Learning how to run a wedding ceremony rehearsal is a vital part of your wedding planner career. It needs to be timely, effective and somewhat fun. So, how do you do a wedding rehearsal? Today we have Renee from Rustic to Ritz Events popping over to give us some great pointers on running a rehearsal.
How to Run a Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal
You are planning a wedding. The wedding of the couple takes place during the ceremony. Unfortunately, throughout the course of a long wedding day or weekend, the actual ceremony is often forgettable because it pales in comparison to the glorious celebration of the reception.
#1 Understanding the Importance
It is up to the planner to guide the bride and groom to give some thought to the ceremony, to add some personalization to the ceremony, and to prepare to rehearse the ceremony. The tone of the ceremony will be set with music, and people can say so much about their life and their love through the music they choose.
#2 Ceremony Music Play a Big Part
I’ve told my couples that they are writing the soundtrack to their day, and the ceremony is the apex of the day. Dear planner, you are directing the rehearsal, and the music is the key. Be prepared. Know those songs. Print out the lyrics (if there are lyrics) to all processional and ceremony songs. For activities with a music backdrop, plan each part of the song. For the processional, assign a point in the music for the entrance of each participant. Take a photo of the lyrics with the entrances marked, and then text that photo to everyone participating during the song. They will lose a piece of paper, but I guarantee that they will have their phones. Have the music on a Spotify playlist, and bring a Bluetooth speaker so that you can play the music from your phone.
#3 Directing the Ceremony Rehearsal
Talk to the officiant. Decide who will run the rehearsal. Work together. There are many officiants who do not attend the rehearsal, so it is up to you. Especially if you are new to running the rehearsal, don’t just wing it! Have a plan! Be ready to rehearse.
Start with the bride and groom while others are still gathering. Stand in the spots where they will be for the wedding. Talk them through the ceremony. If there is movement during the ceremony, rehearse those moves so that they are smooth. Do they have a unity candle? Do they sit down? What religious elements have been included? Walk them through each movement so that they will be as comfortable as possible when the nerves kick in.
Gather the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Place the wedding party in their wedding spots and rehearse the recessional first. The attendants will naturally be in line ready to rehearse the processional. Rehearse each processional song: grandparents, parents, men, bridesmaids, flower girl(s), ring bearer(s), bride and father (or special person). The beauty of the event will grow if everyone is confident in their roles.
Help the dad. Not all fathers-of-the-bride are nervous, but I would guess that many are. My dad talked to me the entire way down the aisle because he just didn’t know what else to do! Walk with the bride and dad for the first time through. Give them a good tempo for the movement to the processional song. Remind him of the things he needs to do when they reach the officiant. Is he lifting a veil? Is he taking a rose from the bouquet to the mother? Is he saying anything? Rehearse each piece, then remind him not to step on the bridal train when going to his seat!
#4 Keep Time In Mind
A typical ceremony lasts for approximately 20 to 40 minutes depending upon the number of elements or songs during the ceremony. The rehearsal should not last more than one hour. You will lose their attention if it is longer than that. If there are musicians who need to rehearse, keep that separate. Have the musicians meet one hour or so before the rehearsal begins.
You are the director of the rehearsal. Be fun yet firm. If you allow the groomsmen to goof off throughout, the rehearsal will take twice as long, and they will not be prepared for the wedding. Get them ready. They will thank you tomorrow.
Renee Peterson is a Business and Event Manager for Rustic to Ritz Events in Savannah, Georgia. Renee brings her expertise from the worlds of education and theatre to the wedding industry. Be sure to follow her blog for more great tips.