What To Expect During Your Wedding Rehearsal

Eucalyptus and pampas grass flower wedding ceremony aisle at Triunfo Creek Vineyards
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Tips For A Smooth Wedding Rehearsal

Eucalyptus and pampas grass flower wedding ceremony aisle at Triunfo Creek Vineyards
Photo by: Wild Whim Photography

You’ve planned your engagement party, wedding shower, bachelor(ette) parties and of course, your dream wedding! Now that the big day is right around the corner, it’s time to have your wedding rehearsal! If you’re feeling unsure of what a wedding rehearsal will look + feel like, don’t fret! It can feel weird to practice walking but believe me, your wedding rehearsal is a huge help to make sure your wedding ceremony runs smoothly. Below I’m sharing some tips + things to expect for your wedding rehearsal:

Schedule It ASAP

A Springtime Malibu Wedding ceremony at Calamigos Ranch, reserved seat sign
Photo by: Sun and Sparrow

It’s important to book your wedding rehearsal with your venue as soon as you can. Most often, rehearsals are held the day before the wedding. However, don’t be surprised if that’s not the case. Venues can get busy and may not have a lot of available options for a rehearsal. It might be morning, afternoon or early evening but try to book it when there is available daylight so you can see everything. Often times you could book it around the same time as your ceremony to see what the light looks at that time.

Who To Invite?

A music festival themed wedding ceremony at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Photo by: Kadi Tobin Photography

When trying to figure out who to invite to the rehearsal, you can keep it to the bare minimum. Be sure to invite your entire wedding party; especially if you have small children as a flower/ring child. Giving kids practice at walking down the aisle will be extremely beneficial. They understand what’s expected of them and it won’t be a scary experience. 

Additionally, invite any friends or family members also walking down the aisle, as well as anyone giving a reading during the ceremony. You can also invite anyone that will have special seating (i.e. an elderly family member), so they’re aware of where to go. Lastly, invite your officiant so they can run-thru the ceremony with you. 


bridal accessories including gold shoes, lace face mask, beaded clutch and heart shaped sunglasses
Photo by: Cheers Babe Photography

When it comes to what to wear to your wedding rehearsal, the world is your oyster! You can go upscale, dressed-down, etc. Use your venue + wedding theme as your guide. However, I do recommend brides wear their wedding shoes (or something similar) to get a feel for what the walk will be like. 

Let Your Wedding Planner Run The Rehearsal

Christian backyard wedding ceremony
Photo by: Justin Jay

After you invite everyone necessary, let your wedding planner take it from there. Your wedding planner will help instruct everyone where to stand, walk, line up, etc. This is your time to enjoy the process and visualize all of your planning coming together! 

Processional vs Recessional

An ocean view wedding ceremony at The Redondo Beach Historic Library, ring bearers driving car down aisle
Photo by: Chloe Moore Photography

Speaking of figuring out who walks when, let’s break down the difference between a “recessional” and a “processional”. A processional is the group of people walking down the aisle that signifies the beginning of the ceremony, whereas the recessional is after the “I Do’s” and is the way everyone exits the ceremony.

Depending on your religion, customs, etc the order of who walks can vary. However, we feel that because it’s your wedding day, the processional + recessional are ultimately up to you! Together with your planner, you can decide the best way to get everyone down the aisle. Maybe you want all of your wedding party to walk together. Perhaps you are close to a sibling and want them to walk you down the aisle. In our eyes, there is no right or wrong way and we’ll help guide you to make your day a reflection of you. If you’re curious about an example, I’ve included one below for a nondenominational, heterosexual couple:

Discuss The Day-Of Schedule

Photo by: Valorie Darling Photography

After you and your wedding party have rehearsed, it’s a good idea to have your planner go over the schedule for the wedding day with everyone present. Not necessarily the entire timeline, but the key highlights before the big ceremony. For example, any women getting glam need to know when/where to show up. Additionally, if you are planning getting ready photos or a first-look, make sure the planner discusses all those details with everyone involved so there is no miscommunication amongst the group. Pro Tip: As a planner, I usually have condensed versions of the schedule printed out for anyone who wants them and pass them out at the rehearsal and I often email them to everyone a week or two in advance so they have a digital copy.

Just For Fun

bride wearing Reformation wedding dress holding bouquet with pink and purple florals
Photo by: Alissa Noelle

This is a silly tradition but, if you had a bridal or wedding shower prior to this event, save the ribbons from gifts and create a DIY bouquet to carry down the aisle! It adds some whimsy and allows you to perfect the bouquet hand-off. 

I hope this helps breakdown some things to expect for your wedding rehearsal. If you need tips + tricks on planning your rehearsal dinner, check out this post! Be sure to also check out this beautiful sangeet we helped plan last year. And as always friends, if you’re ready to start planning your wedding rehearsal, contact me on my homepage here!

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Expert Party Planner, Podcaster, and Creative Entrepreneur.

I'm a creative entrepreneur at heart and have been running my business for over 10 years and have planned and executed over 150+ weddings. I'm an expert in this industry and care deeply about my clients and making sure they have the best experience. I just launched a podcast with my work wife, Gabby Pinkerton of Cause We Can Events, called Just Another Biz Podcast! Go check it out!

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