Friday, January 21, 2011

Rehearsal - to Rehearse or not Rehearse - THAT is the question!!

In the not too distant past, I was getting ready to start the wedding ceremony processional (right on time, of course).   I asked the groom if he was going to seat his mother.  He replied, “Now, how does this work?”  I asked, “How did you do it at rehearsal last night?”  His reply...(drum roll please)... “We didn’t have one.”  {{crickets}}  Huh?!?   I talked briefly with the photographer (who was with the bride and bridesmaids) and together we managed to quickly put together a plan to have the grandparents and parents seated, the groom and groomsmen walk out with me and she sent the ‘ladies’ down, one by one..then the beautiful bride and her father - Whew!    Everyone walked too fast but the bride and groom were sort of unconventional so I expect the guests didn’t notice.

What is a wedding ceremony "rehearsal?"  It's when you get everyone together that is involved in the wedding for a walk-through of the ceremony. This should include all the Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Flower Girls, Ring Bearers, and of course the Bride and Groom!  It is optional to have the readers, musicians and/or soloists, parents and grandparents there.
 It is a "walk-through" of what will happen during the ceremony. It is not like a play where everyone has to practice all their singing, dancing and acting together. If you have readers or musicians, they do not need to take up everyone's time by practicing at the rehearsal.  And, you certainly don't want me reading over the  entire ceremony! It's better to keep that a "secret" from others so that it will be a pleasant surprise to everyone at the wedding.

Is a wedding ceremony "rehearsal" necessary?  If you have a large bridal party of many Bridesmaids & Groomsmen, etc., officiants expect you to have a rehearsal sometime before the wedding whether he/she is there or not. Most rehearsals take about 45 minutes to an hour.  Oftentimes, with smaller weddings you can do the wedding rehearsal yourself.  You just need to know is when everyone is to walk in, where to stand (or sit), and when to walk out. In summary, a wedding rehearsal is never a true rehearsal -- it's just a "walk-through." Its purpose is to show people where they fit in so they will hopefully feel a little less stress about their roles in the actual ceremony.

Please keep in mind that planning a rehearsal for a Friday evening or sometime Saturday may not be a good idea. That's because probably 99% of all weddings take place from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. Your ceremony location and/or wedding officiant may have more than one event planned for the weekend you are getting married. It may not be possible to have your rehearsal and wedding ceremony during that "prime time." Instead, I recommend having your rehearsal sometime Wednesday or Thursday evening or Friday during the day. That way you can be reasonably sure that you will have both the ceremony location and your wedding officiant available for your rehearsal. Also, many couples make the mistake of checking everyone else's schedule to set the rehearsal, and then assume their wedding officiant will make it. Instead, you should check with the officiant first to find out when they are available, and then with everyone else. If you set the rehearsal without first checking with your officiant, and then find out your officiant has another commitment (such as a wedding) at the same time, you will be doing your rehearsal without them. If you have a wedding planner or consultant they may be able to walk you through the steps.
  When I am the director for rehearsal I always try and instruct the couple to get the best wedding photos.  I know that your wedding photography is a big investment and I want you to have great ones...especially of your ceremony.
Brenda M. Owen - Wedding Officiant & Minister  -