The rehearsal is very important and should not be
overlooked. It is your insurance that everything is ready and all your attendants are
present and informed as to their participation. Generally the rehearsal takes place the
night before the ceremony, with a dinner party to follow.
This is a nice way to thank your attendants and spend some time with them before the
You may not get much of
a chance to visit with them at the reception. Generally this party is given by the groom's
parents. However, anyone can host it, if the parents are some distance away. Another
solution is for a friend or relative to plan and organize the party, with the groom's
parents paying the bill, or a portion of it.
The guests that should be included are both sets of parents, all the adult attendants of
the bridal party with their spouses or dates, and the parents of the child attendants.
Small children should be taken home after the rehearsal, to get a good night's sleep so
they will be on their best behavior for the wedding. You may also want to include other
relatives - grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, or out of town guests.
If the party is the night before the ceremony, try to make it an early evening and keep
drinking in moderation. You don't want sick or hung-over attendants. You may want to toast
both your parents and thank your bridal party, and give them their gifts, if you haven't
already done so.
However, you may schedule it a couple days in advance if you plan on the party involving a
late night or a lot of drinking. Try to schedule the rehearsal so everyone attends,
including soloists and organists or instrumentalists. If contemporary songs are being
used, possibly a record or tape will do.
It is helpful for everyone if you are able to keep the details as close to the real event
as possible, with the exception of wardrobe, flowers and candles, if used. You should
still designate where these items will be placed. Rehearsing to the processional music
will help attendants measure their steps on the way down the aisle. Tradition dictates
different processional orders for different religions and denominations.
The recessional is led by the joyous newlyweds, immediately followed by the bridal party,
the bride's parents, then the groom's parents. The bridal party traditionally walks out in
the following order: flower girl and ringbearer together, the best man and maid of honor,
the ushers and bridesmaids paired together. Extra ushers or bridesmaids may exit alone.
Remind them not to run down the aisle during the recessional, even though the music is
faster. Your clergyman or officiant will help you run through the pace and direct the
procedures. If you are unsure of anything, this is the time to ask. When everyone knows
exactly what they are to do, the ceremony will run smoothly.
Young attendants can either stand at the altar throughout the ceremony, or join their
parents after the processional until the recessional begins. This may depend on the age of
the children and the length of the ceremony. Make sure your attendants know their duties
and what time they are to be at the ceremony. Ushers should be there at least thirty
minutes before the ceremony to seat early arrivals. They should know to seat the bride's
family on the left side and the groom's family on the right, and who is seated in the