How to Run a Wedding Rehearsal!

Weddings are joyous occasions and having a wedding coordinator, can eliminate the stress that you don’t need when you are starting a new life with someone… This should be the happiest days of your life. A wedding not only celebrates the union of two souls but also two families!

With that said, the whole ceremony is a study in coordination and it could be quite disastrous if someone in the party did not understand their role!

This is where wedding rehearsal comes in! If you’re wondering what it is and why you should hire a coordinator, here’s a handy wedding rehearsal checklist that we’ve created for you:


What Is A Wedding Rehearsal?

It’s basically a quick run-through of what’s going to be happening in the ceremony, what everyone’s official role is, and how to manage the time accordingly. It’s usually held the day before the wedding, runs for an hour, and is followed by a dinner!

Quick Points To Note While Organizing Wedding Rehearsals

Here’s a quick overview of all you need to know about organizing a wedding rehearsal:

Who’s Going To Attend?

The wedding rehearsal consists of the bride and groom, the wedding party and their respective dates, the parents of the happy couple, along with the ushers, officiant, coordinator, the musicians, or any special performers.

How Long Is A Wedding Rehearsal?

The rehearsal itself should take around an hour or less, after which it’s time for everyone to enjoy dinner.

What’s The Dress Code?

Typically, the dress code for a wedding rehearsal is semi-formal. That being said we often coordinate rehearsals in regular everyday clothes as this is just to practice and make sure the wedding ceremony goes off without a hitch.

Steps For A Successful Wedding Rehearsal

Decide Who’s In Charge Of Things

So, basically, your rehearsal needs a “director” who can let everyone know their cues (to enter, where to stand, etc.). You typically never want to ask a family member or friend to be the “director” as they will probably be part of the guest list and would not want to miss out on any of the ceremony and reception. We would highly suggest that you look into a wedding planner whose profession is making sure everything goes as smoothly as possible!

Pair Everyone Up!

One of the most integral parts of your wedding rehearsal checklist should be pairing your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen before the Big Day! As it so happens, sometimes, the number of Bridesmaids in the party may be more than the Groomsmen and vice versa. In such cases, you’ll need to pair two from your side with one from the other side, or you can use your ushers. 

Similarly, you might want to curate the couples by height or relationship dynamic. You certainly don’t want to pair two exes together! Once that is done, you can observe their chemistry and go from there!

Let The Wedding Party Know Their Places!

All the people in your wedding party (including the Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, and even the parents) need to know their positions once they make the entrance. This is where you need to start your wedding rehearsal. Just get in the thick of things and let each member know exactly where they should stand once they’ve entered the venue. 

Orchestrate The Processional!

What is a successful wedding rehearsal without a great processional? Nothing!

Imagine this: the Wedding March begins and there’s a sudden behind-the-scenes scuffle because the Bridesmaids don’t really understand which Groomsmen they’re supposed to pair with! Or the Ring Bearer starts to make a fuss. The entrance is late and the timing is simply disastrous! 

This is why you need a coordinator at your wedding rehearsal. Simply pair everybody off and let your coordinator give them their cues to enter. The coordinator will let everyone know their turns and duties This way, you’ll start with a total bang for your big day!

Rehearse The Recessional!

Many wedding parties get super disorganized once the bride and groom have been officiated as husband-and-wife! This is another thing your coordinator has on their wedding rehearsal checklist – let everyone know when they need to begin the recession AFTER the couple has reached the area specified! They also need to know the etiquette of leaving (MOH with Best Man, respective Bridesmaids, and Groomsmen pairing, with parents leaving last). Giving them this particular direction is important if you crave a neat exit!

Pro tip: Your coordinator should know where the wedding party needs to go after they exit. Usually, there’s a meeting spot at the back of the venue where the photographer takes a bunch of pictures.

Make Your Wedding YOUR Wedding!

This is your special day and it should be exactly how you dreamt of it. Everyone has their own rules and ideas. Ceremonies in the Midwest have Bridesmaids and Groomsmen entering separately. Then there are brides who want to be walked down the aisle by multiple parents. 

