Do you want to set yourself up for wedding rehearsal success in the first go around? Wedding rehearsals can literally be one of the scariest experiences for a new wedding planner. They involve a lot of pre-planning and talking to a bunch of people who are complete strangers. If you’re an extrovert, then this is no problem, but if you’re an introvert, like me, then it can add a certain extra heart-palpitating anxiety to the mix.
Wedding Rehearsal Success
That’s why if you want to have a successful wedding rehearsal, you need to have a system down. Today, I’m going to share with you 6 ways you can start to feel more confident about your wedding rehearsals.
#1 Have a Worksheet
Before you direct a rehearsal, you should create a plan of action ahead of time. I call it my “ceremony details worksheet.” This is an outline of who will be walking when and where. I know exactly how I want to line up the wedding party weeks before I ever show up at the altar to practice it. This sheet makes me feel a million times more confident when I’m surrounded by unfamiliar people who are looking at me for direction. Part of this preparation is sending my clients a Client Worksheet 60 days before the wedding. This worksheet goes over who is in their bridal party and who they should be paired with. I then use that sheet to create my outline. This sheet is one of the best ways to set yourself up for wedding rehearsal success. If you are a visual person, you might want to consider creating a document that is in layout form.
#2 Make the Intros
The very first thing I do when directing a wedding rehearsal is speak with the officiant. I ask him or her how they would like to conduct the rehearsal and what type of role I should play. This is the polite and respectful thing to do. I will then make the introductions to the wedding party and explain the process. I find that when a group of people know the full agenda ahead of time, things seem to go a lot faster because there is an end goal in mind.
#3 Put the Bridal Party in Place
Once inductions are made, I will then line up the bridal party at the altar. I will also tell special guests where to sit. Since we are at the altar, the officiant will usually conduct the practice ceremony at this time.
#4 Direct Them to Recess
Once the officiant finishes the ceremony script, I will then direct the bridal party to recess. If they are walking in as pairs, this is a helpful exercise. They will get an idea as to who they will be walking with down the aisle. During this time I also tell them where their landmark cues are, which is usually the center of the aisle. When they hit the center of the chairs, the next bridal party members can go. I tell them that I want the bride and groom to get all the way down the aisle before their best man and maid of honor start to ascend.
#5 Line Up Honored Guests
Now that we are at the back of the church, I will add the honored guests (i.e., parents and grandparents) to the lineup. We will go over landmark cues and music cues. For example, I could say something like, “don’t go until the person in front of you has reached the first pew at the back.” This way I don’t have to be right there telling them when to go. If I need to be with the bride, I’m able to. There are a million and one ways to direct a rehearsal, but whether the bridal party is paired or separate will determine how you run it. Most of the time the honored guests will walk during the last song of the prelude. If you need more assistance with directing the ceremony rehearsal, consider downloading our Ceremony Wedding Planner Kit. It will walk you through each step.
Now that everyone knows their part and when and where to walk, go ahead and practice it a few times. You want to make sure everyone feels super comfortable.
Last Words on Wedding Rehearsal Success
When it comes to making a wedding rehearsal successful, you want to think “get in, get out.” If you’re at church, most of the time you’ll only have an hour to practice. This is not a lot of time, so you need to go in with a plan of action. At the very end of the rehearsal, I like to give the wedding party a rundown of the timeline to ensure they know where and when they need to be early the next morning. If you’re organized, a rehearsal is easy breezy, even for the shy.