Rehearsal Dinners are always a blast. More low-key than the wedding dinner the next day, everyone’s super excited for the upcoming nuptials, and it allows the bride, groom, bridal party, and parents some quality time to relax, eat some good food, and have a fabulous time before the big day!

But sometimes people forget about the actual purpose behind the Rehearsal Dinner – the Rehearsal! It’s an important element of the wedding ceremony, and can really help to alleviate stress on the day of the wedding.

I don’t always suggest having a rehearsal – if you’re having a very straightforward wedding ceremony (no rituals or ceremonies in the ceremony itself, a minimal wedding party, no music changes or cues), it’s not always necessary. But I do recommend having a rehearsal if you have more than three people on each side of the wedding party, children involved in any way, shape or form, or any rituals or traditions that you may want to practice. It’s also a great way to have everyone in the wedding party know who everyone else is on the day of, which can make everything run really smoothly on your wedding day.

The whole bridal party!  The people standing where honored guests, like grandparents and parents, who walked down the aisle and then were seated.

The whole bridal party! The people standing where "honored guests," like grandparents and parents, who walked down the aisle and then were seated.

My rehearsals usually last about 45 minutes – much longer than the actual wedding ceremony! I usually begin by introducing myself, and giving a brief explanation of what we’re going to be doing. I love when the bridal party will introduce themselves, as it makes it easier for me to know who everyone is!

The Bride & Groom show the bridesmaids where to stand

The Bride & Groom practice breaking the glass!

We start by practicing the processional. Everyone lines up in the order that they’re going to enter in. It usually helps if your day of coordinator, venue contact, or very helpful friend can be there to make sure everyone is lined up. If the DJ or band can be there, awesome – if not, we’ll practice without music (and I’ll make sure to go over the cues with them before the ceremony the next day). I’ll show everyone where I am going to stand at the front, and then we’ll start walking!

The Bridal Party, all lined up

The Bridesmaids, all lined up

Once everyone gets to the front, we can figure out how everyone is going to stand, so people can know where they’re supposed to go. The great thing about rehearsals is how casual they are! People can be shifted and moved and changed to make sure everything is just perfect at the front.

Practicing the Rings

Practicing the Rings

We can also establish how the bride and groom will stand in relation to the officiant – I prefer my couples to face each other, or (ideally) face catty corner, slightly out towards their friends and family. You get great photos this way, can see each others’ faces, and you don’t have to stare at me the entire time (believe me, I’m not going anywhere).

The Bride & groom practice breaking the glass

The bride & groom show the bridesmaids where to stand

We’ll run through the ceremony (quickly – “cue to cue,” so to speak), then practice the kiss (yay!) and the recessional.

Then we do it all again! Just to make sure everyone knows where to go.

Practicing the Recessional! Her groosman partner couldnt make it to the rehearsal.

Practicing the Recessional: Her groomsman partner couldn't make it to the rehearsal.

Practicing the Recessional: A groomsmen had to drop out of the wedding, so two bridesmaids recessed together.

Practicing the Recessional: A groomsmen had to drop out of the wedding, so two bridesmaids recessed together.

As I said, it’s great if a representative from your DJ or band or whoever is doing the music for your ceremony can be there – as well as your venue contact, day of coordinator, or very helpful friend who will be lining the party up before hand. This is especially helpful if the bride and groom are NOT seeing each other before the ceremony – so you can figure out the logistics of them avoiding each other until their big moments!

The Happy Bridal Party, right after the ceremony!

The Happy Bridal Party, right after the ceremony!

I don’t have a lot of photos of rehearsals, so the photos scattered through this entry are from my best friend’s wedding in June, when the boyfriend acted as my official photographer for all wedding related events. Afterwards, we went out for a great dinner of pizza and beer at a very cool restaurant that was full of used books – and everyone got to take home two of their own! What a fun rehearsal dinner.

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