Photo: The Kama Photography
Chances are there’s been plenty of planning and attention given to the rehearsal dinner—but what about the wedding rehearsal itself? This ceremony run-through is a pretty important event, and if you make the most of it, it could be the difference between chaos and smooth sailing.
We suggest getting the following questions covered before heading to the rehearsal dinner:
Who is in charge? First things first: make sure everyone knows who is running the show. Whether it’s a wedding planner, a venue coordinator, or a responsible family member, this person is responsible for overseeing all the ceremony logistics and will act as a point person between the officiant, bride and groom, and anyone participating in the ceremony. Wedding party members, family members, ceremony readers, and other attendants should direct all questions toward and follow all instructions from this person both during the rehearsal and on the big day itself. Clearly identifying him or her will make the ceremony run much more smoothly.
Have the ushers been provided with all pertinent information? Make sure the ushers have been properly briefed with everything they need to know, including reserved seating information, special considerations, and proper ushering etiquette. We highly suggest they brush up on our How to Usher a Wedding Ceremony article, which will give them all the information they need!
What does the wedding party lineup look like? Determine what order the bridesmaids and groomsmen will go in when they process down the aisle and stand at the altar. Make sure each wedding party member memorizes who goes directly in front of and directly behind them so there is no confusion the next day. Note to the bride: if you plan to line your bridesmaids up by height, ask them to wear their wedding day shoes to the rehearsal to ensure heel height is factored in.
What is the proper way to hold a bouquet?This may seem like a silly detail to go over, but it’s important! The bride and bridesmaids should all practice the proper way to hold a bouquet to ensure a uniform look down the aisle and at the altar—and to prevent awkward photos!
Where do the children go after the processional? If you are including flower girls, ring bearers, or other children in your wedding ceremony, they typically aren’t expected to line up at the altar with the rest of the wedding party. Instead, when they reach end of the aisle, they may join a parent in the front row or stand with an adult attendant they’re comfortable with. Either way, make sure they know exactly where to go to. Having the plan down pat will help ease any stage fright they may have.
What will the “giving away of the bride” exchange entail? When the bride and her escort reach the altar, there are several different ways the escort can present the bride to the groom. Sometimes the officiant asks the escort a question and he answers before sitting down. Sometimes the bride and the escort exchange a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Sometimes, the groom and the escort shake hands. Regardless of how you decide to approach this exchange, it’s important to make sure that the bride, groom, escort, and officiant are all on the same page.
What should the bride and groom do with their hands during the ceremony? This is another one that may seem trivial or obvious, but knowing what to do ahead of time will put everyone at ease! Traditionally, the bride will pass her bouquet to her maid of honor once she gets to the altar, and the bride and groom will join hands while they are facing one another. Not knowing what to do with your hands can feel a bit awkward and unnatural, so just make sure you have this covered during the rehearsal.
Who will be responsible for carrying the rings? The most obvious answer would be the ring bearer, but that’s not necessarily the case! In fact, some couples choose to have the ring bearer carry faux bands on his pillow, since small children and fine jewelry aren’t always the best combination. In this case, the best man is typically responsible for holding onto the rings. Make sure it’s crystal clear whose duty this is to avoid a last-minute ring hunt!
Where and when is everyone expected to be before and after the ceremony? The rehearsal is a perfect opportunity to remind the wedding party members, ushers, family members, vendors, and other “key players” exactly where they need to be on the morning of the wedding and what time they need to be there. It’s also important to determine where these same people should go immediately following the ceremony (e.g. “all immediate family members meet on the front lawn for photos”) to avoid chasing people down.