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Dan Jones, Wedding Officiant

Embracing Ceremony Blog

Wedding Rehearsal, Part Three – Conducting Your Own

You’ve decided that you’re confident in running your own rehearsal. Be sure to talk through the details of the ceremony, particularly the Processional, with your wedding officiant. Picture in your mind how you would like the ceremony to flow. When I work with a couple I give them as many ideas as they like on little touches for making the ceremony appear more polished and emotionally complete.

When you’ve assembled everyone at the rehearsal site let them know that this should only take 20-30 minutes max if they give you their undivided attention. That is the biggest challenge of the rehearsal. It is often a great social hour which is understandable with friends and family getting together, often with people from out of town. Withhold the alcohol until you get through the rehearsal!

It is counterintuitive, but the starting place for your rehearsal is to line everyone up at the front of the venue as they’ll be standing during the ceremony. A bride at a recent Taos wedding rehearsal reported to me that by employing this technique she was able to make a key visual change at the last minute. This is especially true if you’re trying to line a large party up by height. Once everyone knows their place, make sure they get a visual feel for where to stand once they’ve come up the aisle – critical for the first ones up that will become the guideposts!

Next, line up your wedding party at the back of the venue as they will do for the actual ceremony. Rehearse walking up the aisle. Pay attention to timing and music cues. The bride cannot monitor anything at the actual ceremony, so she should ask someone that is not in the wedding party to be her assistant and particularly to provide the cues to her. This is especially important when the bride and groom have been hiding from each other for the day.

For smoothness walk through the Processional a couple of times. If there are other cues or movements that happen during the ceremony that need to be addressed, do so at this time. But your only other critical rehearsal is that of the Recessional. You want your attendants to walk back down the aisle poised and graceful and not looking like they want to be first in line at the bar!

Want more information on this topic? Email Dan at Dan@EmbracingCeremony.com

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