Do We Go On 3, Or Is It 3 And Then Go? The Wedding Rehearsal
It sounds a little silly doesn’t it? Needing a rehearsal for the wedding? You walk in, the officiant talks, you talk, you kiss, you walk/trot/dance out. What’s so hard about that?
Well, nothing really. The rehearsal isn’t about actually rehearsing. It’s about making sure everyone who is going to be involved is on the same page as to what order everything happens in. What order are you standing in, who is escorting who in, who is carrying the rings, when are you doing the reading, when will you take the bride’s bouquet, when you move up to the altar (usually in religious ceremonies), so on and so forth. In theory it could be done over pizza with just a brief conversation, but it’s always easier to actually walk through it. Physically miming something makes it easier to remember later, so it avoids confusion. Most of the time.
This didn’t stop Geoff’s mom from almost lighting our unity candle after she lit Geoff’s taper candle, but hey it was funny.
Don’t worry, she didn’t actually do it.
Love you Mom #2 🙂
The rehearsal is the live “this is where you need to be when” message. It’s usually short, so no worries about “oooooh my gosh we’re going to be here forever.” This is also a great time to bring anything to the ceremony site you will need the next day (provided you’re able to leave things overnight). Bring the programs, the candles, the decorations (but don’t put them up yet!), anything you can think of. Do NOT, however, leave dresses, suits/tuxes, or the marriage license there. While it is likely that nothing will happen to the things you leave overnight, a room full of candles and programs is not as enticing as a room full of expensive attire.
The other big advantage of the rehearsal is it is a guaranteed meeting with your officiant to finalize the ceremony. Go through the whole thing, beginning to end, and make sure it includes everything you’ve talked about. Err on the side of caution and spell it all out. When Geoff’s sister got married the pastor forgot to do the “you may now kiss the bride line” because it wasn’t written down and it just got lost in the spur of the moment. Since we had the same pastor, we made sure it was written into his little pamphlet!
The best part of the rehearsal? The rehearsal dinner (or lunch, or whatever is appropriate for the time of day!). Yes, you need to have one. The same way the reception is a thank you to your guests for coming to the wedding, the rehearsal dinner is a thank you to the people who took time to do the rehearsal with you. A lot of couples will do it at a restaurant, but it doesn’t have to be fancy by any means. More and more couples are choosing to do a get together with pizza and beer or a barbecue at their house.
The only people who need to be at the dinner are those who were at the rehearsal (and their respective SO’s), but it is not uncommon for couples to invite their out-of-town family members who have already arrived to join in as well. This is not required (and not expected in most circles), but is certainly a nice gesture if you can afford to do so.
The reason I think it’s the best part is that it is forced relaxation. You have no doubt been running around the past day or two (or four) trying to get things done, and the wedding day is going to be a whirlwind of activity. The rehearsal dinner is your time to actually sit down and spend time with the people closest to you. You get to celebrate what is about to happen in a relaxed environment, and you get to forget about the way the napkins are folded and when the flowers will be delivered for a few hours. It’s the first time in a few days you get to say “wow, we’re finally actually getting married!”
So sit back and enjoy it. Have some fun with the walkthrough. Make some jokes. Spend time with the people that you’ve chosen to make your day more special. Relax a little! And most importantly, remember that it’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t go right. At the end of it all, you’re still married!