When you think of wedding rehearsal, what comes to your mind first? For most couples, it’s dinner—as in rehearsal dinner! I am all for celebration—and for food—so I know that rehearsal dinners are a wonderful thing. Just don’t forget that a rehearsal is also a great opportunity to make you and the wedding party feel confident and calm on your actual wedding day. Here are six ways to get the most out of your wedding rehearsal.
#1 Introduce everyone to each other.
It is so easy to forget that friends and family who you are really close to may not know each other. These days it is not uncommon to have loved ones from very different parts of your life like college, work, high school, sports or volunteer work. They may even live in different cities, states or countries. Use the rehearsal to unite your community and make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. Try this: Introduce your friends and include something thoughtful about why you are so glad they are in your life. It can be really short and still very meaningful like, “This is my best friend Sarah from high school. I learned how to bake with Sarah and she is the best cookie maker ever!” Everyone will feel more relaxed and loved because of your introductions.
#2 Take it seriously—but not too seriously (see #6).
The rehearsal is a your chance to review everything in advance of your big day. Yeah, it is also about catching up with all of your friends, many who have traveled great distances (see #1). So you may need to rally the group to get them to focus on the rehearsal before you party at dinner. Help the celebrant or wedding planner to get everyone’s attention and start on time—they will really appreciate it—and you and the wedding party will get more out of the rehearsal. Just remember that the point of the rehearsal is to run through the ceremony so don’t stress if it doesn’t go smoothly at first.
#3 Ask lots of questions.
The rehearsal is all about making sure you and the wedding party know what to do when. If anything is unclear, now is the time to ask. The celebrant is there to make sure that every detail—no matter how small—is explained in advance. Where should the flower girls and boys sit after they process? When do you hand off your bouquet to the maid of honor? Which direction should you face? Anything you are unclear about, just ask!
#4 Get to know the space.
That may sound kind of strange, but as someone who has performed many presentations, let me tell you that getting to know the physical arrangement of the space that you will be performing in (and yes, a wedding is a performance) helps to calm any nerves you many have. Look around and inspect the space. Familiarize yourself with the layout. Check out the floors in preparation for walking in high heels (and strappy heels at that ☺). Rehearsal is all about gaining comfort so that a new surrounding feels more familiar when the wedding actually takes place.
#5 Practice, Practice, Practice—but not for real.
Yes, you should practice walking in, practice passing your bouquet (a great excuse to make a sweet and simple practice-bouquet of wild flowers), practice having any readers walk up to the front, practice your exit and even practice smiling! However, a wedding rehearsal is not exactly the same as a dress rehearsal for a play where everyone practices their lines. The wedding rehearsal is your opportunity to block where you and everyone in the wedding party will stand, practice what actions you take and when and practice the flow of the ceremony. Leave the real vows and ring exchange for your wedding day!
#6 Have fun!
The rehearsal marks the start of the festivities for most weddings so take advantage of the celebratory feeling! Enjoy having all the attention, enjoy seeing all of your close family and friends, and enjoy your preparation for the wedding ceremony. Even though you are there to do the serious work of rehearsing your wedding, keep it light so that your wedding party feels like—well—a party! Have as much fun as possible because getting married—even the practice rehearsal—is a wonderful and happy event!