I believe an onsite rehearsal is an integral part of your journey and forms an important part of the work I do with couples. It is during this time that I often get a true feeling for your venue – be it your garden at home or the Botanic Gardens, the Museum, or a reception centre. We can talk about placement of the bridal party and your guests and make the best out of your chosen location.
I suggest we have the rehearsal as close to the time of day as your ceremony is planned. This way we can get a true feeling for how it will be on your special day, especially where the sun will be at that time of day if you are planning a wedding out of doors. It is a good idea to ask every person taking part in the ceremony to attend – bridal party, parents, and the readers.
Although I do go through the ceremony I usually only say the first couple of lines of each section – I do not want to give away too much of your wonderful ceremony. And when it comes to the readers, I ask them to practice their reading in full (and instruct them where to stand at the microphone – which is very important!). We never go through the vows at your rehearsal – so I offer you a private rehearsal for your vows if you would like to – this way you get a chance to feel what it will be like.
Some things we would go through at a rehearsal:
The entrance of the bridal party and where the bridal party will stand
We talk about the position of the sun – if it is an outside ceremony, as this will inform us of where the best location is for your bridal party and your guests.
We discuss any outside interferences – ie road notices etc.
I talk to the venue operators to ensure I am aware of their needs
We discuss any props I might need to bring – PA, Table, Chair etc.
We discuss the time that guests will be arriving, and the arrival of the bridal party etc
We talk about any fears the couple may have about anything to do with the ceremony
Talk about dress code for the day to ensure I dress appropriately and do not clash with colours the bridal party may be wearing.
I ask the readers to rehearse and talk to them about the day
and, I go through the paperwork that they will be signing on the day – to ensure accuracy of information (Declaration of Marriage is usually signed at the rehearsal)
Readers may be an important part of your ceremony. Unfortunately they invariably go far too fast. Ceremonial mode is a paced mode and it is very hard to slow people down. (Nervousness usually causes this fast pace)
Most times I have to ask readers to slow down, and tactfully explain that the guests need the time to absorb and appreciate the sentiments contained in the reading.
There are a number of ways to help readers slow down:
1. Ask them to pause at the commas, colons, full stops, and at the end of verses.
2. Ask them simply to slow the words as they come out of the mouth!
3. Ask them to breathe, yes breathe. Many people when they are nervous forget to breathe.