I don’t require a rehearsal, but there are lots of points to consider before you opt out. There’s more confidence going into a ceremony and less chance for a snafu if you are able to have one.
Knowing the purpose of a rehearsal is the first step to deciding. Do you and your participants know…
- Who has some part to do?
- What is that part?
- Where do they do it?
- When do they do it?
- How do they do it?
Who goes first – the flower girl or the ring bearer? How do I know when I start walking down the aisle? How can we make sure no one sees me until I do? Where will my partner be?
Everyone, from the bride and groom down to the flower girl and even the door opener, needs to know what is expected of them, where they are expected to go to do it, and how they get their cue to start doing it. It’s like rehearsing for a play – you might know all your words, but making sure the show comes out as a whole story takes practice.
Usually, it’s the officiant who directs the rehearsal, although sometimes the event coordinator (if he or she has talked to the officiant) can do it. Your officiant has probably done this many times and has discovered what works and what doesn’t, what’s important to know ahead of time, and knows some “tricks of the trade.” Much like rehearsing a play, the wedding rehearsal ensures that everything we have planned will work in the actual ceremony space. There have been times where the shape of the space or the final arrangement of people has needed to be adjusted a bit in a way we never could plan for on paper.
What Factors Do I Need To Consider?
Your Wedding Party
How many are there? The more you have in your wedding party, the more you should consider a rehearsal. If it is just you two and a maid of honor and best man, then you probably don’t need a full rehearsal. 10 or 15 minutes of time before the ceremony is enough to go over the details. However, if you have several groomsmen and bridesmaids, ring bearers or flower girls, it becomes more and more of a good idea. Will parents or grandparents be processing? Good to have a rehearsal.
Here’s a good rule of thumb:
Under 5 people – unless you really want one, it’s not needed.
Between 5 and 10 – it might be a good idea to rehearse (depending on other factors).
Between 10 and 15 – I definitely advise a rehearsal
Any more than that and you run the risk of a lot of chaos at your wedding!
The more complex your entrance and exit will be, the more you will need to practice them. For example, if a groomsman will be seating people, escorting a parent, and then walking in with a bridesmaid, it’s going to be a whole lot easier and less stressful after rehearsing it a couple of times.
Experience Of Your Wedding Party
If your wedding party is mostly adults (not more than one or two children), and they’ve all been involved in a wedding before, then you might not need a rehearsal. If you have children participating, even younger teens, it’s often helpful for them not only to practice but to meet and get to know the officiant. Then he or she won’t be a scary stranger they have to walk to. I’ve had children who wanted nothing to do with rehearsing until I got down on the floor and played with them. Then they felt comfortable with me asking them to do something.
Where Are You Being Married?
Some places are laid out so that performing a ceremony is straightforward. Other locations, particularly ones not intentionally designed for this type of ceremony, may have a shape, size or obstacle that presents a challenge. The best way to be sure your ceremony doesn’t have unexpected glitches is to hold a rehearsal and make any changes as needed well in advance.
This is your ceremony and in the end, it is your choice. If you’re not sure, let’s talk about it! A few carefree couples are happy to go with the flow – even if that flow has some stumbling blocks,but if you want to be sure everybody knows what to do and when… Let’s rehearse!