Planning a Wedding Rehearsal

Brides, Maids and Groomsmen all lined up during a wedding cermony.

Planning a Wedding Rehearsal


A wedding rehearsal is a great way to ensure your big day goes smoothly. Planning can seem daunting, but careful preparation can be a fun and stress-free experience. Here are a few tips to help get you started:


  1. Determine who will oversee the rehearsal. You may choose to delegate to a trusted family member or friend. It should be someone who is organized and an experienced leader.


  1. Choose a date and time for the rehearsal. Make sure to schedule it far enough in advance so that everyone can attend, but not so far in advance that people will forget about it. It is often done the day before the wedding.


  1. Send invitations to the rehearsal to all the wedding participants. Include the rehearsal date, time, and location in the invitations.


  1. Plan out the rehearsal agenda. The agenda should include a list of activities that need to be rehearsed and a timeline for how the rehearsal will unfold.


  1. Meet with the wedding participants to review the agenda and answer any questions they may have. This is also an excellent opportunity to remind them of what they need to bring to the rehearsal.


  1. Arrive at the rehearsal location early to set up and get everything ready. Ensure you have a copy of the agenda for everyone involved to know what is happening and when.


  1. Rehearse! Run through the planned activities and ensure everyone is on track and knows what to do.


  1. Wrap up the rehearsal once everything has been rehearsed successfully. Thank everyone for their participation and let them know when and where they need to be for the wedding ceremony.


How to Manage a Wedding Procession


The wedding procession occurs in a particular order that concludes with the Bride. Procesionals vary, depending on the type of ceremony, culture, and region, but the traditional order of appearance is as follows:


First, the Officiant takes his place at the altar, usually entering from the side, and he faces the guests.

Next, the Groom, sometimes accompanied by his mother, will take his position on the Officiant’s left.

Groomsmen escort the Bridesmaids down the aisle (Bridesmaids on the left, Groomsmen on the right). Bridesmaids and Groomsmen should stand about an arm's distance apart. Although sometimes, they will walk together arm-in-arm with elbows interlocked. Alternatively, the Groomsmen may enter first followed by the Bridesmaids.

As they approach the altar, they will turn and face the guests. The ones standing the farthest out are the first to come up. The Maid of Honor and Best Man are the last to arrive. It is best to line up the attendants by height.

The ring bearer comes next. He will be carrying a pillow with the wedding rings attached. I recommend that the rings are imitations for ceremonial purposes only. The actual rings should be in the pocket of the Best Man.

The flower girl walks in just before the Bride and sprinkles flower petals along the path. (Check the rules at your venue. This is sometimes not allowed)

Depending on their ages and maturity, the Ring Bearer and Flower Girl may sit with their family instead of standing with the rest of the attendants.

The Bride is the last to come down the aisle, and she traditionally walks on her companion's left arm.

If the Bridal companion is her Father, a nice touch is to have him pause at the end of the aisle, kiss the cheek of the Bride, and wait for the Groom to come down from the altar area to receive his Bride from the Father. First, he shakes the Father's hand, and then the Father takes the Groom's hand and puts it into the Bride's hand. Finally, the Bride walks up to the altar with the Groom, and the ceremony begins.


How to Order the Recessional


The recession of the wedding party occurs after the Bride and Groom have made their vows, exchanged their rings, and the Officiant has presented the newly wedded couple.

The basic recession order is as follows:

Bride and Groom

Maid or Matron of Honor and Best Man

The remaining Bridesmaids and Groomsmen are in the reverse order of how they walked in during the processional.