Your wedding rehearsal brings the focus to the most important part of your wedding day: your wedding ceremony. You and each of your ceremony participants will embark upon a detailed run-through of your ceremony elements, led with experience and efficiency by your wedding planner, your wedding officiant, or our banquet manager for your garden wedding or ballroom wedding here at our West Orange, New Jersey wedding venue.
I say efficiency because it’s a hallmark of today’s wedding rehearsal — especially for our time-conscious New Jersey, New York City and Long Island wedding couples – for the rehearsal to run smoothly and quickly, instructing all and putting everyone at ease about the elements of the wedding ceremony. So to that end, and to help you plan a quick, efficient, and enjoyable wedding rehearsal, here is your primer on what should be practiced at your rehearsal, and what may be skipped for time, and also for that all-important surprise factor on the wedding day:
- Where the ladies and the men will each gather and await the start of the ceremony.
- Ushers escorting guests to their seats, including a familiarization with the path of our wedding gardens and the layout of our wedding ceremony room.
- The lineups for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, including how they will walk, stand and pair up in duos or trios for the recessional.
- The processional walking spacing and walking speed for all.
- Special instructions for child attendants, teaching them how and where to walk.
- The wedding ceremony elements:
- The officiant will confirm how the bride wishes for her parent or parents to give their consent, if she wishes to include the ‘giving away’ portion of the wedding ceremony. We’ve found moments like these to be enlightening ones for the bride and groom, places where the wedding rehearsal allows them to tailor the nuances of their ceremony wording.
- The steps of the religious, spiritual or secular wedding ceremony, including the bride’s and groom’s moving to another location for a ritual, plus the maid of honor’s necessary arranging of the bride’s train.
- The readings, giving participants the chance to run through the wording, and also learn from the banquet manager or officiant which podium or microphone to approach.
- The presentation of religious, spiritual or cultural elements.
- The wedding vows (optional – some couples wish to run through classic or traditional vows, and some wish to keep them a surprise until the wedding day.)
- The exchange of rings, acted out, without the actual rings.
- The kiss.
- The presentation of the bride and groom to all in attendance as a married couple.
- The recessional, including how the bride and groom will walk back down the aisle together, bridal party members’ walking in the processional, and the process by which groomsmen will return to the front row to indicate parents’ turn in the recessional.
- The receiving line order, if the couple wishes to have a receiving line at this point.
What’s Not Practiced:
Again, at their wedding rehearsal, many of our local brides and grooms appreciate speeding things along, so that no one gets restless, and so that they can get to the fine restaurant dining experience of their rehearsal dinner on time. So these are the elements that are most often not practiced at the rehearsal:
- The officiant performing the entirety of readings to be used in the ceremony.
- The entirety of wedding vows. A trend we’re seeing in wedding rehearsals here at our West Orange, New Jersey wedding venue is couples practicing the traditional beginning of their wedding vows – “to have and to hold, etc.” – but keeping their personalized ending sections private for now, as a surprise to their intended, as well as to all present.
- Religious elements, such as the receiving of Mass.
- Musical performances, or cultural performances.
- The bride and groom’s departure to the wedding limousine.
Trust in the experience of our banquet manager or your special events expert as your group enacts the steps at your wedding rehearsal and you’ll find that you have a greater sense of comfort about your wedding day, fewer nerves distracting you, and a wonderful ability to take in all of the beautiful details and meaningful elements of your New Jersey wedding.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château