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Do I Need a Wedding Rehearsal?

Do I Need a Wedding Rehearsal?
May 12, 2017

One of the questions I am often asked when I meet with couples the first time about their wedding ceremonies is “Do I need to have a rehearsal?” My answer is - it depends. If you are having a bridal party with bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, etc. a rehearsal is strongly recommended. Many officiates won't perform a wedding without one.

This is the time where you practice how and where to walk, where to stand, and how to get the timing right. If your bridesmaids have high heels, or a set of very steep steps to walk, a test run is a good idea. Getting the pace right is also helpful … not too slow and not too fast either. No sprinting down the aisle. Relax. Head up. And don't forget to smile …

If you are nervous about how it will all go,  a rehearsal will help calm your nerves and put things in perspective. Your officiate or minister will go over the ceremony briefly but not usually in detail. As a rule I don't let my couples practice their vows at the rehearsal. These are words to be practiced in private and spoken on the day, in that special moment you have been waiting for. I do let you practice "You may Kiss Your Bride".

Rehearsals are all about mechanics. It’s “you do this and I’ll do that”. Walk here, stand there, don’t forget to look at each other. A rehearsal won’t stop something random from happening on the day – especially if small children are involved.  All you need to do is make it down the aisle. From the moment you do that, you should be able to trust your Officiate or Minister to guide you through everything.

A few things to remember about rehearsals …

  • Not every member of the family needs to be there; only the ones participating in the processional and recessional should attend.
  • Decide early if you want a rehearsal. Asking your officiate for a rehearsal a with few day’s notice, will probably means that it won’t happen. In most cases they will be marrying someone else at that time!
  • If some of the bridal party can’t make it, don’t panic. You can also talk them through what needs to be done.
  • No bridal party? No need for a rehearsal. Promise.

There’s a lot to be said for letting the moment take care of itself. Savor the moment, and soak up the joy on the day. It’s the best advice I can give you. A rehearsal cannot give you any guidance more valuable.

Christina Mathews - 336-705-3239

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