Published February 19, 2016
A wedding rehearsal is a traditional part of a wedding, but modern brides have turned it a bit on its side. Opting to not have one at all, or having it for brunch rather than dinner, are ways to make it more practical than ever before. The success of the wedding rehearsal comes in how you define it and how you want it to go.
The Purpose of your Wedding Rehearsal
The wedding rehearsal is designed to help the wedding party to know ahead of time how the flow of the event will go, ideally to assist it in going smoother. The couples will know who they are walking with, in what order, where to enter and exit, etc.
It has also become a time for the bridal party to connect more intimately- to offer encouraging words, gratitude and gifts. Usually the gifts are from the engaged couple to the wedding party to thank them for the relationship and the time they are putting into being part of the wedding.
Many time these gifts include jewelry for the wedding party to wear, engraved gifts or memorable tokens. You will want to have the entire wedding party there including bridesmaids, groomsmen, speakers, immediate family (parents of the engaged couple, and siblings), as well as their spouse and children, if appropriate. It is also a good idea for the officiant to be invited.
The look and feel of your Wedding Rehearsal
There is really no set way of doing things here. It can be as casual or formal as you would like. Who pays and where it is held is entirely up to your discretion. Sometimes it is held in a restaurant and other times in a backyard. The main point is to connect the people who are participating in the event.
Depending on the attendees, you can incorporate your wedding theme, offer entertainment and games, or go to a beach. After the smaller wedding party is able to connect and practice, consider opening the party up to other family or out of town guests to celebrate and spend more time with them, especially if you won’t be able to do it after or if they have traveled a long way.
Weddings are almost like a family reunion as people come together, often after large breaks in time. Capitalize on this by being inclusive and multi-purposeful in your efforts. Ask for help in preparing the wedding rehearsal if you already (which likely you do) have a lot on your plate.
Your Wedding Rehearsal Agenda
After some mixing and mingling of the friends and family, call them together to sit and listen and to get food, if they haven’t already. Thank everyone for being there.
You may want to do a gift presentation. This can be gifts to the parents, bridal party and/or to each other. Someone may wish to offer a toast, or you may ask the parents to say a few words. Have this decided ahead of time so the toasts can be prepared and direction can be given on the length of time allotted. If you are concerned at all about someone saying inappropriate things, have specific people lined up to speak and say they are the only ones who have the floor.
Practice the actual wedding ceremony, but not the whole thing. The main components will include the walk down the aisle and back when ended. Any special items during the ceremony that will require participation on their parts- such as reading, presenting the rings and/or performing a ritual should also be practiced.
Practicing how you will line up, enter and exit will help the ceremony move smoother. It may seem silly, but in lining up, you will be amazed at what ‘holes’ can be discovered in the procession line. Review briefly how far out you want them to pace themselves and where they will sit or stand. Likely, the way they exit will be the way they entered, but get clear about how the exit will be.
Let any readers and/or performers know how to approach and where they will stand. In a non-traditional venue, such as a beach, being clear about where people stand is very important.
Make sure everyone knows where they should be, what they are responsible for bringing and the time they are expected to be there. Let your wedding party know who will be ‘directing’ the show- whether a wedding planner, friend or family member, so they know who to talk to if they have questions the day of the wedding.
Overall, the wedding rehearsal is a fun way to get your closest friends and family together to celebrate the joining together of you and your love. Make it special and keep it simple to allow everything to move smoothly on your big day!
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