My first wedding of 2016 is tomorrow! One of my favorite parts of any wedding weekend is the rehearsal. It is a great time for me to meet the important people in my couples' lives. :)
One oft-overlooked line item on any bride's wedding weekend to-do list is preparing for the rehearsal. While I do not believe a wedding rehearsal is rocket science, there is a bit of finesse one must have to make sure its done properly. The night before any big event almost always results in jumpy nerves, but weddings are a different breed. Two families coming together to essentially give their kid over to someone else. Not everyone deals with it in the same way, so it is best to prepare for the highest level of emotions.
Before any rehearsal, I ask the couple for a list of the bridal party and any family or friends that will be involved. Fun fact: I have definitely made the mistake of addressing the stepmom as the mom...oops. It's good to clearly explain any relationships that might confuse your coordinator! ;)
Who should come to your wedding rehearsal? You and your fiance, your bridal party, any parents or grandparents involved in the ceremony, the officiant, and maybe any readers or singers that are integral to timing cues. I do not require musicians to attend, especially if they are hired professionals, but I will communicate with them ahead of time to make sure we're all on the same page. It is also helpful, and almost always normal, to have a representative from the venue in attendance.
What should you bring to your wedding rehearsal? Well, you should have already communicated to your wedding coordinator what songs will be playing, who will escort grandparents and parents down the aisle, and what unique elements you've added to your ceremony. For me, I send my brides forms to fill out - this helps me get all the information I need in advance of the day before the wedding. Brides, you might want to bring the gifts for your bridal party, to hand out at dinner. Also, bring any decor or personal items your coordinator will need for set up the next day. Trust me, you will be more relaxed if that stuff is already in her possession!
Brides, if you haven't been asked about your ceremony details by your coordinator, reach out! It is far too stressful to figure these things out at the last minute. Additionally, your wedding rehearsal should not last longer than 30 minutes...45 if there is a lot to it. Last year, one of my weddings had dancers, a band, a video, and all of the normal ceremony elements, so the rehearsal involved more people and more organization. Fortunately, everyone showed up, ready to work, and we were out of there within an hour. Your planner will show the kind of control he or she will have on wedding day by their preparedness at the rehearsal.
Every planner does things differently, but a wedding rehearsal is pretty run of the mill. I would love to hear any cool success (or horror!) stories from your wedding rehearsal. What made it work? What didn't? What advice would you give to future brides about how to prepare for their wedding rehearsal?