How to organize your wedding ceremony and rehearsal.
This is a general outline of how to plan your ceremony and rehearsal. I always include this with a couple's wedding ceremony document. They can plan ahead for the rehearsal so the rehearsal goes smoothly or, they can rehearse on their own without me.
When planning the ceremony this is what you need to keep in mind:
There are family members that you may want to seat formally as part of the wedding. You usually choose different songs to be played for each group or just one song if you like. It’s up to you.
Usually, those who are formally seated are grandparents and parents. If your grandparents are still with us they can walk down the aisle together. If you grandfather is no longer living you would want a gentleman - a family member or a groomsman to walk them down the aisle to their seats.
After the grand parents come the parents. Sometimes the groom will walk the mothers down the aisle which is very nice. Or, the groom can walk down the aisle with his parents.
The brides mother is seated last. It is usually done by her son or another family member or the groom.
The groom and the groomsmen can either walk in all together with the officiant or they can escort the bridesmaids in.
Bridesmaids walk in, Maid (matron) of honor is last followed by ring bearers and flower girls.
The music changes for the bride. The officiant asks everyone to stand and the bride is walked walks down the aisle.
When the bride reaches the front her father “Hands her over to her waiting groom.”
Here, you need to decide will your father just go sit down and wait for the question of “who gives this bride in marriage” or do you want the question right then and there before the ceremony begins. Both ways are fine you just want to make sure your dad knows what he’s doing. Dad’s can get really nervous and not remember what to do here. It is very cute!
You want to know who will have the rings for the ring exchange.
At the end of the ceremony I’ll pronounce you husband and wife and you get to kiss. This is a where your music person needs to know when to start the recessional. Usually I will pronounce you husband and wife. You kiss and the music starts and I speak loudly over the music “Mr. and Mrs……” Or, you may want the music to start after I introduce you by your new name.
When you rehearse, what I usually do is place everyone where they will be during the ceremony. The groom is on the right facing the front and the bride is on the left. The wedding party needs to know where they will stand and how they will fit next to you to make a great picture.
Know where any children in the ceremony will be. Standing up with the wedding party or going to their parents in the front row. (your daughter will be in the front row)
Then, practice the recessional. The bride and groom walk all the way down the aisle together then the bridesmaids and groomsmen follow. The next starts once the one in front of them get’s half way down the aisle.
Are there any announcements that need to be made for after the ceremony? Cocktails? Pictures? Where to go. That sort of thing.
Will the guests be dismissed by rows or will they just leave on their own?
Will there be a receiving line?
Now, Everyone practice walking in processing to the place they were already standing. Practice with parents and grandparents if they are there. Go over the important parts of the ceremony like the rings and vows to your daughter and then recess again, make sure everyone knows what they are doing and you are done!
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