Traditionally, the wedding rehearsal is an event sponsored by the groom's parents. It's your chance to practice getting married so there are no mistakes on your big day and is usually followed with a relaxing dinner to give the entire bridal party a chance to unwind and have some fun.
Everyone taking part in your wedding should be present at the rehearsal. You and your groom, all the parents, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, and the ring bearer and flower girl should be there to get a realistic feel for what will happen on the day of the wedding. Your officiant is the most important member that should attend, as well as your wedding planner if you have one.
If possible, a pianist or musician should attend the rehearsal so everyone understands the timing of each moment in the ceremony. Prerecorded music can be used if a live musician isn't available. You can also invite friends and family with minor roles, like the guest book attendant, and most couples invite the spouses of their bridal party members as well.
Important Rehearsal Details
The wedding rehearsal is the time all of your attendants will learn just where they should stand at the altar; entrance timing will be determined and every little detail will be addressed. Your rehearsal should take place at the actual ceremony site so nothing is overlooked.
Look to your officiant (or wedding planner) for direction during the rehearsal. They typically have plenty of experience and will know what works best. You'll want to do at least one complete run-through of the entire ceremony, but concentrate on these elements:
- The processional. Timing is everything when it comes to your entrances. Determine the right amount of space between each attendant and practice entering the ceremony site on cue.
- Altar arrangement. Everyone should stand in a specific spot at the altar. This will be a popular photo opportunity so have someone stand in the back to get the positioning just right.
- Bride's entrance. Your entrance is the most spectacular moment of the wedding. Your dad will escort you down the aisle so it's important for both of you to practice stepping together and walking at the right pace. You'll also want to rehearse the arrival at the altar and the moment your dad gives you away.
- The vows. Forgetting to say ‘I do' may be hilarious 10 years from now, but it's not really the wedding memory you're hoping to create. If you're repeating or responding to vows read by your minister, practice the right times for you and your fiancé to chime in and things should go much smoother on the big day.
Whether it's completely informal or just as formal as your wedding, the rehearsal is an essential part of a successful ceremony and can save you and your bridal party from embarrassing mistakes at the wedding. It's also a great chance to unwind and get rid of those last minute jitters before your big day - have fun rehearsing!