Your Special Day is coming up soon. You worked on every detail of it to ensure all is perfect and for any self-respecting wedding, you want to make sure your ceremony goes smoothly, without any glitches!
It's always good to work on this last aspect of your ceremony with the main actors part of it : The couple, parents, maid of honour, best man and other participants playing an active role in your ceremony. (i.e = officiant / planner)
Large scale wedding : When to schedule your rehearsal ?
The hardest part would be bringing together the people who are part of your bridal party - procession, or at least a maximum of them.
- Try to plan your rehearsal a few weeks before. Let them know well in advance, so as to find a date & time that will work for everyone and to which the venue will be open and available..
- A 2nd option, would be to plan it the day before. Ensuring that people travelling will be there and that everything is still fresh in your guests' minds.
If you're planning to elope or have a small intimate wedding, you don't really need a rehearsal ... Unless you would like to gather parents from both sides and bridal party the day / or 2 days prior to your wedding.
You can do a quick rehearsal and head to a nice dinner for instance; which for some people could give a chance to meet for the first time and break the ice before the wedding day! Some couples live far from their families or best friends, sometimes relatives never met in real life.
It's also a good occasion for the couple to thank family members and close friends for coming all the way and participating actively to make this wedding a success.
However, if you don't want to rehearse I would still recommend that you work on a list with the names of people involved + running order and passing it along. That way, everyone knows what to do the day of, stress-free!
Where to organize your rehearsal ?
Ideally, do your rehearsal in the same location where you planned your ceremony; in order to familiarize yourself in the space. If your venue is not available, no panic! The most important thing is to gather everyone concerned and assign their functions.
You can always meet in a park - backyard - living room .. provided you can fit everyone.
The day of rehearsal is not the day to plan the various steps of your ceremony. Work on it ahead of time and be clear, so the day of you only have to transmit specified information.
What you will go through during the rehearsal =
Walk - in / Walk - out. Bridal party = where to seat and stand.
Various steps of the ceremony = the unfolding of the different readings, marriage vows and rings exchange.
Testing sound system -microphone - sequence of music.
Wedding Processional Order.
One thing that won't change from the ceremony, no matter which religion you're part of, is the highlight of the bride walking down the aisle!
Then depending on your faith & believes, the processional order will change.
Traditional Christian Wedding Processional Order
The father of the bride typically walks down the right side of the aisle, having the bride on his left arm (facing the altar).
If the groom would like to walk down the aisle with his mom, he will escort her holding her with his right arm.
Traditional Jewish Wedding Processional Order
The Rabbi and/or Cantor: Either or both officiants would stand at the altar under the traditional chuppah to signal the beginning of the processional.
The Grandparents of the Bride: The bride's grandparents walk down the aisle first. Once they reach the front, they are then seated in the first row, on the right side. In Jewish ceremonies, the bride's family and guests sit on the right and the groom's family and friends sit on the left.
The Grandparents of the Groom: The groom's grandparents will follow. Once they, too, reach the front, they sit in the front row on the left side.
The Groomsmen: The groomsmen walk down the aisle in pairs starting with those standing farthest from the groom.
The Best Man: During the processional, the best man walks solo after the groomsmen and takes their place as the right-hand man of the groom.
The Groom: The groom proceeds to walk down the aisle accompanied by their parents, with his father on the left and his mother on the right.
The Bridesmaids: The bridesmaids then proceed in pairs, starting with those standing farthest from the bride.
The Maid or Matron of Honor: The bride's right-hand woman walks alone.
The Ring Bearer(s) and/or the Flower Girl(s): The ring bearer walks down the aisle followed by the flower girl. They then sit with their parents after walking down the aisle.
The Parents of the Bride and the Bride: The parents of the bride escort them down the aisle with the father on the bride's left arm and her mother on the right. Parents of both the bride and groom can stand under the chuppah with the couple if they wish.
Traditional Hindu Wedding Processional Order
The Groom, the Groom's Family, and Friends: "The groom enters with all of their friends and family in a celebration called a Baraat where traditionally they will arrive on a [white] horse as everyone dances around him. This festive Baraat marks the beginning of a Hindu wedding ceremony.
The Bride's Family: The bride's family will wait for the groom and his family to arrive. The parents of the bride may feed the groom sweets and exchange gifts or flower garlands with the groom's parents. They will then head to the mandap, the traditional Hindu arch together.
The Bride and the Bridal Party: The bride then enters and walks down the aisle together with the rest of their family, wedding party, and friends. Their bridal party will walk down the aisle first in an attempt to hide the bride for the big reveal. Then the bride walks down the aisle until reaching the mandap and exchanges garlands with the groom. Then the couple, the parents of the bride, and the priest will sit under the mandap to begin the ceremony.
Traditional Nondenominational Wedding Processional Order
The Officiant: The officiant can be a friend, family member, or anyone ordained to perform weddings chosen by the couple. The officiant will be standing at the altar to mark the beginning of the processional.
The Groom or Partner A: The groom or Partner A and groomsmen can already be at the altar before the processional starts, coming in from the side. However, many modern grooms choose to walk down the aisle.
The Best Man: Depending on what the groom/ Partner A decides, the best man will do the same. If the groom/ Partner A opts to enter from the side and wait at the altar, the best man should be by their side. If the groom decides to walk down the aisle during the processional, the best man will follow.
The Groomsmen Then Bridesmaids: The bridesmaids and the groomsmen will typically walk in pairs, starting from those who will stand farthest from the couple.
The Maid or Matron of Honor: The maid or matron of honor will walk alone after other members of the bridal party.
The Flower Girl(s) and/or Ring Bearer(s): The children chosen will walk down the aisle one after the other. They can sit with their parents once they are done.
The Bride - Partner B and/or the Bride's - Partner B's Parents: The bride / Partner B may be escorted by their father, mother, or both. Or they may decide to not have an escort and meet their parents halfway. Nondenominational wedding processionals are extremely customizable, so you can definitely make the entrance you want.
Nondenominational wedding processionals are extremely customizable, so you can definitely make the entrance you want.