Wedding rehearsals are an important part of planning your wedding.
In the swirling midst of all of your wedding planning, you remember that you also have to plan a wedding rehearsal. Now, in your lifetime, you’re going to plan a lot of events. Even the average person has a few vacations to plan, birthday celebrations, religious ceremonies, etc. Few of those planned occasions require a rehearsal.
This makes the wedding rehearsal an unusual event. It’s not something people know a lot about, and most people don’t attend many of them. The wedding rehearsal is almost always strictly limited to people in the wedding and their plus one. So how do you plan something you don’t know much about? Well, this blog is a great start and it will take away some of the mystery.
What You Need to Know About A Wedding Rehearsal
A wedding rehearsal is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the dry run for the wedding. As weddings morphed into big, elaborate affairs, the rehearsal became a requirement – not just for the couple but for everyone involved. Imagine all the moving pieces of a wedding, you have people to get down the aisle, readers, an officiant, singers/musicians, parents, different parts of the ceremony, and the exit.
A wedding really is a little like putting on a performance, so it’s a good idea to give people a run-through so they know what they’re doing. It also helps ease some nerves. If you do a dry run, then no one worries about what they do when and where.
Do You Need a Wedding Rehearsal?
It depends. Certainly, our relatives’ way, way back didn’t have them. Weddings were not very large and elaborate. It was a quick ceremony and often didn’t include many guests or even a celebration afterward. Obviously, no practice was needed there.
Similarly, if you’re having a courthouse wedding or an informal event in your backyard, then a rehearsal probably isn’t necessary. Even some destination weddings don’t have rehearsals, simply because they’re too hard to coordinate or not necessary.
That said, weddings have evolved. If you’re having a large wedding with a lot of people involved, it’s best to have a rehearsal.
When Do You Have a Wedding Rehearsal?
Most people opt to have their wedding rehearsal the week before the wedding or the night before. If your wedding is in town and all of the people at the wedding live there, then the week before might be more convenient. It removes some stress from the night before the wedding.
If you have the rehearsal the night before, then you know your included guests are there and can be involved. One big tip here – if it’s the night before, cut all post-rehearsal celebrations off short so people are well rested for the big day.
Who Should You Invite to the Wedding Rehearsals?
When you’re creating the guest list for the rehearsal, you’ll obviously want the wedding party there. If the parents have anything special to say or do, then they need to be there as do any other family members who fall into that category. Anyone doing a reading should be there and maybe singers. If your singers are not hired professionals, then they need to attend to.
Think of it as a practice for anyone that other people are going to be watching during your wedding.
Then we come to the officiant. This can be crucial. If you’re doing a church wedding or a destination wedding, often the officiant is someone who has done this a lot and they’ll be the ones leading the rehearsal. Listen to them carefully, they know what they’re talking about.
If your officiant is a friend who is ordained, they may not know what they’re doing and suddenly your rehearsal is without a director. This is where you’ll have to step in and guide everyone. Or, if you have a wedding planner, this is a great place to rely on them for help.
What Happens at Wedding Rehearsals?
The rehearsal will typically start with everyone in their “starting positions” and then you’ll literally walk through what will happen at the wedding. Whether you’re sticking to the traditional parts of a wedding or you’ve created your own version of events, it’s best to quickly run through all of it.
The officiant will not go through all of their speeches in most situations. But if you’re having a brand-new ordained officiant, you might want them to give it a try. Your readers should be allowed to do their speeches at least once, just so they get a feel for it and aren’t so nervous when it’s really time to shine.
Your walk through of the wedding should be nice and brief. So brief that you can do it a couple times, so it feels good and everyone is comfortable with their duties.
What About the Rehearsal Dinner?
It is customary to have a rehearsal dinner after the practice. You’re asking your guests for one more night or day devoted to you and to reward them, a nice dinner is in order. It’s also a great time to gather your closest friends and family around you and simply celebrate being together. Customarily, people allow their rehearsal guests to bring a plus one.
Still have questions about your wedding, wedding rehearsal, or how to have a wedding rehearsal when you have a destination wedding? Connect with us and we’ll be happy to help – if we can. We’re the destination wedding experts and have had a lot of experience in this area.
Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer for Bella Honeymoons Destination Weddings.