Do We Have to Have a Wedding Rehearsal?

Etiquette

On the day before the wedding, you'll have a lot of things to do: Welcome bags to deliver, out-of-town guests to greet, maybe even a manicure-pedicure appointment with your bridesmaids. If the schedule is jam-packed that day, do you really need to have a wedding rehearsal? Or is it OK to skip it? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your rehearsal questions in our daily post.

We're finalizing our wedding schedule and we're short on time. Do we have to have a wedding rehearsal?

There's no rule that says you must have a wedding rehearsal. If your wedding is small, with few or no wedding attendants, and does not include any wedding traditions, customs, or special readings, then you can probably get away with not having a formal rehearsal. However, if your wedding is more formal and larger in scope—and especially if you have children participating in the ceremony—then we do recommend setting aside about 30 to 45 minutes the day before the wedding to go over the ceremony proceedings with everyone. Usually, the wedding officiant, venue manager, or wedding planner/coordinator will conduct the rehearsal, going over each aspect of the ceremony, from the processional to the recessional. For example, for the processional to run smoothly, everyone involved needs to know in advance where and when to gather, in what order to line up, when to enter and with what musical selection, and where to sit or stand. Without some clear direction, this part of the ceremony alone can be chaotic. A good rehearsal coordinator will also go over small-but-still-important details, such as what the groomsmen should do with their hands while they stand alongside the groom (hands in their pockets? clasped together?) as well as the height at which the bride and bridesmaids should carry their bouquets in order to look good in photos. All of these details are very important to ensure a flawless ceremony on the wedding day.

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