- About the Rehearsal
- Every member of the Wedding Party (bride and groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers,
broom bearers, readers, musicians and any other participants) should meet at the site and "run through" the ceremony.
If the site is unavailable, please simulate the conditions as closely as you can. I will be glad to research any
traditions or cultures you choose. This is entirely your ceremony: Therefore, you should determine beforehand
exactly which, if any, traditions you would like to follow, the way you want your attendants to line up, the manner
in which you would like them to enter and exit, where you would like them to stand, walk or sit. Please impress
upon all participants how important it is for them to attend the rehearsal and be on-time. If every one cooperates,
there is no reason for a rehearsal to last longer than one hour. If you are
choosing an outdoor venue, consider whether moving indoors would alter any plans.
- If you know that someone cannot attend the rehearsal, appoint a stand-in who will participate in the rehearsal
and explain the duties to the participant before the ceremony.
- Wedding Coordinator
- If you have decided not to hire a wedding coordinator, consider asking a favorite friend or relative, who is not
a member of the wedding party, to assist you by coordinating the wedding and the rehearsal. On your wedding day,
you do not want to be the only person who knows exactly how the wedding should flow. Having a coordinator will give
you a chance to fully enjoy your wedding ceremony.
I have an arrangement with Heather Smith, a professional bridal consultant, who will help you plan and conduct
the rehearsal for $200. This price does not include day-of coordination nor extra travel. Call Heather at
614-267-6446 and ask for The Marryin' Man Rehearsal Special.
- Bring Props
- Please have on hand the actual or dummy props (Unity Candles, bouquets, rings, etc.) so that everyone can practice
- It is especially important that any children who will participate in the ceremony attend the rehearsal. Please take
care to speak with the children in a gentle and thoughtful manner and have props (i.e. a dummy flower basket with
petals, a broom, a pillow, etc.) that will allow them to practice their actions. This may be the first time they
"perform" in front of a group, let us make sure that it is fun and easy for them.
- Weddings are highly emotional times for everyone and may bring up emotions that are difficult to handle. Please
schedule your rehearsal so that there is a built in allowance for your participants to be a few minutes late or
many minutes late depending on your guests! You know your family and friends -- If they are "never on-time," it
is unlikely that they will be on-time for such an emotional occasion.
- Take Care of Yourself
- Do get enough sleep and eat healthy meals as your rehearsal and wedding approach. You will need to maintain your
strength and perspective. Take time to visualize your rehearsal and wedding ceremony, so that you will be able to
address any complications and calm yourself. No matter what happens, do your best to remain flexible, calm, and
pleasant. Your spouse, attendants and guests want to celebrate with you. Being able to do so, is much more
important than everything running exactly as you planned. Remember to enjoy these moments! They will never come again.
General Pre-Rehearsal Instructions
- Introductions of people as necessary.
- Tell everyone when to arrive for wedding and where they should go
- Men meet with officiant.
- Women meet at the Bride's room.
- Discuss when pictures will be taken.
- Advise that in case of mistakes, we will go ahead with wedding. Fake rings if necessary.
- No gum, please. Everyone relax and enjoy it. Be natural.
- Men hold their left hand over their right.
- Go through once verbally.
- Go through once quickly.
- Go through as though it were real. (Don't say the whole ceremony.)
Step One -- Everyone in Place
Line up the wedding party where they will be standing for the wedding ceremony.
- Groom and his attendants on Officiant's left
- Bride and her attendants on Officiant's right
- The Bride and Groom face each other
- The Ring Bearer in front of the Groom's attendants
- Flower Girl(s) in front of the Bride's attendants
Because the early Anglo Saxon groom so often had to defend his bride from would-be kidnappers,
she stood to his left, leaving his sword-arm free. The "best" warrior in the tribe stood by the groom and
was responsible for helping defend the bride, thus the placement for the modern day best man.
Step Two -- Practice the Recessional
After Officiant has declared the couple "husband and wife", they kiss and are announced as Mr. and Mrs. Smith
- Couple exits
- Flower girl and ring bearer follow.
- Attendants from each side meet in the center and walk out as couples.
- Bride's parents
- Groom's parents
- Bride's grandparents
- Groom's grandparents
- Or, each side of front row as an entire row, not person by person, since people are eager to
congratulate the couple.
Step Three -- Seating the Guests
The ushers seat the family and honored guests at the announced time of the wedding.
The front row is reserved for these special people.
At the rehearsal you can practice escorting in these special guests.
Remind the special people to wait in the back for their escort.
Introducing them to their escort (usher) is all that's needed.
Suggested order for special guests
- Grandparents of the groom
- Grandparents of the bride
- Parents of the groom
- Mother of the bride
Ushers are instructed as to whether they are to seat guests generally, or as "friends of
the bride or friends of the groom" and whether or not they are to walk guests all the
way to their seats, or motion them to empty seats.
In ancient days, fathers would offer daughters as peace offerings to warring tribes. Because of the
hostility, the families were placed on opposite sides of the church so the ceremony could go on without bloodshed.
The ceremony united the two warring factions into on family, and danger of war was resolved.
Step Four -- Processional
Now the bridal party goes to the places from where they will enter on the wedding day.
Groom and his attendants go to the side (stage left, Officiant's left side).
The Bride and her attendants go to the back of the hall.
Wedding party enters and takes places where they were in Step One
- Groom and his attendants walk in from the groom's side, led by Officiant.
