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Updated: Apr 23

If you decide to have an onsite rehearsal, book it in with your celebrant the week of your wedding. Everything will stay fresher in your mind and for the others involved in your ceremony.

Here's my 5 tips to make your rehearsal run smoothly.

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

  2. Run through the order of events

  3. Practice the walking out (recessional)

  4. Practice the walking in (processional)

  5. Discuss what happens after the ceremony

Start by lining up the wedding party as they would be for the ceremony

I like to start a rehearsal with you and all of your wedding party in position. That way everyone knows where they'll end up after walking in. If your wedding party don't know each other, ask them to say their name and how they know you. Remind the two people standing closest to you on either side to leave about 1 metre between them and you. This will allow your photographer to take photos of the two of you on your own at various moments throughout the ceremony.

Run through the order of events

Next I run through the events in the ceremony - the I do's, vows and ring giving and explain what will be happening at those times. If your ceremony involves other people, like readers or ring bearers, I usually ask them to practice their part and explain where they will be standing.

Practice the walking out (recessional)

Then we practice the recessional. This is when you and your wedding party leave after the ceremony. I like to give my couples the moment of walking up the aisle together, just on their own. It allows photographers to capture that moment. Then the wedding party pairs off and follows you up the aisle - Maid of Honour and Best Man first (or whoever you are having on the day), then everyone else. Last I ask your parents to follow on as this indicated to the rest of the guests that they can also leave the ceremony space.

Practice the walking in (processional)

By now everyone is familiar with where they are going to stand, so I regroup everyone, line up those who are standing up the front, and those walking up the aisle (the processional).

Depending on the length of song you're going to have played, if you have a short aisle, I suggest that you have the next person in the wedding party 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 back row.

If you're having a musician play for your ceremony, then you have all the time in the world (not quite) to get up the aisle as they will keep looping the song until everyone is in place.

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.

If you have asked a special person to walk you down the aisle, we practice the moment when you give them a kiss or hug, and your partner does the same, before the person sits down and the two of you move to your positions.

Discuss what happens after the ceremony

If you are going to have guests come and line up to congratulate you on your marriage, and for you to thank them for coming, decide where you will stand together. Make sure to sure to explain to the wedding party and immediate family where they need to meet after the congratulations for photos so everyone is on the same page.

Photo courtesy Trish Woodford Photography

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