• Lesson 13 - Ceremony Part 2

  • Rehearsal and Processional

    Ceremony Rehearsal

    The Rehearsal offers an opportunity for your bridal party to walk through your ceremony processional [the beginning], recessional [after ceremony is over], and the general aspects of the ceremony itself. The Rehearsal allows everyone to understand their role and be spatially aware of what is expected of them as participants in your wedding.

    TIPS:
    • I highly recommend scheduling your ceremony rehearsal at the same time as your actual ceremony. This way you can trouble shoot any potential lighting issues (from the sun for example) if having an outdoor ceremony for example. This isn’t as critical if having a church or indoor ceremony and also depends on available time the day before at your venue.
    • Keep the rehearsal attendees to wedding party only and family members in the processional. Additional guests or significant others are not needed and the more in attendance will only draw out your rehearsal time. This is important if your venue has a scheduled time slot for your rehearsal.
    • I love to line up everyone first as if it is in the middle of your ceremony. Then walk through the recessional and then lastly, walk through the processional. This way everyone knows exactly where they are going! (this tip is for whomever will be conducting your rehearsal)
    • Large Wedding Parties - if you have over 10 gals and/or guys on a side, then you should consider two rows of 5 and 5 or 6 and 5 or whatever the combo is... If less than 10 on a side, you can still get by with the single row. Anything more, than your wedding altar starts to look very long in photos!
    • Please make sure your day-of coordinator (or rehearsal coordinator) knows your family history and if there are any potentially challenging situations in advance. If relatives have difficulty sitting near each other; work it out before-hand to avoid any public scenes or hurt feelings.
    • Ushers - they should attend the rehearsal and review who they will be seating in the first row or two as well as any other special seating arrangements. To make it easy on them, I recommend telling the guests who are in the first row (or second row) to

    Processional Options

    1.Traditional
    -The Officiant takes her [or his] place and the men walk in from the side to take their positions. The processional begins with Bridesmaid 1, followed by 2, 3, etc.
    -Any Jr. Bridesmaids go next, then Maid or Matron of Honor, then follows the ring-bearer and/or flower girl.
    -Guests stand for the Bride who is escorted by her Father, her Mother, both, a close friend or she may walk down the aisle alone.
    -At the conclusion of the ceremony the newlyweds walk [or dance] back up the aisle, followed by flower girl and ring-bearer and the attendants pair up to follow them out.

    2.Modern Update
    -Groom and Best Man take their positions at altar with Officiant.
    -Bridesmaid 1 and Groomsman 1 walk down the aisle together, separating at the altar to take their positions. They are followed by couple 2, 3, etc. Then Maid or Matron of Honor proceeds down the aisle, then follows the ring bearer and/or flower girl.

    (Alternative - The Best Man can be paired up with Maid or Matron of Honor for the processional and Groom can walk down the aisle alone or with his parents. Whatever feels right to you!)

    -Guests stand for the Bride who is escorted by her Father, her Mother, both, a close friend or she may walk down the aisle alone.
    -At the conclusion of the ceremony the newlyweds walk [or dance] back up the aisle, followed by flower girl and ring-bearer and the attendants pair up to follow them out.

  • A handy Processional/Recessional list for your Wedding Party order!

    Processional/Recessional List

    Planning Tool

    Planning Tool

    A handy Processional/Recessional list for your Wedding Party order!

    Processional/Recessional List

  • Set-Up Tips

    Ceremony Set-Up

    Aisle Width - I am a big fan of a wide aisle! Typically a 5-6 foot wide aisle will work fine. Factors to keep in mind when determining the width of your aisle are:
    • Do you have a ‘trio’ walking down or back up the aisle? (say you and both your parents or 2 bridesmaids with 1 groomsmen or 2 groomsmen with 1 bridesmaid?) If yes, then factor in an extra foot or two in the width.
    • Do you have any aisle décor that is oversized or large and will take up space in the aisle? Allow an extra foot for this and discuss with your florist or whoever is setting up your ceremony chairs and thus your aisle.

    Amplification – This is a little but important detail. Nothing looks worse in photos than a microphone on a stand right between the two of you! Check with your DJ/Band/Ceremony Venue about having a lapel mic (two is even better!) - one for your officiant and one for your groom. This way everyone can hear your vows but not see a metal stand.
    *A stand mic is handy to have off to the side for any special readings/songs you may have a guest read/sing during the ceremony.

    Mark the Spot - if you have a rehearsal coordinator (or enroll a friend for this), make sure she marks a spot for the first bridesmaid and the first groomsmen to stop at. This way when they walk in and pass the altar, they know where to stop at the edge. The rest of the wedding party will file in. Something little and inconspicuous on the ground is perfect. One good step is a perfect measure for each 'person' for marking.

  • To Receive or Not To Receive?

    Every guest should be personally thanked for attending by the wedding couple!
    If you have less than 150 guests you should go around to the dining tables during the reception to personally thank them.

    With more than 150 guests a receiving line comes in very handy!
    Traditional order of the receiving line:
    Mother of Bride*Father of Groom*Mother of Groom*Father of Bride*Bride*Groom*Maid/Matron of Honor*bridesmaids...