in the middle of the action will help everyone remember where everyone needs to go when the time comes. It will also greatly help in preparing the visual of your ceremony for photographs. Spend time figuring out who looks best standing where, and go from there. PRO-TIP: Make sure your wedding party is spaced evenly apart, slightly angled toward your audience, and standing at a curve with your Maid of Honor closest inward toward the bride and the last bridesmaid closer to the guests. Also make sure everyone holds their flowers in the same place, in front of their lower abdomen. This formation looks best in photographs.
Cover the Highlights
No one wants to sit through the entire ceremony during the rehearsal, you know, to not spoil the magic of hearing it for the first time and all that. However, you do still need everyone to know what order the ceremony is in so that everyone is prepared. Make an outline of your ceremony including all the readings or special ceremonies you have planned and simply call them out in order to make everyone aware of exactly how the ceremony will unfold. For special ceremonies that involve props like candles or sand, double check to make sure that everything will be on site on the big day if it isn’t already. PRO-TIP: No matter what, never have your back turned to the crowd, or your photographer! If you need to move around for something special, make sure you try to face forward as much as possible so everyone can see the joy on your face.
“You may now kiss the bride,” and exit without trampling each other. During the real event, people from their seats will be standing, grabbing, and trying to take photos of you and your wedding party, which can make things chaotic as everyone exits. You will exit in order of: newly weds, wedding party in pairs, flower girl and ring bearer, and then immediate family, but before anyone moves, everyone should know how far apart they need to be from each other to avoid a bridal pileup. PRO-TIP: 20 feet is actually a great distance to stand apart. It allows ideal distance for easy exits, and plenty of space for great photographs between couples.
Now that you’ve walked out and everyone is standing in the back, it’s the perfect time to turn around and walk back in! Everyone already knows where to stand so this part should be super easy. Determine whether your bridesmaids will walk alone or with the groomsmen and then line up. Your officiant will enter first along with the groom (if your bridesmaids are walking alone, your groomsmen will also enter here), followed by immediate family. Next your bridesmaids will walk, unaccompanied or not, followed by the Maid of Honor and the flower girl. Lastly, once everyone is in place, the bride will make her grand entrance. PRO-TIP: Follow the same practice in terms of equal distance as the recessional to allow enough space between people for photos. Practicing the processional last will allow you to go right into…
This is the moment the bride’s escort will hand her off to the groom in the final sign of giving her over to be with her groom; this is usually done by the bride’s father or someone who is important to the her. Traditionally, the escort will kiss the bride and shake the hand of the groom before taking a seat. This is the time when the bride will pass her bouquet to her Maid of Honor and take her place facing the groom.
Take it from the Top
Don’t force everyone to walk up and down the aisle all day long, but build a little muscle memory for the big day by running through at least your processional and recessional two or three times to ensure that no one forgets the most important parts, order and distance. Once you get going you will be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly a rehearsal can go if everyone stays focused and motivated on the task at hand.
If you’re looking to plan a wedding, give one of our wedding event coordinators a call at 586.930.5400 to make an appointment to view Metro Detroit’s premier wedding chapel. Your dream wedding is just a phone call away.