How to Direct a Wedding Rehearsal

The wedding ceremony is the most important part of the wedding. First and foremost, allow the officiant to take charge of the rehearsal unless that person tells you that you are in charge. You never want to step on an officiant’s toes, so always remember they are in charge. It is very important that you have a rehearsal for every wedding because practice makes perfect!

How to Direct a Wedding Rehearsal


  • Always plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the rehearsal begins or as early as the musicians plan to arrive.
  • If there will be a scripture reader they will need to arrive at rehearsal early to practice their reading before the actual rehearsal begins.
  • If there will be a unity candle service make sure the lighter and the unity candle are set up before rehearsal so participants can practice their role.
  • If there will be any solo’s or duet’s the vocalists will need to arrive early to practice before the rehearsal begins.

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The Rehearsal

  • Upon arrival for the rehearsal have wedding party members sit close to the altar, where the officiant may say a prayer or the director may welcome them.
  • Before doing the recessional or processional, place the entire wedding party in their spots at the altar. To ensure everyone will remember where to stand on the wedding day place masking tape or a sticker with their name on the floor.
  • Place parents and grandparents in their appropriate reserved seat.
  • Introduce the ushers and/or groomsmen to the family members they will be escorting.
  • Instruct the wedding party members where and how to stand. Make sure all groomsmen are standing the same way. With left hand over right or vice versa.
  • Instruct the bridesmaids how to hold their bouquets and how to pivot when the couple is in place for the ceremony.
  • Make sure the bride is pleased with where everyone is standing and make adjustments as needed.
  • Next, the couple or the groom and the proxy bride will be in place ready for instructions by the officiant (if the officiant is attending the rehearsal).
  • Instruct the wedding party to walk slow.
  • The wedding party will practice the recessional. This includes parents and grandparents as well.
  • Then the entire wedding party will repeat the whole ceremony from the beginning.  Starting with the seating of the grandparents, parents, procession of the officiant, groom and best man; the wedding party/bridesmaids and groomsmen followed by the ring bearer and flower girl.
  • As one bridesmaid or bridesmaids/groomsman walks down the aisle, the next one waits until the previous one is about half-way or two-thirds of the way down before beginning.
  • Ushers will close the doors; upon cues, to the musicians, they will open the doors for the bride and her escort to proceed.
  • Then have everyone practice the recessional again. It’s best to practice the processional and recessional a couple of times to ensure everyone in the wedding party is comfortable.
  • After you are done practicing pass out the wedding day schedules and go over what time everyone needs to arrive the following day and the location. Also, go over any of the rules of the church or venue and any of your personal rules with the wedding party (example: no gum during the ceremony).


Wedding Ceremony Diagram


To download our How to Direct a Wedding Rehearsal Guide CLICK HERE!

xo, Terrica

How to direct a wedding rehearsal


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