- Bride's attendants walking slowly, last outside bridesmaid first (processional music begins)
- Maid of Honor walking slowly
- Ring bearer Suggestion: Use fake rings for the Ring Bearer. This avoids problems with dropping
the rings or with the Ring Bearer refusing to relinquish the rings.
- Flower girl (sometimes accompanied by Ring Bearer)
- Music changes as the Bride prepares to enter
- Officiant motions the guests to rise
- Bride enters with escort on her right
- As the Bride approaches the front, the Groom may take several steps toward her and her
escort and offer her his arm. The Groom is on the Bride's right.
If the escort is to answer some question posed by the Officiant, he should remain
standing until that question is asked, answer the question and be seated. The usual
options for his reply are "I do" or "Her Mother and I do" or
"On behalf of her family, I do."
If the escort is not to answer a question from the Officiant, he should be seated as
soon as the Bride and Groom are standing before the Officiant.
In Old Times, female children were deemed to be the property of their fathers. When it came time for the
daughter to marry and her father approved of the arrangement, he was actually transferring ownership of
his daughter to the groom. Today, it is seen as symbolic of the blessings and support of her union as a
promise of continued trust and affection. Often when the question is asked by a clergy during the
ceremony, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"
Step Five -- Ceremony
"Speak now or forever hold your peace" -- The origin of this infrequently used phrase
dates back to the 16th century. Until then, European marriages could be conducted entirely
in private and were a mess of incest, forced marriages and bigamy.
The Church finally made church weddings mandatory, and instituted a marriage investigation system
that continues today in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and in some civil law.
First, the couple is asked if there are any impediments to the marriage -- e.g., incest, bigamy, forced marriage,
underage marriage, being a priest or nun, etc. Then the banns are published. These
are simply announcements of the couple's intent to marry, intended to cover any impediments they haven't
confessed to or doesn't know about. The banns are read aloud in church three consecutive Sundays or
holidays, usually concluding with the question, "Does anyone have any objections?"
The "forever hold your peace" is just a symbolic remnant of the marriage banns question. Protestant
churches don't use banns at all. Any objection must be for "lawful cause" as an impediment to the marriage,
not to religious issues nor to the marriage itself.
- Officiant may ask "Who brings her here on this happy day of her life?" or "Who brings this woman to marry this man?"
The person or persons escorting the bride usually say: "I do", "We do", or "On behalf of all who love her, I do".
- Bride's escort takes seat in first row
- Officiant performs the ceremony
The rings should be either on the Ring bearer's pillow or in the custody of the
Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor. If carried by the two "best people," the Best Man
should carry the Bride's ring on his little finger, and the Maid of Honor should carry
the Groom's ring on her index finger or thumb.Don't let the Best Man put the
ring in any pocket. Don't have either one of them carry the ring in a bag or box.
Pockets, bags & boxes increase the chances for dropping and/or losing the ring.
Of every 10 rings misplaced or lost at wedding time, 8 have been lost by the
Maid of Honor. She has a big ring you have asked her to put on her relatively
For Maid of Honor and Best Man, have them put the ring on a finger,
and then curl their fingers. Then the ring isn't going anywhere.
If rings are on the Ring bearer's pillow, the Best Man will remove them and give them
to the Officiant one at a time with the Bride's ring first; or deliver both at the same
time, at the option of the Officiant.
The Bride and Groom face the Officiant for the initial portion of the ceremony, then
face each other and join both hands for the vows and rings. If the Bride has not
already given her flowers to her Maid/Matron of Honor, do it now before joining hands.
You will have worked out with the Officiant what you are to say during the wedding
ceremony. Hopefully the Officiant will review this with you before the wedding starts.
At the point of the Vows, you may simply respond to a question, or you may have
decided to do a "repeat-after-me" statement with prompts from the Officiant.
For the exchange of rings, stop holding both hands, and change to holding each
other's left hand. Each will be asked to repeat after the Officiant as they place the
ring on their partner's hand. Rings never fit!! Don't make too much of a struggle out
of it. No one can see whether the ring has cleared the last knuckle or not. Don't use
oil or lotion, either. By the time you have to deal with the rings, it will just make
things more difficult.
As you face the Officiant again, you can wiggle the ring on your own finger more easily
than your partner could.
After the exchange of rings, Bride and Groom continue to face the Officiant until
the end of the ceremony. Then face each other for the kiss. The Bride then gets her
flowers back from her Maid/Matron of Honor, and you both turn to face the guests.
Before the Recessional music starts, however, the Officiant may formally present to
the two of you to your guests if you have arranged for him or her to do this.
Then the recessional music begins.
Step Six -- Practice Recessional again
The traditional church wedding features two bridal marches, by two different classical composers. The bride
walks down the aisle to the majestic, moderately paced music of the "Bridal Chorus" from Richard Wagner's 1848
opera "Lohengrin. The newlyweds exit to the more jubilant, upbeat strains of the "Wedding March" (From
Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream.")
The custom dates back to the royal marriage, in 1858, of Victoria, princess of Great Britain, and Empress
of Germany, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia. Victoria, eldest daughter of Britain's Queen Victoria,
selected the music herself. A patron of the arts, she valued the works of Mendelssohn and practically venerated
those of Wagner. Given the British penchant for copying the monarchy, soon brides throughout the Isles, nobility
and commoners alike, were marching to Victoria's drummer, establishing a Western wedding tradition.
My goal is to help all couples, regardless of their religious affiliation or non-affiliation. I respect all cultures and
creeds and deliver a ceremony with dignity and respect, regardless of whether or not I share the same beliefs.
Click here for a brief explanation of my beliefs.