Keys To A Wedding Rehearsal
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A wedding rehearsal can seem a bit intimidating for those who have never attended one.  Here are a few tips so you know what to expect:

The wedding rehearsal normally starts with the officiant or the wedding planner lining up the bridal party where they will be standing at the altar.  Typically, bridesmaids will be on the left and groomsmen will be on the right; in a Jewish ceremony the positions are reversed.  A wedding planner will instruct them that the bridal party should always face the bride, and should never have their backs completely turned to the congregation.  They should stand at an angle; this way the guests and the photographers can see their faces.

Tradionally, the father of the bride will give the bride away, but occasionally the mother of the bride has the honor.  Whoever gives the bride away normally will kiss the bride on the cheek, shake the groom’s hand, and then place the brides hand in the groom’s hand.  The officiant will then start the ceremony.  The Bride holds on to her wedding bouquet until it is time for the exchange of rings.  At this point the Bride will pass off her bouquet to the Maid or Matron of Honor.  Usually the Best Man holds onto both rings and gives them to the officiant at the appropriate time.

After the Bride and Groom are pronounced husband and wife and kiss, the Bride will collect her bouquet from the Maid of Honor and husband and wife will proceed arm in arm down the aisle.  The Maid or Matron of Honor and the Best Man will.follow the Bride and Groom when the Bride and Groom have passed the last row of seats.  The remaining Bridesmaids and Groomsmen will also proceed down the aisle when the Bridesmaid and Groomsman before them have gotten halfway down the aisle.  After the final Bridesmaid and Groomsmen have recessed the Parents of the Bride will exit followed by the Parents of the Groom.

Once the primary wedding party has been instructed, the wedding planner will rehearse the ceremonial processional—entering the church.   Grandparents of the Groom are first, followed by Grandparents of the Bride.  Second are the Parents of the Groom followed by the Mother of the Bride who is typically escorted by a groomsman or family member, a brother or son.  The Father of the Bride can walk-in the Mother of the Bride and then go back to walk- in the Bride

After the Mother of the Bride is escorted to her seat, the officiant, the Groom, and the Groomsmen make their entrance.  There is usually a song change at this point and the Bridesmaids will walk down the aisle one by one, tradionally leaving about half an aisle distance between them.  Bridesmaids should carry their flowers at belly-button level and walk at a slow but steady pace.  Ring bearers are next, followed by the flower girl.  Depending on their age, the ring bearer or flower girl usually sit down during the ceremony.

Once everyone is in place at the altar, the officiant will run quickly through a mock ceremony and then the bridal party will practice the recessional

Some final tips:

-         Bring the marriage license to wedding rehearsal and give it to the officiant.  This way you won’t have to worry about it on the day of the wedding.

-         Have everyone that is in the ceremony present at the wedding rehearsal.  This includes grandparents, readers, and ushers.  The more people can rehearse, the less confusion on the day of the wedding.

-         Remind all family members- if you would like them in photos- to remain at the church or ceremony location after the ceremony.   It’s also a good idea to appoint a couple family members to help gather people for photos.  Your photographer and/or wedding planner will not know what Aunt Marge looks like in order to include her in the photos.

-         Remember to account for rush hour traffic if you have your wedding rehearsal at 5pm or later.

-         Have a plan for where the bridal party, including parents, will go after the actual recessional- usually a holding room- until guests have left and they can return for pictures.

-         Make sure to go over the seating of the guests with the ushers.  Unless the guest is a family member it’s best to not ask if the guest is with the bride or the groom. Encourage them to even out the number of guests on both sides or let guest choose for themselves.

-         One last suggestion.  It’s always a good idea to pass out a wedding-day timeline to the bridal party at the wedding rehearsal.  This way everyone knows where they will need to be at what time on the day of the wedding.  Have fun!

photograph by Moberg Photography

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About Sarah Fairbairn

Sarah Fairbairn, president, has over 14 years experience in the event industry with her florist background and private club knowledge. Sarah’s desire was to create a company that is known for its creativeness, honesty, and reliability and she has succeeded in every aspect. Sarah believes that every wedding or event should reflect the client’s interests, but still maintain a unique edge…something that will leave the guests talking after the event for days to come.

One Response to “Keys To A Wedding Rehearsal”

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    uk randki
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    August 30, 2011 at 6:47 am #
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    Thank you for another wonderful write-up.

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