Hosting a successful wedding ceremony rehearsal means your wedding day will be that much more successful.
La Escondida wedding venue owner Candy Berkely has seen and hosted a lot of weddings in the eleven years La Escondida has successfully hosted San Antonio weddings. One area she sees many couples overlook in their planning is a crucial one: the wedding ceremony rehearsal. A successful wedding rehearsal is possible with a little bit of planning and some good advice.
Don’t let your wedding rehearsal be an afterthought, and read on to hear Berkley’s advice on how to host a successful wedding rehearsal.
5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal
Wedding Rehearsal Timing
To plan a successful wedding rehearsal, Berkeley recommends starting with the appropriate timing.
“Try to plan your rehearsal at the same time of day that your ceremony is scheduled,” she advises.
By doing so, you’ll be able to see everything in the same lighting as you will during the actual ceremony. Your wedding party will know if a certain pathway is particularly dark or if they should expect a burst of sunlight as they round the corner. Any way you can avoid surprises during the wedding ceremony itself, the better. Even if it’s a small detail.
In addition, be sure you advertise a wedding rehearsal start time that gives everyone time to arrive prior.
For example, if your wedding ceremony starts at 6PM, and you want to have your rehearsal actually start at that time, ask your guests to arrive at 5:30PM. This will help ensure your wedding rehearsal starts on time. Your guests will have time to get parked, use the facilities, and catch up or make introductions prior so your wedding rehearsal can begin successfully.
If your wedding rehearsal stays on track, plan to wrap up by 6:45PM – 7PM and then head to dinner! At La Escondida, every wedding is assigned a professional coordinator that can assist with your ceremony rehearsal which can help keep everyone focused as well.
Preparing for Your Wedding Rehearsal
Before your wedding rehearsal actually happens, you’ll want to prepare in advance for how you want your wedding ceremony to be conducted.
Start with knowing how you want the wedding party to enter.
Consider if you want them walking down the aisle as individuals or as couples. This will largely depend on if your wedding party on each side has the same number of individuals.
Another consideration is if the wedding party is mixed-gender. It is no longer unusual for there to be groomsgals and bridesmen, making the traditional one male/one female from each bridal party walking down the aisle together fairly moot.
Mix up the wedding party processional as you see fit based on your attendant choices. Just be sure everyone gets to their final destination on either side of the ceremony space in the end.
As long as you have spent some time thinking through your options and having a rehearsal plan in advance, your wedding rehearsal will go smoothly.
“One small but very helpful tip for couples,” says Berkley, “is to have your wedding party bring the shoes they are wearing for the wedding. This is especially important for the ladies wearing heels.”
With everyone in the appropriate shoes, you’ll easily be able to spot height differences when pairing bridesmaids with groomsmen. In addition, bridesmaids will get a feel for pitfalls such as soft lawns or rocky pathways. For example, La Escondida has an outdoor ceremony site and you’ll want to make sure you practice in the right shoes.
Traditional Wedding Processional Order
Remember, this is your wedding ceremony and any variation on the processional order is up to you. Still, many couples like to understand the traditional wedding processional order to either use as is or use as a template to modify.
The traditional general order of entrance is listed below, with Berkley’s recommended notes.
1. Grandparents of Groom and then Grandparents of Bride (Most grandparents are happy to be
seated before the ceremony and not be a part of the processional)
2. The Officiant can already be at the front, walk by him or herself, or walk with the Groom.
3. Parents of the Groom
4. Mother of the Bride with Escort
5. Groom, (maybe with Officiant – or with parents)
6. Groomsmen with Best Man last in line
7. Bridesmaids with Maid/Matron of Honor last in line
8. Flower girl and Ring bearer
9. Bride with father/parent
The Wedding Ceremony Bridal Handoff
The handoff of the bride or groom from the parent(s) to their intended is an important transition, and not one to overlook.
“This represents a special moment for the family,” informs Berkely,”and one that you’ll want to practice in the rehearsal.”
Consider if there should be kisses, handshakes, or spoken words so that this can be practiced.
While the Father of the Bride traditionally escorts the Bride down the aisle, some may choose their mother and father, or father and step-father to walk them down the aisle together. Coordinating this advice and rehearsing what that handoff looks like will ensure the ceremony is smooth and avoids any awkward moments.
More and more couples are skipping the hand off and walking down the aisle together. This may be the case in same-gendered weddings or simply couples who feel it represents them starting their marriage on equal footing. Whatever your decision, prepare everyone in advance with how you want your ceremony to be conducted.
Successful Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal Tips
At La Escondida, the venue coordinator will work closely with couples to ensure a successful wedding ceremony rehearsal.
Berkeley recommends practicing multiple times, “Generally, we walk through the rehearsal two times at least to make sure everyone knows their part,” she says. “If there are small children, we may need to work with them and their parents separately.”
As the wedding rehearsal comes to an end, the last item to practice is the wedding recessional. Make sure you review the path with everyone and fully practice walking the route.
Remember, the photographer will be snapping pictures during the actual event, so walk slowly and remember to smile!Easy Tips for a Breezy Wedding Rehearsal