You may not believe it until you see it, but a rehearsal days before your wedding will save the day. To get the most out of your wedding rehearsal, we’ve consulted Vicky Nicholas, co-owner of Perfect Planners, a full-service wedding and event planning company serving the Greater Toronto Area. Here are a few helpful tips to ensure your rehearsal goes off without a hitch.
Before the wedding rehearsal:
- Schedule the rehearsal a few days before the wedding: For a Saturday wedding, the rehearsal should be during the week. Save the day before your wedding for last-minute details. Aim for an hour at most. The purpose of the rehearsal is not to practice the entire ceremony, but to make sure everyone is comfortable and knows what will happen. Another great tip is to coordinate with the wedding venue to schedule your rehearsal. It is highly recommended that the rehearsal be held at the wedding venue. “I planned a wedding at the Distillery District where the ceremony was in the art gallery and the reception was in the restaurant. Since the gallery is open during the day to the public and in the evenings for functions, we only had a small gap to fit in our rehearsal,” says Nicholas.
- Hire a professional to run the rehearsal: Whether it is the officiant, wedding planner or wedding coordinator, it is worth paying the extra to have an experienced professional running the show. “I would highly recommend having a professional do it for you,” says Nicholas. “It just takes the pressure off, especially for brides.”
- Make sure everyone is going to be at the rehearsal time: The rehearsal prepares the wedding party for the wedding. While everyone should understand how important the rehearsal is, it’s not the end of the world is someone can’t make it. If your bridal party does decided to come, make sure they know you only have limited time to practice.
- Plan your outfit: It is important that you feel comfortable. Whether it is a cocktail dress or jeans choose wisely. Though it’s great to dress up, try not to wear anything that will spoil the wedding day vision.
- Pick you pairs and their positions: “I planned a wedding where the groom walked up the aisle with his mom and dad just before the bride,” says Nicholas. Special moments like that need a bit of pre-planning so be sure everyone knows where and when they’re going to make their way down the aisle.
- Follow up with a rehearsal dinner to say thank-you: The wedding rehearsal is often followed by a rehearsal dinner. This is the couple’s time to say thank you to their families, both for being part of the wedding and for their support in their lives. “Also, sometimes if there are out of town guests, it is a way of saying thank you for coming all this way,” says Nicholas.
During the wedding rehearsal:
- Start with the recessional: After welcoming everyone, position your attendants in their places. Normally, the bride and groom stand closest to the officiant and the rest of the party follows suit.
- Follow with the processional: When practicing, allow for spacing. Once the bride and groom walk down the aisle to the end, the maid of honour and best man follow. Once they reach the fourth row of seats, the next pair follows. The importance of the spacing is for the photographer and videographer to capture great shots of each couple. Be sure to practice it at least three times.
- If children are involved in the wedding ceremony, encourage active participation and listening: “Make sure if there are kids that there are a lot of bribes…with the parents’ permission of course,” says Nicholas. Kids can be very difficult to control depending on how old they are, which can make it one of the hardest things to manage at a wedding.
- Find ways to make it fun: Consider offering prizes for things like ‘best walk up the aisle’. “It depends on what the couple is like,” says Nicholas. “If they are open-minded, you could have the bridal party dance their way up the aisle.”
The most important point to remember, says Nicholas, is that a wedding “is all about communication and information.” There is nothing worse than walking into a situation and you haven’t been informed of something.