5 Ways to Make Sure Things Go Well (and Quickly) During Your Wedding Rehearsal

1. Start by lining up the wedding party as they would be during the ceremony.

In most ceremonies, the bride stands on the left facing the altar, groom on the right, though it’s reversed for Jewish ceremonies. The bridesmaids and groomsmen stand on the respective sides facing the guests. Parents sit directly behind their respective children.

With the approval of your officiant, start your wedding rehearsal here. That way, everyone knows where they’ll end up after walking in.

If it helps, think of it like this:

Think of your ceremony like a play that has three acts. Act One is everyone walking in and taking their places. Act Two is the ceremony itself; when you say your “I do’s”. Act Three is everyone walking out.

For your rehearsal, start in Act Two. Then do Act Three, then Act One.

2. Briefly run through the order of events of the ceremony.

Depending on your religious affiliation, there will be different things you do in your ceremony. Briefly run through the events and ask any questions on things you aren’t sure on.

For events that involve other people, like readers and gift givers, be sure to invite them to the rehearsal to practice their role. I usually ask that those folks fully practice their part so they’re more comfortable on the wedding day.

3. Practice the recessional.

This is how the wedding party will leave AFTER the ceremony. It’s easier to practice this next rather than the processional (how they’ll enter) – trust me.

The recessional starts with the Couple, followed by the Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man. The remaining wedding party pairs up and follows them up the aisle starting with the ones closest to the middle. The bridesmaid and groomsman that are the farthest out are the last of the wedding party to exit which is the cue for the parents to begin their exit. Traditionally, Parents of the Bride exit first followed by the Parents of the Groom. The remaining guests will leave by the aisle they’re in.

4. Practice the processional.

Once the wedding party has left during the recessional, regroup and line up for the processional. Since they should already be familiar with where they are going, it should go smoothly.

If you have a short aisle, have the next person wait until the person before them is all the way to the front row of seating. If it is a longer aisle, have them begin around the middle.

A slow pace is always preferred for photos, but I always advise to walk to the beat of the music as it will feel the most natural for the walker and the guests.

5. Discuss where the wedding party will go after the recessional.

Whether you are doing a receiving line or not, make sure to explain to the wedding party and immediate family where to go after the ceremony recessional. If they need to stay for pictures, discuss a meeting spot to all meet at so everyone is on the same page. If you will be exiting the venue with bubbles, flags, or any other items, explain it to your wedding party so they can help lead the guests in what to do.

rehearsal dinner