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Six Tips to a Smooth Wedding Rehearsal Wednesday, August 12, 2015 ~ 2:00 p.m.

The wedding rehearsal is designed to prepare the entire wedding party that is participating in the ceremony. At the rehearsal, participants will learn when and where to walk, stand and speak, if so designated. Here are some tips to keep it running smoothly!

Wedding ceremony

Six Tips to a Smooth Wedding Rehearsal

Follow the leader. If you're ever participated in a wedding rehearsal, you know that they don't always go as smoothly as the bride and groom would hope. The rehearsal is often times the first opportunity for the entire wedding party to come together, and their excitement can distract from the main point of the rehearsal. During the wedding rehearsal, it helps to have a designated leader who is willing to speak up and give orders when necessary. This may be a wedding planner or coordinator, the officiant, bride or a responsible friend or family member.

Rehearsal guest list. The guest list for the wedding rehearsal should include the officiant and his or her spouse, as well as all members of the wedding party, including the parents of the flower girl and ring bearer. The parents and siblings of the bride and groom and their spouses should also be included in the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

When to rehearse. Typically, the wedding ceremony rehearsal is scheduled for the day before the wedding to ensure that everyone will be in town and available to attend. The rehearsal should not take more than one hour from start to finish, which usually includes two full run throughs, and is typically followed with a dinner. This dinner can be held at a restaurant or at home, and as a rule, the rehearsal dinner should not be fancier than the wedding planned for the next day.

Keep it simple. The ceremony rehearsal is mainly for the choreography and blocking of participants so that everyone knows when to walk and where to stand. Ceremony participants should not feel obligated to read through their entire script at the rehearsal. Completing all of the readings can get tedious very quickly, and obviously, the bride and groom will not want to share their vows before the big day.

Processional. Getting the order of entrance right is a key part of the rehearsal process. The ceremony processional or entrance order begins with the grandparents of the groom and bride, followed by the officiant with the groom, best man and the remaining groomsmen. After the groomsmen are in place, the parents of the groom and the mother of the bride will enter, followed by the bridesmaids and maid of honor. The flower girl and ring bearer are the last to enter before the bride and her father.

Recessional. Once the ceremony is over, the exit begins with the bride and groom, followed by their maid of honor and best man, and the rest of the wedding party in pairs. The flower girl and ring bearer follow, then the parents of the bride and groom. The grandparents are last to exit along with the officiant. When discussing the processional and recessional, it's important to also go over the walking speed and spacing that is preferred between individuals and pairs.

Image by Danielle Poff

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