Should You Ditch the Traditional Wedding Rehearsal?
Yes, you should. They are horribly boring for everyone.
I'm often asked by couples if a rehearsal is really necessary before a wedding, and my opinions are mixed. Over the years, I’ve recommended doing a walkthrough of the ceremony with just the three of us, which is 95% of the wedding routine. Ultimately, I believe the best "rehearsal" is a simple meeting with your family and wedding party to answer their 4 key questions – and then just go for dinner and have fun!
As much as I believe that the traditional, full-rehearsal is outdated, there are some benefits to having everyone gather before the ceremony to rehearse their parts.
1. It gets the party started! It's often the first event your immediate family and wedding party arrive for, and it's a chance for everybody to meet each other and start getting to know each other. We are a global community and often it’s the first time they have all met if they are coming in from other parts of the world.
2. It’s a chance to go through the logistics and physically give them a sense of what they are going to do so they look and feel more comfortable. Sometimes, just getting people to line up and enter in the right order at the right time can be challenging. This is especially helpful when there are a lot of people involved such as for Filipino Ceremonies or Persian Weddings.
3. The rehearsal allows your wedding party to get comfortable with your wedding coordinator, who will be directing and guiding you through the ceremony on the big day. That way, if they forget some direction, they know and trust the person who can tell or direct them, and everyone feels less nervous.
4. And, much like my walkthroughs, it gives you a preview of the emotions you're going to feel during the wedding ceremony. Often couples will say, ‘Wow, this suddenly feels more real’. Sometimes people will be brought to tears, which brings me to lend them this advice: If you are going to cry, CRY. Because if you don’t you are going to look sad or angry. And worse, if something makes you laugh and you are holding back tears, you will snort!
5. Rehearsals help you answer your wedding party’s 4 main questions:
a. How do we walk in?
b. Where do we stand?
c. Do we have to do anything?
d. How do we exit?
If you read my web page on Walkthrough vs Rehearsals, you will see that I recommend booking me for the walkthrough, so the three of us can go through the logistics, but that you do not waste your money on having me there for the rehearsal if the ceremony is not complex. I arrive early and meet with the wedding party and I can answer their questions before we start – quick and easy.
Keeping the rehearsal simple actually makes the wedding party feel less stressed about doing things “exactly right”, but instead reassures them that you want them to just arrive, represent and smile.