Tips for a Smooth Wedding Rehearsal

Everyone wants to have a smooth wedding rehearsal. After all, it’s a big part of the final preparations so you’ll want the event to run seamlessly! A wedding rehearsal is usually held with your bridal party a few days before the wedding to make sure that everyone knows what to expect and so that last minute questions are answered. Most couples choose to have a dinner once the rehearsal is finished up, so if your wedding rehearsal is as efficient as possible it gives you more time to enjoy drinks afterwards!

This is the moment where your upcoming nuptials will start to seem real, and the excitement will be seen and heard around every corner! So, whether your wedding is small or big, it’s useful to go through everything. Keep reading below to find out the key tips for a smooth wedding rehearsal.

What is a wedding rehearsal?

As weddings started to go beyond an informal gathering, and become more glamorous, the need for a wedding rehearsal was evident. Nowadays, the extra layer of details are the norm, so couples get their family and friends together to go through wedding details and avoid any problems… practice does make perfect!
There’s usually a wedding rehearsal guest list for people that have a role in the wedding, so you don’t need to invite everyone. It’s best to send out separate invitations for this event. Traditionally, the groom’s family will host this pre-wedding event, with guests limited to the bridal party. But more recently, couples host the rehearsal dinner together, and other guests have been added to the list such as those who are traveling far for the wedding event.

What do you need to know for a smooth wedding rehearsal?

1. Break the Ice

Start with introductions and make sure everyone knows each other before you begin to run through your ceremony. Your family will probably know your partner’s family well at this point, but there any many cases where they haven’t had many chances to meet up together and it’s easy to forget names. This also gives your guests an opener to talk to each other and find out how they each know you as a couple. This will be one of the main kinks to iron out for a smooth wedding rehearsal!

2. Get Any Announcements Out of the Way

Is there any essential information that your guests should know? Are there any last-minute changes? Avoid glitches by ensuring that your bridal party know exactly what time they need to arrive, where they need to be, what they need to bring and any additional details. With all of the excitement, it’s easy to forget certain key pieces of information, so your guests will appreciate the reminder!

Photography: Stefano Cassaro

3. Keep it Short

Bear in mind that your wedding will usually be the next day or the day after, so you don’t want the evening to go into the early hours. Everyone will need their beauty sleep! A smooth wedding rehearsal, also means that you don’t want any guests nursing hangovers on the big day! Keep an eye on the time, and try to limit the actual rehearsal portion of the evening to a maximum of two hours. You don’t want to cut into the dinner section, it’s the best way to let off steam and celebrate what’s coming with your family and friends!

4. Hire a Wedding Coordinator

There’s no better way to have a smooth wedding rehearsal than to have a pro organize it for you. They will have done this hundreds of times, which means that they’ll know exactly what is needed and what you might forget! This will take the pressure off you, so you can focus on the most important parts of the event. Also, if there are any guests that aren’t following instructions, your wedding coordinator can be the one to direct them. If you haven’t budgeted for a wedding coordinator, then don’t worry you can designate someone from the bridal party to take the lead.

5. Pair Up Your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Another key tip for a smooth wedding rehearsal is to make sure your bridesmaids and groomsmen know who they will be walking down the aisle with a few days before the rehearsal. You can send a group message or email so that everyone knows, and don’t change these pairs! The maid of honor and best man usually walk together, but other than that, you can choose who goes with who. If you have odd numbers then you can even pair 3 people together.

bridesmaids and groomsmen
Photography: Zoe Morley

6. Line up the Wedding Party

Everyone will need to know where they will be positioned during the ceremony, so line up everyone involved in the ceremony. This way your wedding party will know where they should head to after walking in. The bride and groom will usually face the altar, bridesmaids and groomsmen on either side facing the guests, and parents behind.

7. Practice the Recessional

This is the moment that the wedding party will leave the ceremony. You can choose what order to practice this in, but it’s recommended to go through your recessional before the processional. This will usually begin with the couple, then the maid of honor and best man, followed by the remaining pairs starting with the ones closest to the couple. When the last pair has walked out, the parents will leave, and then the rest of the guests. Also let them know where to head to once they have left, for example, if you’re going to take photos.

8. Practice the Processional

Next up, you’ll have to practice the processional. As your guests have already done the line up and the recessional, they should know exactly what to do for the processional. Depending on the length of the aisle, you’ll have to decide on the pace of the wedding party entrance.

wedding ceremony
Photography: Jonnie and Garrett

9. Run through Order of Events

Depending on the type of ceremony you’re having, there will be different points you’ll have to run through. But let your party know what these are, for example, any readings, gifts or additional steps. This is also a great opportunity to answer any questions they have. The aim of a smooth wedding rehearsal is to make sure that everything that will happen on the big day as practiced, and problems are resolved. Therefore, making sure that everyone knows the timeline is essential!

10. Don’t Forget to Keep it Personal

Although the rehearsal is an important pre-ceremony event, don’t forget that this day is about your love so add in personal touches. For example, throw in any family traditions during the day, or fun games during the dinner. You’ll want everyone to feel comfortable and look forward to practicing the wedding with you. Creating a relaxed environment will keep nerves for the big day at bay! Your guests will especially appreciate this if they’re meeting each other for the first time. Also, don’t forget to show your gratitude to your guests too! Your wedding rehearsal will be more intimate than your wedding day, so it’ll be a great opportunity to hand out your gifts to your wedding party.

Photography: The Bold Americana | Planning: Tailored Events Las Vegas | Florals: Florklore Studios | Wedding Dress: Lisa Martinez | Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu

Most importantly, have fun! Remember that this is a rehearsal for your day and everyone is celebrating you and your partner! So make sure that you’re not sweating the small stuff, and that you’re enjoying this truly magical moment. For more ideas for your wedding ceremony, check out Wedding Guests Dos and Don’ts or if you’re planning a destination wedding, then head to WedBoard to start connecting with your favorite venues and wedding planners.

Featured image: Stefano Cassaro

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