I offer wedding rehearsals for every single wedding I coordinate for, whether I planned the entire wedding or not. And while most couples take me up on that offer, there are some who decide against it.
"All of our bridal party has been in at least 5 weddings" is the common reason why people deny a rehearsal, but there are other instances where people are coming from out of town or there just isn't a day that would work for the rehearsal.
And that's okay!
I am not going to tell you that a rehearsal is 100% necessary...because it absolutely isn't. I have done plenty of weddings where I quickly told everyone where they would be standing at the ceremony site right before they headed down the aisle, and everything went without a hitch. But in the cases where you have the ability to hold a rehearsal, I would always recommend it.
And here is why:
The Line Up
Whether you have been in a wedding before or not, every wedding is different. You may have stood in a "V" shape at one wedding and on stairs at another. Or for a church wedding, you may have been sitting for the majority of the wedding in a specific seat assigned to you and the rest of the wedding party.
So for that reason, it is always a great idea to give your wedding party a practice run so they know where they will be standing or sitting throughout the ceremony, and where they need to walk so no one is confused.
The bride and groom have got it easy :)
Not every wedding party has an equal number of bridesmaids as they do groomsmen. And in these cases, we typically match up two bridesmaids with one groomsman, for example. While it's nice and simple when everyone just pairs up with each other, there are instances where it is still simple, but needs to be brought to everyone's attention so they know WHO they are walking with for both the processional and recessional.
Yes, sometimes it is different! Is a groomsman walking your mom down the aisle and then looping back around into the "groomsmen processional"? There are so many ways to run a ceremony and every ceremony it slightly different in that way!
The Maid of Honor Duties
I give the maid of honor 3 duties:
1. Take the bouquet from the bride once she gets down the aisle.
2. Make the bride's dress look pretty for the duration of the ceremony.
3. Give the bride back her bouquet (because she will forget) before she starts her recessional!
Yes, I could tell the Maid of Honor these "duties" the day of the wedding, but I believe it's best to tell her when there are less jitters in her system.
Speaking of jitters...
On the day of the rehearsal, everyone is excited. But it is a relaxed excitement. And on the day of the wedding, everyone has more of a jittery excitement. The wedding party is smiling and giggly and talkative and doesn't really want to listen to what I have to say...and I don't blame them! They want to hurry up and get their best friend married!
So it is much easier to explain to everyone what to do and when to do it, when there are less jitters in their system.
The Little Ones
What about your flower girl and ring bearer? It's always best to practice with them beforehand (and then again on the wedding day) so they know where they are walking and where they can find their parents to sit for the rest of the ceremony, once (or if) they make it down the aisle!
And on top of that? If something is practiced just once or twice the day or week before, everyone is more likely to look comfortable and natural up there - just as you want them :)
At the end of every rehearsal, I group everyone together (parents included) and go over some important details:
1. I give out my cell phone number. And the #1 rule is: DO NOT CALL THE BRIDE OR GROOM ON THE WEDDING DAY. No texting, emailing, and no ifs ands or buts. If you forget something, your dog eats your tux, or you are stranded on the side of the freeway, call ME. If you don't have a coordinator, select your Maid of Honor or a bridesmaid for this duty. I promise, you'll thank me!
2. What time do you need to be there on the wedding day? For some reason, I ask this question every time and there is always silence among everyone...including the bride and groom. And so, I remind everyone - the groomsmen need to be here at this time, the bridesmaids need to be here at this time, and the parents need to be here at this time.
A rehearsal really only takes about 10 minutes total (I leave an hour because everyone will ALWAYS be late!) so if it means you feel comfortable up there, then 10 minutes is well worth your time!
At the end of every rehearsal, I group everyone together. And I go over some important details: