Your ceremony is the beginning of the most wonderful day of your life. It sets the tone for the entire day; it is the smile on his face, the lump in his throat, the look that takes his breath away as he sees you coming down the aisle.
This is your day, your moment in time, a moment that will forever be cherished and remembered. As important as this day is, many brides neglect to give their wedding rehearsal the time and attention it deserves.
It is amazing there is so little information regarding the rehearsal. Beautiful ceremonies do not just happen. So often, you hear, "I wish I would have done this or said that" or "I was going to do, whatever but I wasn't sure when to do it". Unfortunately, actions may appear hesitant, awkward or sloppy; romantic words or gestures can easily be overlooked or bypassed because it is unclear when and how to proceed. The day of the wedding, nerves and emotions are at their peak and so many things are going on; this is not the time to leave things to chance.
Everyone from the bride and groom, their families and wedding party are expected to know exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it and yet there is very little available on how to organize a rehearsal and what to include. Unless the bride has a coordinator to oversee the rehearsal, she is pretty much on her own. Even with a coordinator, the bride may only get the very basics, the seating of mothers, processional, attendant placement and recessional with no attention given to form or actual timing.
Some will argue that if you rehearse, the ceremony will not be fresh and the romantic gestures or words will not be spontaneous, which is a valid argument if you are attempting to rehearse every word and detail of your ceremony. However, the wedding rehearsal is not to practice dialogue, it is to block and stage your ceremony as if it were a theatrical production. In theatrical terms, blocking is directing the positions and movement of the actors; it is choreography of movement.
The choreography of the ceremony begins with the seating of family by the ushers or groomsmen and concludes with the bride and groom leaving the ceremony and may extend beyond the ceremony depending on the couple. Most people know the basics, it is the style and manner in which something is done that makes the difference. The attention to that type of detail is what will set a ceremony apart from all the others and it will show in both photography and video. If you are comfortable with what you are doing, you will be more relaxed and able to enjoy this wonderful time in your life.
Here are a few brief suggestions for your rehearsal:
When to Schedule
If possible, avoid scheduling a rehearsal for right after work. If your wedding party has to fight rush hour traffic, you can be almost certain the rehearsal will not start on time.
Wedding professionals including the minister, judge, photographer etc. whom you have requested attend the rehearsal may charge a fee and give you a specific block of time. Some professionals charge an additional fee when asked to stay longer than scheduled.
Rehearsals on weekends or holidays may be difficult for wedding professionals to attend and if they are charging you a fee, it may be higher.
Allow at least 1 hour for your rehearsal.
The rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner are two separate events. Schedule a time for the rehearsal and a time for the dinner. If the rehearsal and dinner will be held at different locations, make sure to allow for travel time.
Who Should Attend
Invite only those who will actually be in the wedding ceremony and parents of the bride and groom to the rehearsal.
Invite everyone else to join you later at the rehearsal dinner.
What to Bring
Bring the wedding music to the rehearsal.
If the bride will wear gloves during the ceremony then bring them to the rehearsal.
Bridesmaids should have the shoes they will wear for the ceremony with them, especially if your ceremony is outdoors.
Show up sober. You would be amazed at how many times the bride, groom or members of the wedding party have shown up drunk. The rehearsal should be fun but it does serve a purpose; if you want to party wait until after the rehearsal otherwise you are just wasting everyone's time.
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