I have been to many a wedding ceremony rehearsal this past season with lots of wonderful clients.
It interests me how many, whoever they may be, can get quite concerned about the rehearsal and are almost fearful of asking questions or putting a foot wrong. This is such a shame as, in fact, it should be the opposite: it’s your opportunity to ensure you know exactly what to do, say and indeed where to put your feet on the big day itself.
As a planner, I will always attend if possible (rehearsals are often the day before the wedding, so occasionally I am busy setting other elements up) but it is the one part of the proceedings where I absolutely take a back seat and see my role as listening and understanding how the minister plans to ‘run the show’. It is his/ her ceremony and is indeed a religious act.
Generally the minister will quite literally ‘walk’ you through the service, showing you where to stand, when to sit, where key members of the bridal party should sit etc. You will probably run through your vows and get a really good feel for what to expect during the service.
A great minister will cover all the likely questions you may have, but in case they don’t, or perhaps they’re a locum and not especially used to your particular Church, I would always suggest you, and your bridal party, come away with answers to the following:
- The order of the processional
- Who will sit where?
- To whom will I give my flowers for the duration of the service?
- Who comes up for the signing of the Register?
- Where should readers sit? (if readers can attend the rehearsal and have a practise speaking from the lectern this is a big help to them on the day too)
- The order of the recessional
- May we throw confetti and if so where?
- Where should the bridal car (and any guest transport) park and if necessary are there cones or similar to save spaces?
- May I try walking down the aisle slowly so I know how long it will take us?
…and the most important question…the one your ushers and Best Man will be asked by lots of guests on their arrival at Church..
- Where is the toilet?
It can be quite fun and definitely relaxes people. Churches are generally ‘quietly busy’ places so it is likely there may be cleaning, small group sessions etc going on at the same time, plus of course your florist may well be doing your flowers if you rehearse the evening before. Embrace this: everyone loves a wedding and everyone involved in Church life is rooting for you to have a wonderful, successful marriage ceremony.
If it is possible to have your organist there it can be a great help.
It is also very important to understand whether or not there is another wedding on your date and whether you are able to take the flowers from the Church to ‘recycle’ for use at your reception venue, however I would advise that you ask these questions well in advance of the rehearsal.
A final note…for Civil Ceremonies it is almost unheard of for a Registrar to hold any kind of rehearsal, simply due to lack of time and heavy workload. However, as a planner, I always try, if at all possible, to walk couples through the ceremony in the room/ space they will be marrying in as it can really calm the nerves.
Photo credits: Adam Hollier Photography
Flowers: The Fine Flowers Co