Not to be confused with the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony rehearsal is one of most important parts of the wedding planning process. Like the rehearsal dinner, it generally takes place the day before the wedding. It’s a great time for the family and wedding party to meet each other, if they haven’t done so already. The main reason for doing a ceremony rehearsal, however, is to familiarize everyone with the ceremony script and procedure, where the wedding party stands during the ceremony, how the wedding party will walk down the aisle, and where the parents and other VIPs will be sitting. Rehearsals generally last about an hour although I’ve seen them completed in as little as 20 minutes.
It’s imperative that your officiant attend the rehearsal. Having your officiant there to answer any questions that may arise is invaluable. I am amazed, though, at the number of rehearsals that take place without the officiant present. One of the reasons is that many officiants charge an extra fee to attend the rehearsal. It may cost a bit more to have him or her there, but it will be money well spent. Having your officiant at the rehearsal will make everything run smoother on wedding day and will put everyone at ease knowing what to expect.
If your DJ will be providing music and microphones for your ceremony, it’s important that they attend the rehearsal as well. For a DJ, knowing the music cues and how people will be walking down the aisle is very important. In addition, I use the rehearsal to introduce myself to the wedding party and parents and to let them know about their upcoming toasts and spotlight dances at the reception the following day. I also review the ceremony transcript with the officiant so I know exactly where the songs need to start.