How to Run a Ceremony Rehearsal Smoothly…

10 Aug How to Run a Ceremony Rehearsal Smoothly…

There are many different ways and types of ceremonies you can have. There is no “right” way and there is no “wrong” way in running a ceremony, it’s all what best fits your needs as a couple. Whether you want to go the more traditional route, or change it so it’s customized to you as a couple, it’s both your days so make it something that both of you want.

Here at The Lantana we understand couples come in a variety, but we are going to be using a bride and groom for this purpose.

Below is some Step- by- Step instructions how to successfully run a ceremony rehearsal in a smooth and timely manner.

Photo Credit: Marvin Peralta Photography
Ceremony in the Bostonian Room

Step #1: Pick a Time/Date/Place for the Rehearsal:

Typically ceremony rehearsals are done the day before your wedding… (This is also a great way to lead into your rehearsal dinner, since the whole wedding party will already be there). It is also a good idea to have your rehearsal take place at the same time your ceremony will be held, this is a good idea so that way if you have an outside ceremony you can check the lighting, and move the alter or arch way if needed for your pictures . It is also ideal to have your rehearsal at the same place the ceremony will be taking place. It’s important to do this because this way your wedding party will know exactly where to stand, and where to go during and after the ceremony. Also it will help so you know exactly what the floor or ground you will be like walking on, and this way you can deal with any last minute changes at the venue.

Step #2: Be Prepared:

Start preparing for the ceremony rehearsal. To do this, start figuring out who will be part of the ceremony; this should be the list of people attending the rehearsal. Start figuring out who in your wedding party will walk with who (this can also be changed at the ceremony). Talk to your officiant before the ceremony rehearsal and go over how your ceremony will run. This will help during the rehearsal so that the wedding party and everyone will have an idea of the order of events during the ceremony. If you are having any readers during the ceremony read a poem, passage, or anything like that, make sure that you send it to them before the rehearsal so that way they have time to practice reading it before and during the rehearsal, so they will be comfortable with it on the actual day.

Mediterranean Room

Step #3: Introductions:

For some of your wedding party this will be the first time they all are meeting each other, so you want to make sure that you introduce everyone to one another. Make sure before the start of the rehearsal introductions are done, so everyone now knows each other.

Step #4: Starting the Rehearsal:

You should start your ceremony rehearsal in the middle. Line everyone who is in the wedding party up on the stage, or alter. Now everyone knows where they will be standing or sitting during the ceremony.

** TIP: Make sure your wedding party is evenly spaced and standing at a slight angle! **

The bride, MOH, and bridesmaids should line up on the left side. The groom, BM, and groomsmen should line up on the right side.

Step #5: Run Through the Ceremony:

Look through the ceremony headings, and read them allowed. This way everyone roughly knows the order. DON’T read the whole ceremony. This is also a good time to have any readers read their passages.

** TIP: Make sure that everyone knows that they shouldn’t stand with their backs to the wedding guest at any point in the ceremony **

Bostonian Room

Step #6: Practice the Recessional (walking out):

The ceremony has just ended; the bride will take her bouquet from the Maid or Matron of Honor. Then the bride will exit with the groom. Once the groom and bride are all the way at the end of the aisle then starting with the MOH and BM, they will meet in the middle and walk down the aisle, then the rest of the wedding party in order. They will then be followed by the flower girl and the ring bearer, parents, and grandparents.

** TIP: Set a distance everyone will wait before they start walking. Typically you should wait till they are half way down the aisle. **

Step #7: The Processional (walking in):

Photo Credit: Anto Williams Photography
Ceremony in the Bostonian Room

Now that you and your wedding party know where to stand and how to walk out, its now time to practice the processional. The order of who should walk in goes as follows, first is the officiant, they can either down the aisle or stage right. Second is the groom who can either walk down with the officiant, his parents, or enter from stage right. Then it’s the grandparents of the groom then the bride’s grandparents. The groom’s parents and then, the mother of the bride. After your bridal party will then enter, and there are a few options for that as well. You can have the groomsmen and the BM already be standing up with the groom so that the bridesmaids and MOH walk in alone, or they can be paired up and walk in together, it’s whatever you as a couple choose. Make sure you line up the bridal party in order of how close they will be standing to the bride and groom. Furthest away from the bride and groom walk down the aisle first, MOH and BM are the last of the wedding party to walk down the aisle. Then the ring bearer and flower girl walk down the aisle. There is usually a separate piece of music for the Bride to walk down the aisle, and the officiant will usually say “if everyone will please rise”. Then the bride and father of the bride, (or whoever is walking her down the aisle) will enter. Once they reach the alter or stage the father will shake hands or hug the groom. Then the bride, he will join their hands together before taking his seat.

Step #8: DO IT AGAIN!!

Now that you have practiced both the processional and recessional practice it again! Run through the whole thing again now that everyone has had one run through, this way you can run through it to make sure the wedding party gets it correct for the big day.

** TIP: Wear the shoes you plan to wear during the ceremony, so this way you are use to walking in them during the ceremony, and can get comfortable with them. **

  • Variations:

LGBTQ Ceremonies:

At The Lantana we work with many same sex couples, one thing we notice with the ceremonies is they are totally customizable to the couple, and usually don’t take a traditional route. Customizing your ceremony lets you reflect on your relationship as a couple while also adding in some elements from modern weddings. The order that the processional and recessional are is completely up to you. Sometimes the couple enters together after the wedding party has entered, or they don’t have any wedding party. Sometimes they both are already at the alter and nether walk down the aisle. Its all up to you as the couple and we encourage all couples to be creative with the ceremony and figure out what works for you.

There is a lot that goes into running a ceremony rehearsal since you want it to be perfect for your big day. The person in charge of your rehearsal should be either your coordinator at your ceremony site or your wedding planner, if you have one. Or you can choose a close family member or friend that will take charge and make sure everyone stays on task.

We hope this helps you in running your ceremony rehearsals smoothly and efficiently.

Photo Credit: DB Photography Boston
Design & Decor: Cruzan Affairs
Bostonian Room
Bostonian Room
Normandy Ballroom