Here at Ambrosia events, we thrive on change! If you want a traditional Hindu celebration we can do it, or what about a traditional Mexican wedding celebration? We can do everything you can imagine and more! Let us help you plan your dream wedding without compromise!

Point is – if you’re opting for an unconventional entrance or anything else, you need to practice all these unique changes and rituals during the wedding rehearsal. Because everybody knows what happens during a conventional ceremony, a customized one will need special supervision and direction the day before.

Discussion With The Officiant

The officiant is the nucleus of your wedding ceremony, but most of them don’t really make it to a wedding rehearsal. If yours is available, then that’s all well and good. But if not, your coordinator will take some time beforehand to sit down with them and discuss the order of things and address the elements that you want to add or subtract from your ceremony.

Receiving Line - Yes or No?

How long your wedding rehearsal or the actual ceremony might run depends on whether or not you plan on having a receiving line. This line basically consists of all the guests that attended the service congratulating the new couple on their wedding and it takes around 45 minutes if you have 150 guest. If you choose to skip the receiving line, please include a sincere Thank You Toast during the Reception or Cocktail Hour.

Wedding Rehearsal Checklist - How to Run a Wedding Rehearsal!

Here’s a quick and simple breakdown of how you need to carry out your wedding rehearsal and how much time you need to allocate to each task:

Task 1: Introductions

Some of the people in your wedding party might be meeting each other for the first time, so it’s best that you start with introductions. 

Time allocated: 5 minutes (more or less)

Task 2: Communicate duties to ushers

Ushers are the people who greet the guests, direct them to their allocated seats, and distribute the ceremony program. You can use the wedding rehearsal to tell them what exactly they need to do and how they need to interact with the guests in order to give them proper direction.

Time allocated: 5 minutes

Task 3: Coordinate the music

Whether you’re hiring a DJ or a live band, everyone in your party needs to know the musical cues to the ceremony. The rehearsal is a great time to allocate specific cues to your party and to literally rehearse the timeliness/orderliness of your processional/recessional sequence to the beat of certain songs.

Time allocated: 5-8 minutes

Task 4: Walk through the processional

The right order of the processional (entrance) is the most important part of the ceremony, so practice it twice. There’s usually a coordinator at the entrance of the venue to instruct everyone, but you still need to set the pace and allocate the cues – especially for the young ones (flower girl & ring bearer).

Time allocated: 15 minutes

Task 5: Ceremony readings and special movements

This is where the officiant comes in. You’ll need to discuss the length of the readings, what you want to keep, and things you might want to cut out. You’ll also rehearse the cues for the presentation of the rings once the ceremony is ongoing.

Time allocated: 5-8 minutes

Task 6: Time for the recessional

Wedding rehearsals are all about managing the time of the actual ceremony and the recessional is one of the most important and time-sensitive parts of the ceremony. It’s the reverse of the processional, where the couple exits first, followed by the pair of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen farthest from the alter successively. Here, you also need to allocate cues and manage the time for your recessional music. If you’re planning on one, you might also want to designate ushers for cueing up a receiving line.

Time allocated: 10-15 minutes

After that, you can do a quick Q&A session before heading to dinner!

Role Of A Wedding Planner For Rehearsal

our milwaukee wedding planner

The wedding planner plays the role of a coordinator on the day of the rehearsal. They make sure that everything goes perfectly, manage potential hurdles, and allocate cues for the ceremony to be a total success.

If your venue offers coordination services you should understand the difference between a wedding planner/coordinator and a venue coordinator.

A wedding coordinator will represent the couples interest and a venue coordinator represents the venues interest.

So as you can see, wedding planners are with you every step of the way to ensure the entire wedding process goes off without a hitch. They manage and coordinate with your vendors, and venue, so you can breathe easy without all the pressures.

This is everything you need to know about wedding rehearsals and everything you need to do in order to run a successful one. We hope this information and checklist serve as an excellent guideline for you to pre-prepare for your Big Day! 

Ambrosia Events

Ambrosia Events

How to Run a Wedding Rehearsal!

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