To Rehearse or Not Rehearse. Here are the answers to that question.
Not every wedding requires a wedding rehearsal. If you are planning on a casual and relaxed ceremony, then a rehearsal isn't really necessary.
A good rule of thumb is...if you are having no more than one or two wedding attendants each, with one flower girl and perhaps a ring bearer, and you have decided on a simple ceremony...it's likely that you'll not need a rehearsal and you'll be able to manage it on your own with a few tips from your Wedding Minister. That said...if you plan on having more attendants than mentioned above... a wedding rehearsal will be necessary to insure everything goes smoothly and beautifully during your ceremony. If you aren't sure...always speak with your Wedding Officiant...he/she will be able to help you with that decision and offer available insight and advice.
A wedding rehearsal is based on the degree of ceremony formality.
The benefits of having a wedding rehearsal, aside from the obvious...it's a time to help you and your wedding party get comfortable with the timing and order of the ceremony proceedings before the big day. Keep the rehearsal dinner to follow a casual, lighthearted affair, giving everyone a chance to catch their breath and get antiquated.
Wedding rehearsals are typically one hour and you'll need every moment of it to cover all the details and ceremony choreography. To void overtime charges from your wedding officiant, it's a good practice to avoid drinking prior to the rehearsal.
Being alert and attentive during the rehearsal helps everyone involved in the ceremony to feel less nervous on the day of the ceremony. In most cases, two walk-throughs is recommended to insure everyone is comfortable and confident with the ceremony proceedings. Everyone will know where to be and when. Also, the rehearsal is a good time to hand out lists of duties to the attendants of the ceremony.
During the rehearsal your officiant will go over many details. Such as where to stand and what to do during the ceremony, where and how to enter and exit and how to pose for the best presentation of your ceremony.
Part of the rehearsal will address ( the processional ) entering and ( the recessional ) exiting, it's is a mixture of timing and graceful art form. Like learning to dance well, it's about the steps, timing and execution that makes a beautiful presentation. If you plan on having live musicians for the ceremony, they should attend the rehearsal too, so you and your attendants will be able to recognize the musical cues throughout the ceremony.
Your Officiant / Minister will always insist on personally conducting rehearsal and arranging the ceremony proceedings from Processional to Recessional.
TIP: At times, inexperienced Wedding Planners may offer, as part of their services, to conduct the wedding rehearsal and conduct the ceremony proceedings. ** An experienced and professional planner will not. ** To clear the confusion...the purpose and function of a Wedding Planner is to coordinate all things to do with preparation prior to the ceremony and after the ceremony, not the rehearsal or ceremony proceedings itself. When in question, always ask your Officiant for clarification on such matters.
There are never any two wedding ceremonies alike.
Just as there are no two couples alike, there are no two weddings alike. There are always variations depending on the venue selection, available amenities, indoor vs.outdoor ceremonies, the time of year, the time of year, the level of formality and of course the personal style of the To Be Wed Couple...just to name a few. There are many factors the Officiant will take into account when contemplating the presentation of your wedding ceremony. However, to give you a little insight as to how a wedding rehearsal and ceremony might be conducted, here's a basic sample to consider.
The standard processional line is formed in order of appearance, which will be:
Maid of honor
Ring bearer and flower girl
Bride and father
The timing of each person’s entrance and the pace of the walk will be determined during the rehearsal. Timing is usually established by the distance between each person, and also by the music. Timing is especially important if you want to make the most of ceremony photo opportunities during the processional.
TIP ** The one of the many benefits of selecting an experienced and skilled Wedding Officiant is they will be able to anticipate and adjust effortlessly to any unforeseen seen factors that may arise in the moment without skipping a beat.
When the bride enters the room, she should walk on her father’s / escort's right, or on the right side. When she arrives at the altar, her father / escort will give her hand to the groom. The officiant will address the father / escort, "Who gives this woman." During the rehearsal, we will go into much more detail and teach you what to say and do. The maid of honor will move forward to take the bride's flowers and return to her position.
Vows that require a response from the bride and groom will be cued and guided by the wedding officiant-- that way neither the bride nor the groom will miss their cue during the ceremony. Going through these cues will definitely calm all the participants down a little on the day of the wedding, All can confidently enter the room, take their places, and execute their responsibilities with ease and grace.
The rehearsal dinner is a great time to hand out printed lists of duties for the attendants. They need to know what is expected of them, and when they are “on call.” Here are sample lists of the common duties for traditional attendants. Obviously, if the best man is a woman, she will not help the groom dress, so adjust the duties to accommodate your wedding party
The Best Man Duties...the team leader
The Best Man is seen as the team leader of all things to do with the men in the wedding party. The Groomsmen are the team players...the offer support and assistance to the Groom and the wedding.
Help the groom dress
Get the clergy person fee in a plain envelope from the groom and deliver it to clergy person on the day of the wedding
Remind the groom of the marriage license, airline tickets, luggage, traveling clothes, etc..
Sign the marriage license as a witness
Keep the groom calm
Carry the ring in a coat pocket
Take the groom’s gloves during the ceremony, if he has any
Offer the first toast at the rehearsal dinner and the reception
Hide the going-away car
Help the bride and groom escape after the reception
Return the groom’s clothes to his house or the rental store
Maid or Matron of Honor Duties...the team leader
The Maid or Matron of Honor is seen as the team leader with all things to do with the women in the wedding party. The Bride's Maids are the team players...the offer support and assistance to the Bride and the wedding.
Sign the marriage license as a witness
Help the bride dress prior to the ceremony, help the bride with her gloves, train, veil, flowers, etc. during the ceremony
Hold the groom’s wedding band until it is requested
Usher's Duties...the team players
Ushers are responsible for:
Lighting the aisle candelabra 15 minutes before the ceremony
Taking down pew ribbons as the pews are needed
Putting the aisle runner in position and removing it after the ceremony
Participating in the processional and recessional
Escorting the bride’s and groom’s parents out, then dismissing one aisle at a time after the ceremony
Dancing with the bride and bridesmaids
Help the bride with errands
Participate in the processional and recessional
Greet guests in the receiving line
As with any other rehearsal, all the participants should pay close attention to their directions. Working all the kinks out during the rehearsal will make your wedding ceremony proceed smoothly and beautifully.
Here's a little Wedding Wisdom concerning the timing of reserving the wedding venue and your Wedding Minister.
When visiting with our wedding couples here's a question I encounter most often.
Q: We want you to perform our ceremony...but, we haven't secured our wedding venue yet. What should we do first, reserve the officiant or the wedding venue?
A: If you have found the officiant you want but you haven't yet secured the venue, the best approach is to communicate with your chosen officiant and let him/her know what your venue status is. Ask your Wedding Minister for venue suggestions.
Also, once you visit with your chosen wedding officiant about the type of wedding you are envisioning, he/she will be able to suggest a venue/s that best fits your wedding style and budget. This can alleviate a lot of undue stress on your part.
So, all in all, finding the wedding officiant you are most comfortable with and let them guide you in locating a venue.
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