Every so often I get asked to attend a wedding #ceremony rehearsal, I agree it is certainly great to have some sort of walk thru of the big day. Can I just forewarn that while this will help both the adults and the children- it will not guarantee that the children will then co-operate on the day (and sometimes the same can be said for forgetful adults!). Truly, a childs temperament and willingness to conform… its up to the alignment of the moons, stars, the butterflies in the area and any other beautiful thing beyond our human control. I just suggest you cross your fingers and hope for the best with kids (and of course, have lots of food so they don’t get hungry and sweet food to bribe them with.. that’s the kind of mum I am).
So you’re planning to do a mini #rehearsal with your crew- what things do you need to consider? Do you know exactly where you want to have the ceremony, the exact spot you want to stand? Often couples elect a beach of park etc however they haven’t pinpointed the exact spot. I suggest that you wander to that beach the week or so before at around the same time as the ceremony and check where the best spot will be according to the light. A healthy mix between enough light for the photographer to capture your stunning pictures and not too much light that you are squinting into the sun. If you have a great photographer who wants to be involved maybe send them a pic and ask for their advice.
If you are planning a summer wedding, you might also want to consider additional plans for when its extra hot. Is there somewhere you could hold the ceremony that still ticks your boxes (a place with a view) and provides some shade for at least some of the guests, at least the elderly or expecting mums etc.
Once you have decided exactly where you wish to hold the service, discuss who will stand where? And practice the procession down to the aisle. Work out who will walk with who and in what order and then where they will stand when they get to the alter. In the practice, play the song you plan to use so you can check the timing. Will you be using one song or two? A song for the bridal party to walk down and then a separate song for the #bride and/or #groom. How will you be playing the music on the day? If I am your celebrant I will always bring along a device that can play your music and we will discuss that prior (it can connect via usb or Bluetooth)
Ensure everyone knows where they will be standing, or sitting during the ceremony.
Where do you plan to sign the documents? Consider if there is a table available at the location or if you will need to organise one to be there. Will you ‘dress’ the table? That is, will you want to take a tablecloth to cover it up? Will you use your flowers to decorate it? Consider the view behind the table so that the pictures of you signing your wedding documentation are equally pretty. What songs will play while you sign the documents.
RINGS Who will have the rings for the ceremony, use this time to remind them of their responsibility. Take a copy of your ceremony with you so you can read thru it (you may wish to practice the things that you have to say, your vows, and the ring exchange) and explain when the rings will be required (usually after the legal vows).
If you are including other people in the ceremony, try to have them present for the rehearsal and explain where you want them to be. Will they be seated in the front row and where did you want them to stand while they do their poem or song etc? It is best that they have received their reading at least a week or two before the wedding to ensure they have time to practice at home and feel comfortable reading it.
And lastly practice exiting from the ceremony, ensure the newly weds are first to walk down the aisle and the bridal party allow them to reach the end of the aisle before they follow them. This will then allow the couple to have their photos up the aisle without anyone in the background. Practice this ‘recessional’ walk, with music again, so everyone can get a feel for the timing and who walks with you.
Chose an upbeat and romantic song to finish off your ceremony- its going to set the mood for the rest of the after party! Its also a good idea to know exactly how you plan to fill those hours after the ceremony, are the newly weds and the bridal party leaving for private photos, are the guests expected to wait at the beach or make their way to the reception, did you want to capture a large group photo before everyone leaves? Whatever you plan to do, if you can let your celebrant know your ideas he or she (or me!) will be able to assist you in guiding the guests to where they are needed to be.
Have fun at the rehearsal! Take some cake or bubbles! You’ll only have one wedding rehearsal its all part of the memories you are creating with your chosen loved one and your favorite people.