TIP :: The Ceremony Rehearsal

Things You Should Know for Your Ceremony Rehearsal

Who Should Attend:
  • The Bride and Groom
  • All Members of the Wedding Party (including ring bearer and flower girl)
  • Individuals with Special Roles During the Ceremony (readers, lighting candles, etc.)
  • Ushers
  • Musicians or Soloists (optional)
  • Officiant(s)
  • Parents of the Bride and Groom
  • Grandparents (optional)
  • Wedding Liaison (That's me!)

At the Rehearsal
Practice What is to be Choreographed

Where and When
The rehearsal is usually held at the ceremony location the night or two before the wedding. However, if the ceremony location is unavailable, the rehearsal can be held at an alternative location.

Tips for Your Rehearsal
Make sure everyone in the rehearsal knows the time and directions to the location. Some brides send out invitations for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner along with directions for those that may be unfamiliar with the location. The goal is to get everyone there on time!

Let your Officiant and  Wedding Liaison  run the rehearsal. He or she should give directions to everyone in terms of the flow, the order of events, where and when to enter and where to stand at the altar. The Wedding Liaison assists the minister or we agree on who directs what portion of the ceremony.

Don't try to add too much to the ceremony that wasn't already talked about and agreed upon with your Officiant. It will only add confusion to the ceremony and the rehearsal.

All those with special roles should rehearse their part.  Readers may only want to practice a few lines - or they may wish to rehearse their entire passage. Instruct the readers on how to adjust the microphone, if necessary.  Make it clear where the reading (the actual piece of paper) will be located. Will the notes be at the podium or will the reader need to carry them up to the podium? For an evening or candlelight service, make sure there will be sufficient light to be able to read.

Be aware and make sure at the end of the rehearsal that everyone is comfortable with his or her role.

All of the wedding party should practice walking down the aisle to make sure that everyone follows the same pace. Children (flower girls and ring bearers) may need extra practice time to make them feel comfortable walking down the aisle.  Depending on their age, you may want the children to sit with a parent or with someone they are comfortable with instead of standing with the wedding party which may make them fidgety.  The bride and her attendants should also discuss how their bouquets should be held (i.e. up high, in the middle, or down low). You want a consistent look for the pictures and video.

The  Wedding Liaison or Officiant should also instruct the ushers on how to seat mothers, grandmothers and wedding guests. Ushers should also receive instructions on rolling out the aisle runner if one is being used.

Copyright © 2009 Carolyn Burke - Wedding Liaison

Start the Ceremony on Time

Some of our friends and family members are habitually late! When is the proper time to start a ceremony?

Starting on time is important for a lot of reasons.  The time listed on the invitation should be the time the ceremony will begin, not the time guests are expected to arrive. Some of the wedding vendors have a start and end time. The ceremony musicians and the wedding officiant/minister may have other obligations.  What will likely happen is that guests who do show up on time (or even a little early) will be left waiting for the actual ceremony to begin.

Late to the Wedding Ceremony

Don't have poor communication with family members. The biggest mistake couples can make is waiting until the rehearsal dinner to inform their family/bridal party of the time they need to arrive for pictures on the wedding day.  Ideally, this should be done at least two weeks in advance. It’s also a good idea to RE-remind everyone again at the rehearsal dinner. An email with a schedule of when and where to be is also a great tool for getting family and bridal party members to arrive on time.

That being said, there are a few ways to keep those inevitable latecomers from disrupting the ceremony just as you're about to walk down the aisle. Don't be too rigid about starting the ceremony at the precise minute you listed on the invitation; if guests are still trickling in at that moment, give them a few extra minutes to get settled. But don't wait more than 10 to 15 minutes, you don't want to feel stuck waiting for people who may never show (very late guests may give up trying to get to the ceremony and catch up with you at the reception). Find a friend or family or a wedding planner to gauge the crowd and decide when most guests have arrived and it's time to start.

Once the ceremony begins, designate an usher to remain at the entrance to direct guests into the venue at an appropriate moment. They may be allowed to sit in the rear rows or quietly stand in the back. But in the end, don't be too concerned about latecomers—during the ceremony, all eyes will be on you and your groom, not the back door.

Carolyn Burke | Officiant | Coordinator 314.821.4844

Wedding Liaison Blog

Carolyn Burke | Officiant | Coordinator
(314) 821-4844
Main Website : CarolynBurkeSTL.com