Who should be at the wedding ceremony rehearsal?

Posted by in Auckland Celebrant Blog, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding Ceremony Tips

Who should be at the wedding ceremony rehearsal?

A common question that couples have often asked me over the years is “who should be at the wedding ceremony rehearsal?” Or the other question I get asked is “do I need to have a wedding ceremony rehearsal?”  I thought I would share my thoughts on wedding rehearsals because how couples choose to answer those questions can have massive consequences for their wedding day.

Do I need to have a wedding ceremony rehearsal?

The short answer is, I believe the wedding ceremony rehearsal is absolutely vital because on your wedding day, you have every chance of the ceremony running perfect and without a hitch. Why? Because you had a practice run through BEFORE your big day. So during the ceremony, you don’t have to focus on “who stands where”, and “what happens when”. It’s the old saying “practice makes perfect!” It’s the couple’s choice whether or not to have a wedding ceremony rehearsal. My advice from many years of being a wedding celebrant is, couples who choose to have a rehearsal tend to be more relaxed, and the wedding ceremony is much more likely to run smoother.

Now long distances to the wedding venue may mean it’s not practical for the couple to go all that way for the rehearsal. Don’t worry, the wedding rehearsal can still happen! I either hold the rehearsal in my garden at home, or we can do it at a location that suits, so the rehearsal takes place. A good tip in this situation is: know the approximate aisle length at the wedding venue so ground markers can be set up for the rehearsal run through. This is a great way for couples to gauge ceremony timings more accurately. 

Who should be at the wedding ceremony rehearsal?

Whoever has a part to play in the wedding ceremony needs to be present at the wedding ceremony rehearsal. That means everyone including those who are walking down the aisle, or doing a reading or performance, etc. In saying that though, if someone is coming can’t make the rehearsal, that’s absolutely fine. So long as the majority of your wedding party is present the absent person can easily be filled in later on what they need to do. The rehearsal will prepare everyone in your wedding party so the ceremony runs without a hitch on your wedding day.

What happens at the wedding ceremony rehearsal?

It’s imperative that the bridesmaids know the exact point they need to enter, how fast (or slow) to walk down the aisle. When they reach the Celebrant they need to know the correct position to stand so they are mirroring the groomsmen. The rehearsal is the opportunity to ensure the wedding music is the correct length for the Bridesmaids and the Bride entrances. Cues in the music are the perfect and each way for timing each person’s entrance.

The Bride will practice the entrance on the arm of Dad/person walking her down the aisle, and moving into position facing the Groom once reaching the wedding celebrant.

Once the wedding party is all together, we run through the key parts of the ceremony. This includes the requirement of the vows, the wedding ring exchange, signing of the Marriage License, plus positions for anyone giving a reading or for any other rituals i.e. sand, candle lighting, etc. During the rehearsal, I go through the signing of the Marriage License with the couple and their witnesses (if they are present.)

We run through the conclusion of the ceremony where I introduce the couple to their guests. The couple links arms, and followed by the wedding party, all walk down the aisle to music.

How long does a wedding ceremony rehearsal take?

It’s really not necessary to have a full run through of every word in the ceremony rehearsal. Instead, I just talk through the ceremony allowing the wedding party to focus on practicing their own entrances and positions. The key to a successful wedding rehearsal is for the wedding party to practice enough so that everyone involved is confident in what they need to do, and when.

If you are planning your wedding and would like to talk about how to bring your ceremony vision to life then please get in touch with me – I would love to hear from you.

Glenys xx

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