This page may not display properly in older browsers

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 their actions.

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

Step One -- Everyone in Place

Line up the wedding party where they will be standing for the wedding ceremony.
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

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

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.
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.

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.