A wedding rehearsal will tie up all the loose ends and set your mind at ease. The rehearsal will be held at the ceremony site, usually the evening before the wedding. This ensures that everyone will be able to attend, even if they are coming from out of town. It is not mandatory that the rehearsal be held the night before the wedding. If all can attend, you can have it two or three days before. This can make the night before your wedding a little less hectic. Make sure that the bridal party is there, as well as the soloists, musicians, clergy, readers, and your parents.
To ensure a timely start to the rehearsal, you may want to tell people to arrive 15 minutes earlier than scheduled in case anyone is habitually late.
Your attendants spouses or partners and any family or friends invited to the rehearsal dinner need not be at the rehearsalthey can meet you at the rehearsal dinner site.
Your clergy member should take charge and give everyone direction. You will go over a shortened version of the entire ceremony, practicing your vows to make sure you feel comfortable with them. You will do a walk through, going over the timing of the attendants and your walk down the aisle to the music. Discuss seating arrangements, informing the ushers where your family and the grooms family will sit. Also let the ushers know when to seat all of the parents and where.
Go over the receiving line and be sure everyone knows his/her position. See ceremony and receiving line formations diagrams under: For Brides: My Bridal Suite: Ceremony Formations. If youre planning on having the line outside, make arrangements to move it inside the church or reception hall if it should rain. This is also a good opportunity to pass out the wedding day assignments. These checklists outline everyones responsibilities on the day of the wedding.
The Rehearsal Dinner
Now, on to the rehearsal dinner. The grooms parents traditi
onally pay. If they are from out of town, you and your family should do everything possible to help with the preparations.
The list of invited should include:
Bride and groom.
Brides/grooms parents and gr. parents.
Brides/grooms siblings and partners.
Bridesmaids and husbands/fiancées.
Groomsmen and wives/fiancées.
Child attendants and their parents.
Readers, soloists, greeters, and their spouses/fiancées.
Officiant and spouse.
If finances and space permit . . .
Close relatives in from out-of-town.
The rehearsal dinner can be any type of party, as long as it does not overshadow the wedding reception. Restaurants, hotels, and private clubs located near the ceremony site are excellent places to have the dinner. You might suggest it be held where your out-of-town guests or relatives are staying. A backyard barbecue, pool, or pizza party is another option.
Out-of-town relatives might appreciate spending a few extra hours with family members. If the budget does not allow you to have them at the rehearsal dinner, you could have a cocktail party in one of the hospitality suites at a hotel where the majority are staying. Another option is to have a relative hold a get-together at their house.
Rehearsal Dinner Festivities
At some point in the evening, the best man offers a toast to the bridal couple. Often, the groom will follow with a toast to the bride, her parents and his. The toasts can be longer and more personal in this intimate setting than at the reception.
The rehearsal dinner provides the perfect setting for the bride and groom to give the attendants their gifts.
The evening can be a great way for everyone in the wedding party to get to know one another better. Space permitting, games such as charades, musical chairs, or other games can help break the ice. A slide show of the bridal c
ouples history with each attendant is a personal touch sure to bring tears, laughter, and an added closeness to the evening.
Try not to let the rehearsal dinner run too late, because everyone will need a good nights sleep for the big day ahead.
Be sure to check out the Rehearsal Worksheet under: For Brides: My Bridal Suite