But when the body has moved from one place to another, we have a physical memory that kicks in and operates even if we're distracted.
It’s this body memory from a smooth rehearsal that will allow the ceremony to flow, and make it memorable for how wonderful and easy it was for everyone.
Here's the secret to a smooth wedding rehearsal: begin at the end:
(You may want to print this, or refer to the steps later.)
Have the wedding party (bride, groom, and their attendants) come forward and stand where they will be standing during the wedding ceremony.
First rehearse the recessional: This is the exit at the end of the ceremony. Have each person in the wedding party exit just as you want them to at the end of the ceremony. But instead of heading toward the next location for photos or the reception, have them go to the places they will be entering from at the beginning of the wedding.
Next rehearse the processional: This is how the ceremony begins.
1. Have the groomsmen, who will be escorting the mothers and grandmothers to their seats, physically walk through this with the parents (if they are attending the rehearsal) or as if the parents were there.
- This puts mothers at ease since they now know who will escort them, when and how it will be done.
- This helps the groomsmen understand the timing and where they need to be before and after they do this special seating.
- It helps the rest of the wedding party to know what is happening while they are waiting to begin walking into the ceremony.
2. Have the rest of the wedding party line up as if to begin their entrance to the wedding as they wait for this part of the walk-through. When the groomsmen rejoin them, practice the processional that begins the wedding ceremony, with all participants heading to the places they were standing in at the front a few minutes earlier. (Now that everyone knows where they are headed, this takes place quite easily and quickly.)
3. With all of the wedding party in place, the wedding coordinator or the wedding officiant handling the rehearsal can give any special reminders or instructions about what will happen during the ceremony.
Ask if anyone has questions. If anyone feels confused or insecure about what they will be doing, run the whole processional and recessional one more time.
One reminder to everyone: walk slowly. Otherwise the processional looks like a race to the front.
Usually this kind of rehearsal lets the entire wedding party feel confident and comfortable. If your wedding party listens well, the whole thing will take about 30 minutes. If not, it may take a bit longer!
Lastly, go and enjoy a wonderful rehearsal dinner together!