Do We Have to Have a Wedding Rehearsal?

wedding rehearsal

 Photo by Lauren and Abby Ross

On the day before the wedding, you'll have a lot of things to do: Deliver welcome bags, greet out-of-town guests, 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?

What Is a Wedding Rehearsal?

A wedding rehearsal is a run-through of the ceremony, usually conducted the day before. The wedding officiant, venue manager, or wedding planner/coordinator will go over each aspect of the ceremony, from the processional to the recessional.

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. 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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