Wedding rehearsal tips - do I really need one and if I do, what do we do?
I honestly don't really like rehearsals... here's why!
The ceremony has been created especially for my couples, so the three of us know exactly what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. 9/10, the ceremony set up isn't completed until an hour or so before the ceremony, so we can't really practice where we'll all be standing - and it could change on the day depending on weather.
When we "practice", it can take some of the magic of the day away, as everyone focusses on doing their steps perfectly as they practiced. And when we throw lots of opinions in the mix the day before the wedding, it can possibly cause a lot more stress for my gorgeous couples... and I don't want them feeling like this 24 hours before their special day... but hey! It's not about me - everyone is different and some people feel much more relaxed and at peace once they have done a brief walk through of how everything will unfold (and to me, that is the most important thing - that my couples feel as calm, loved up and chillaxed, as they prepare for one of the best days of their lives...)
So if you think a rehearsal is for you, here are some tips:
Work out where the bridal party will stand, and arrange everyone in their positions. Traditionally, the bride is on the left (if I'm a guest facing the front), and the groom is on the left.
Bride and bridesmaids can practice walking down the aisle (I wouldn't practice with the music, as I don’t like my brides having a "cue"… On the day, anything can happen and if you miss that cue, you'll freak out! It's best just to focus on walking down the aisle to the man of your dreams, and don't worry about the timing. If there's too much music left, we'll fade it out... if the song finishes, we can start it again if you're still ages away, or we watch in awe as you approach, and if the vibe is right, we can have a little clap and cheer! It's about taking in the moment, and not stressing the small stuff!)
If the bride is being "given away" or escorted down the aisle, Mum/Dad/son/brother/special person walks with her to the end of the aisle, then shakes the grooms hand/gives him a hug, hugs/kisses the bride, and then takes a seat/moves to stand with the other guests.
Next, you might like to mention who will be presenting the rings, and have a chat about how they will be presented. (Unless there is a special box/pillow, I generally recommend having the rings lose. The ring bearer can hold them out flat in their hand, then the bride takes the groom's ring and holds it tightly in her right hand, holding out her left hand. The groom then takes the brides ring, and gets ready to say his vows and "put a ring on it!" Woo hoo!
Finally, the bridal party practice all walking back down the aisle together, linking arms, doing a dance, forming a conga line...!
And then it's time to have a nice early, quiet night - fresh and ready for the big day ahead! You may like to forward this last little instruction to the groomsmen... ;)