As wedding planners, the wedding rehearsal is kind of a big moment. It is often the first time you meet most of the couple’s family and, maybe more importantly, it is one of the few times that you really get to show off your expertise with everyone’s full attention! So today, we wanted to talk about how to run a wedding ceremony rehearsal to make sure that this is one first impression that you always knock out of the park!
(We know that couples come in all shapes and sizes but purely for simplicity’s sake, we are using “bride and groom” in the piece.)
Step 1: Introduce yourself to the group. (We know this sounds silly but is easy to forget to!) Let them know that you will be leading them through the rehearsal and ask for everyone’s attention since it is your goal get through everything quickly so that they can be on their way to dinner.
Step 2: Line up the entire wedding party at the front of the ceremony site. Ask the bride, MOH, and bridesmaids to line up on the left and the groom, BM, and the groomsmen to line up on the right. Ask the officiant to stand in the middle.
Step 3: Begin practicing the recessional (“Let’s hear it for Mr. + Mrs. XX!! Woooo!”) with Bride and Groom exiting down the aisle and to the back. When the couple is all the way to the end, ask the bridal party to start their exit. Begin with MOH + BM meeting at the entrance to the aisle and have them walk back, with each couple (bridesmaid and groomsman) following suit; the parents would be the last people to exit the ceremony sit . Tell the wedding party to space themselves out and give them the direction that it is their time to go when the couple in front is halfway through the rows of guests. It often works best if you partner yourself up with someone to demonstrate it before having them begin.
Instruct the group to stay in their pairings since you will be turning them right around to practice the processional.
Step 4: Begin practicing the processional. Reorder the couples (if necessary) to this order:
- Important guests
- Bridesmaid, Groomsman (repeat for as many times as necessary)
- MOH, BM
- Flower Girls
- Bride, FOB
The officiant will walk down the aisle first or he or she may enter from stage right. Next, the important guests (Mother of the Bride, Grandparents, etc.) should walk or be escorted down the aisle and shown to their seats. When the groom enters, there are a few standard choices. It is customary for him to either walk down with his parents, with the officiant or to enter from stage right; do whatever the family requests or what makes most sense at the ceremony site. Order the bridesmaids and groomsmen (paired up) in the order that corresponds with how close they will be standing to the bride and groom. The pair that is standing furthest from the bride and groom walks down the aisle first with the couple that will stand to their right following suit.
The MOH and BM are the last of the wedding party to walk down the aisle with the ringbearers and flower girls following behind. When the bride and FOB (or whomever is walking her down the aisle) reach the top of the aisle, father will shake hands/hug groom, then bride, then join their hands together before taking his take seat.
Step 5: Ask the Officiant to begin a practice run-through of the ceremony.
Step 6: Repeat recessional, processional if necessary.
We know that are lots of ways to run a wedding ceremony rehearsal and we’d love to hear how you do it! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!