Take 1! Organizing Your Wedding Rehearsal Effectively

By Lisa Beth Miller

We all know that couples need to plan a rehearsal prior to the wedding. In most instances, a wedding planner or officiant usually guides everyone through this process, but couples should still be very aware of what should be accomplished at this wedding practice session!

Start by lining up the wedding party as they will be during the ceremony. This will give everyone an immediate visual of their exact position during the ceremony. In most ceremonies, the bride stands on the left facing the altar, groom on the right, though it’s reversed for Jewish ceremonies. The bridesmaids and groomsmen stand on the respective sides facing the guests. Parents sit directly behind their respective children.

Briefly run through the order of events of the ceremony. Depending on your religious affiliation, there will be different events within the ceremony. Briefly run through the events so everyone understands the general flow of the ceremony.

Practice the recessional. This is how the wedding party will leave AFTER the ceremony. The recessional starts with the couple, followed by the paired-up members of the wedding party, and then the parents. The recessional is fairly simple but sets the tone for the rest of the guests exiting in an orderly fashion after the wedding.

Practice the processional. Once the wedding party has left during the recessional, regroup and line up for the processional (the entrance). Since everyone is now familiar with where they are going, the processional should not be too confusing.

Remind members of the wedding party not to sprint down the aisle or walk too slowly. If possible, have them practice with the appropriate music playing.

Explain where the wedding party will go after the recessional. Will there be a receiving line? Should they gather somewhere to begin the picture-taking process? They need to know exactly what is expected of them once the ceremony has ended.


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