While all of you know that I would highly recommend hiring a coordinator, you may or may not have the
convenience of having your coordinator to run your rehearsal! And a rehearsal is 100% needed, whether it be at the actual ceremony site or in a parking lot near your house! In order for everything to run smoothly and exactly how you want it, it can't hurt to let everyone know where they're standing and what they're supposed to be doing! So if you are going to be running your rehearsal or just need to know what order to place everyone for your coordinator's reference, I am going to take you through that every step of the way!
A couple of tips to remind everyone before starting:
1. DO NOT lock your knees - Long story short, this can cause you to faint. So yes, you can straighten your legs during the ceremony but just make sure your wedding party knows to at least bend your knees and not keep them locked for the duration of the ceremony.
2. Groomsmen need to leave the sunglasses behind - Of course this is up to you and what you would like your photos to look like, but if you don't want them to wear them, tell them at the rehearsal.
3. Bridesmaids hold two hands on your bouquet and keep your thumbs at your belly button - For some reason, we tend to bring our shoulders up and raise our bouquets which does not make for flattering photos...floating head anyone??
4. And finally, what time and where are they going to be meeting on the day of the wedding?? - Make sure you drill this into their heads because there is nothing worse than a missing groomsman half an hour before your ceremony starts!
Alright, so now that we've gotten those important tid-bits out of the way, first start by lining everyone up the way you would like them to stand at your ceremony.
Now we have everyone lined up so they all know where they will be standing during the ceremony. Make sure
the guys are all standing at a 45 degree angle facing inward toward the girls, and the girls are standing at a 45 degree angle facing the guys. Most likely, your bridesmaids will already be doing this before you tell them to and you will have to spend about 10 minutes making sure the guys look perfect, but that is beside the point ;)
Guys: Hands held in front of you - right hand grabbing the left wrist and a fisted left hand. You can tell them to put their hands behind their backs, in their pockets, or down to their sides but make sure you specify so
it looks uniform.
Ladies: Bouquet held with two hands and thumb at your belly button.
Maid of Honor: Holding the bride's bouquet as soon as she is handed off to her soon-to-be husband and don't forget to give it back to her once she is pronounced a wife! She CANNOT walk down that aisle without that bouquet! Sound good?
Best Man: You are in charge of the rings...not the ring bearer! Yes, he will want to hold the rings so give him fake rings to carry own the aisle :)
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer: Now, what I generally suggest is to have them walk down the aisle and have their parents conveniently sitting in the first couple of rows on an end seat so they can sit
with them throughout the ceremony. What 3-year-old is going to be able to stand through even a 20 minute ceremony? I have yet to find one! In this case, they will not take part in the recessional at the end of the ceremony. If you would like them to stand up with the rest of the wedding party, they can either stand on the ends (as shown above) or in between the Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid 2/Best Man and Groomsman 2.
Bride and Groom: You have it easy - just do what the officiant tells you to do. He will take you step-by-step through the ceremony. "Now face each other and hold hands." "Please face me." "You may now kiss your
bride." :) ....and if you didn't know already, that last one is your cue that the ceremony is coming to a close and you are now a Mrs.!!! Crazy, huh?
We made it through the hard part! Woohoo!! And no, I have not forgotten about your parents and grandparents. They get this stuff a lot more quickly than the rest of the bunch so we're
saving them for last!
Now it is time to show your bridal party what to do for the recessional. And this is super easy - all you
have to say is "Follow the leader."
Here is the order in which everyone will walk (men making a fist with their right hand and holding the fist at their hip bone, ladies holding the bouquet in their right hand with their thumb at their belly button and linking onto their corresponding man's arm)
Bride and Groom
Maid of Honor and Best Man
Bridesmaid 2 and Groomsman 2
Bridesmaid 3 and Groomsman 3
Bridesmaid 4 and Groomsman 4
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer (if they stood at the ceremony)
Bride's Father and Mother
Groom's Father and Mother
Alright so now that we made
it through that, the recessional will be a breeze! Now there are many ways
to do your processional but I will demonstrate one where the guys and girls will
be walking alone. So here is the order (which depends on how you are formatting
it, but just one example!)
Bride's Mom with Escort
(all men walk around the side of the ceremony site, not down the aisle)
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl & Ring Bearer (generally walk together if they are young)
Bride and her Father (or whoever will be walking her down the aisle)
Now, there are so many ways you can do this and there really is not right or wrong way. Some variations
- Groomsmen walking in before parents and grandparent
- Groomsmen escorting bridesmaids to their places (exact opposite of recessional order)
- Various religions have different processional and recessional orders
No matter what, it is your ceremony and you may set the order however you would like!
Now it does get a little complicated when you get into step parents but just remember, great grandparents
first, grandparents next, parents next and always have the groom's family go first in comparison to the bride's (ie groom parents then bride parents).
*If you are part of the groom's family, the woman will walk on the right side and if you are part of the bride's family, the woman will be on the left of the man.
**The Bride's side is the left (if you are facing the altar) and the Groom's side is on the right! But in my eyes, we are all family at this point so who cares :)
I know I just swarmed you with a ton of information but if worse comes to worse, make it up and stick to your plan! Email me if you have any specific questions and I would be glad to put together your processional and recessional orders for you! Until next time!!