The day before the BIG DAY has arrived and wedding festivities have officially begun! Excited groups of close friends and family from both sides are assembling…possibly for the first time ever!
Although this dynamic is exciting and fun, it can also be overwhelming. When does the couple get to start enjoying their experience? You’ve already done the hard part: planning everything and getting everyone here.
So now what? Who’s running this thing?
My simple answer is: NOT YOU!
Have Some Help
In my biased opinion, the ideal person to run the rehearsal is your wedding planner or day-of coordinator.
As a day-of coordinator, I feel like my true value is revealed at the rehearsal. Having a neutral person to get everyone’s attention and (ever so nicely) take charge is invaluable. Also, your planner/coordinator will have initiated detailed conversations about the ceremony with you and be able to confidently take the lead.
There may be other options for “take charge” types in your network of vendors, but it is crucial to discuss the rehearsal expectations with these parties ahead of time. Some officiants are very involved due to specifics of the ceremony or a special relationship with the couple.
One of my favorite rehearsals was run by the couple’s longtime pastor. I was there to support him logistically and we worked great together. However, your officiant may not be present for your rehearsal (make sure to ask!). If this isn’t part of their services, don’t panic! As long as you’ve discussed the details they require, many officiants can step in seamlessly the day of.
Additionally, don’t assume your venue coordinator, no matter how hands-on they have been, will be running the rehearsal. Although they assume responsibility for many important aspects, they may only be present at the rehearsal to unlock the door and keep you on time. Again, make sure to ask and decide exactly who is running point beforehand!
If running the rehearsal ends up falling in your lap, see if you can get help. Maybe someone who isn’t in the wedding party (but will be there anyway) such as a trust spouse from one of the bridal party members.
Remember, relying on a non-professional or family member can be risky. Make sure it is someone reliable you can communicate with beforehand.
Whoever you end up planning your ceremony and rehearsal with, here are a few key items to establish before and during!
There are so many options for walking down the aisle. Research a few variations to see what best fits your desired look and feel.
Don’t forget about grandparents and special aunts and uncles. Are they part of the procession or will they be seated prior to the ceremony? Pay special attention to flower girls and ring bearers to make sure they feel comfortable (and their parents feel comfortable…they will be nervous too). Most importantly have processional/recessional order decided beforehand!
Visual and Audio Cues
Empower your wedding party by establishing visual cues and pacing instructions (“start your walk when the couple in front of you gets to this tree,” etc.). Your DJ/musicians likely won’t be present at the rehearsal, but it is important to let your wedding party know when changes in music will occur.
On this note, make sure you have proactively provided the DJ/musicians with ceremony song specifics and processional/recessional names and order.
Posture and Spacing
Are the groomsmen holding their hands behind their backs or in front? How are the bridesmaids holding their bouquets? Will the flower girl stand with the bridesmaids? Is anyone wearing sunglasses?
Although you shouldn’t be running the rehearsal, I encourage couples to take a step back and approve the total aesthetic.
These decisions—in addition to visual cues—may be decided at the rehearsal, but identifying the look ahead of time will help keep things moving. Also, it will help your photographer get those pretty pictures!
Practice Makes Perfect
Maybe it’s my background in theatre, but I love rehearsing!
Even if you don’t share my enthusiasm, I advise you to run through the ceremony twice. First, walk through everything. Then evaluate, adjust, and do a quick place marking for the second run. If your reception is in the same location as your ceremony, I also like to do a super quick run-through of the reception grand entrances.
Overall, you should feel less stressed leaving the rehearsal than when you arrived! That doesn’t mean the rehearsal itself will be stress-free, but it should provide clarity and a level of comfort for everyone involved. Now go have fun with your friends and family. You’ve done everything you can to ensure a perfect day, now just let go, smile, laugh, and enjoy the ride!
Venue: The Royal Crestroom
Photography: Sydney Marie Photography
About Your Favorite Day
Day-of wedding coordination by Your Favorite Day is the perfect service for the couple making their own design decisions but need someone to ensure all goes as planned. Because you’re busy…you know, getting married! Beth and her team are excited to bring their event knowledge and expertise to your day. Relax, knowing they are working with your hired vendors in a friendly and collaborative way to make your vision come to life.