It might sound like a formality before the rehearsal dinner and welcome party get started, but a wedding ceremony rehearsal is actually pretty important. After all, practice makes perfect! A run-through with your wedding party and officiant will ensure everyone knows when to walk, where to stand, and what to say throughout your ceremony. In the name of being totally prepared for your big moment, who actually needs to be at your rehearsal? Our experts break it down.
The most important people to have at your ceremony rehearsal are anyone who will be participating in some way, whether it's walking down the aisle or doing a reading. Of course the bride, groom, parents, and officiant need to be present (since you've all got starring roles!). You don't necessarily need to go through your vows line-by-line, but reviewing the general order of things — like whether the handfasting is before or after your cousin reads an excerpt from The Little Prince — will help ensure that everyone knows when their part is coming up.
You also want as much of your wedding party there as possible. If one or two members are on later flights or don't get in until the morning of your wedding, that's fine, but you want the majority of your bridesmaids and groomsmen there to practice the processional and recessional so they can fill in anyone else. Do you have little ones participating, as well? The rehearsal is the perfect time to familiarize them with what they'll be doing, as well as to help them get more comfortable in a new space. Show them exactly where Mom and Dad will be sitting and where they should go when they're done walking down the aisle so it won't be too scary or new the next day.
Make sure that all of your readers are present, too. Again, they don't need to read every line of what they'll be sharing on your wedding day, but knowing what happens before they're supposed to speak will give them a good cue to look for once the real deal is underway.
Try not to have too many extra people around so that the rehearsal can run smoothly and quickly, without distractions. They'll get to see your ceremony IRL soon enough!