Skip to Content

Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal Guide

Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal Guide
*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

Getting so close to the wedding day gives a feeling of excitement to everyone involved. Wedding ceremonies are an important part of the wedding day so it is essential to have a smooth and seamless ceremony. 

Having a wedding ceremony rehearsal will help organize everyone involved and make sure that everyone is on the same page. It is important that everyone knows their role in the wedding ceremony so a rehearsal would be beneficial. 

A wedding ceremony rehearsal will help run-through things like the processional line-up, order of ceremony, timing, pacing and other details before the wedding day. 

There are different variations of a wedding ceremony depending on your preference and religious affiliation. But in this guide, we will cover the traditional non-denominational wedding ceremony rehearsal. 

couples at wedding rehearsal

What Do You Do at a Wedding Rehearsal? 

A wedding ceremony rehearsal is a full run-through of the entire wedding ceremony. From practicing the walking in and walking out of the ceremony, from the proper places where everyone should be during the ceremony and a quick and straightforward review of the ceremony events. 

Who Should Be in Charge? 

The person who usually organizes and makes the cue during the processional line-up at the start of the ceremony is the wedding coordinator or planner, if you have one. If so, that person should be in charge of the wedding ceremony rehearsal. 

If you don’t have a wedding planner or coordinator, a friend or a family member can be able to help with the rehearsal and the cueing for the processional line-up at the start of the ceremony. 

Who Should Be at the Rehearsal? 

All the wedding party should attend the wedding ceremony rehearsal. This usually includes the bride and the groom, the parents, the wedding party, any readers or special performers, the officiant, ushers and musicians if you hired one. 

When Should the Rehearsal Take Place?

The wedding ceremony rehearsal should be a day or two before your wedding day and is usually followed by a wedding rehearsal dinner. 

How Long Should It Last?

The wedding ceremony rehearsal should not last more than an hour. It usually lasts from 30 minutes up to an hour depending if you need to practice more, or if you have a big wedding party.

What is The Dress Code?

Depending on the plans, the dress code is totally up to you. If you have a rehearsal dinner afterwards that requires a semi-formal attire, let your wedding party know. 

How to Run a Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal?

To run a smooth and efficient wedding ceremony rehearsal, here are some guidelines and steps for a successful rehearsal. 

Introductions 

Introductions are a great way to start the wedding ceremony rehearsal. By introducing everyone at the wedding party, this will break the ice and help people be more familiar with the wedding party and the processional order.

kids practicing playing instruments for wedding

Set the Music

During the rehearsal, it would be a good idea to time your music correctly to the processional and recessional. Whether you’re having recorded music playing on the speakers or a live musician, make sure the musician or the person who will be in charge of the music knows the cue and when to play the specific music. 

Coordinate with them when to start and stop playing the music, what music to play when the bride enters and so on. Practice the processional entrance together with the music. 

Proper Places During the Ceremony

Gather everyone and show them to their proper places in which they will be standing during the ceremony.

The bride, maid of honor and bridesmaids standing on the left side while the groom, best man and groomsmen lined up on the right side and they should be evenly spaced. 

The bridesmaids should hold their bouquets in front of them and groomsmen should either keep their hands clasped in front of them or at the back of their body. 

The officiant should be in the middle, the couple should be facing the altar and the bridesmaids and groomsmen should face the guests. The parents sit directly behind their respective children. 

Practice the Recessional

When the wedding couple kisses and it is time for the presentation of the couple, practice walking out of the ceremony in proper order. The bride will take the bouquet from the maid of honor and will exit first with the groom. 

Usually the wedding party would exit in pairs followed by the flower girl and ring bearer, then the parents and the grandparents. There should be a space between each person exiting the ceremony so rehearse on the timing when the next person should start walking. 

This is the time to discuss where the wedding party should go after the recessional. If you are doing a receiving line, brief the wedding party of the plans so they could also help with leading the guests. 

If the wedding party needs to stay at the venue for the pictures, advise them and agree on a meeting point after the ceremony so everyone would be on the same page. 

Practice the Processional 

Processional is the entrance of the wedding party to the ceremony. Line everyone in order in which they will enter. In a traditional non-denominational wedding processional order, the first one who will enter is the officiant. 

The groom comes next to enter either by walking with his parents or entering from the stage right. The best man comes next and then the bridesmaids and groomsmen. 

The bridesmaids and groomsmen can walk in pairs or individually. Afterwards, the maid of honor, flower girl and ring bearer enters. 

During the entrance, there should be a space between each one, so set a timing when the next person will have to start walking. Once all the wedding party has entered, the officiant will ask everyone to stand up for the entrance of the bride. 

father hugs daughter during a wedding rehearsal

The Hand-off 

Once the bride and the father of the bride (or whoever will be walking her down the aisle) gets to the front of the ceremony, the father will kiss the bride signifying their blessing and acknowledge the groom by shaking his hand or giving him a hug. 

The bride will give the bouquet to the maid of honor and then the bride and groom will face each other and hold hands. 

Run-Through of the Wedding Ceremony 

If the officiant is present at the wedding ceremony rehearsal, it would be good to run through the basics and ceremony events to ensure that the ceremony will run smoothly. 

Let everyone know the order of the ceremony and take note of the ceremony activities such as the candle lighting, wedding ceremony readings and presentation of the rings. This will help everyone involved to know what to expect on the actual wedding ceremony and what needs to be done. 

You may practice the processional and recessional one more time or as many as needed to make sure everyone would be ready for the wedding day. Once the rehearsal is done, ask everyone if they have any questions regarding the ceremony. 

This is also a good time to talk about when and where to meet for the actual wedding. With the wedding ceremony rehearsal done, everyone will be prepared and excited for the big day. 

Resources: