Why bother having a rehearsal?
Updated: Jan 27
Many couples often ask this question as they feel it could be a waste of time when there is so much to be done elsewhere.
A rehearsal is an opportunity to make everything absolutely seamless on the day – a chance to figure out any uncertainties about where to stand, when to start the music, practice the readings and so on.
If these important issues are dealt with up front it takes a lot of stress away from the bridal party and anyone else who is involved in the ceremony, and will take an average wedding to an excellent wedding.
Your celebrant should always offer a rehearsal, usually about one week before the wedding day and allow at least an hour, venues expect this and are very amenable.
A celebrant isn't just about saying the legal words that legally marry you – weddings are expensive and the choreography of the bridal party plays a large role in commanding the audience. After all they are there to see you marry, so efforts must be made so they don't miss it.
If the bridal party doesn't know what they are doing, then guests are likely to lose focus or worse get up and walk off if they sense it is over - the signing of the marriage certificate is a perfect example of when you can 'lose the guests'. Whilst the celebrant, the bride and groom are busy it is the positioning of the remaining bridal party that are essential to communicate to the guests that the ceremony is still in progress.
It is important for all bridal party members to attend the rehearsal, as well as the bride and groom's parents, don't underestimate the impact of your bridal party understanding their role in your wedding. Every wedding I have conducted the bride and bridal party has always said how grateful they for the rehearsal and how much pressure was lifted on the day allowing them to enjoy the present moment. Note: if some of the bridal party cannot make the rehearsal make sure your celebrate arrives super early to run through the days proceedings for those can could not make it and to refresh the others before the real thing.
Try to organise the timing around the actual time of the wedding, so that the angle of the sun can be considered and this will be vital to where the bridal party should stand – you don't want to be left standing there squinting on the day!
Taking the time to have a proper rehearsal will save precious moments and nerves on your special day! Its the celebrant's responsibility to make sure the choreography is correct and a rehearsal will ensure that the ambience is perfect.
My final tip would be don't try anything that is not already familiar to you. If the groom and the father of the bride or not 'huggers' in daily life, a hug at the wedding when handing over his daughter will not only feel awkward for them, the guest will cringe too. Keep it real, keep it natural. Be you.
A rehearsal is a practice run of you, being you on your big day.