Ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect?” Well, it holds true for weddings. Whether you’re planning a small wedding with just a dozen or so close family members or a large one with 100+ guests, you’ll want to rehearse the ceremony beforehand to ensure that everyone knows what to do and when to do it.

Designate Someone as the Wedding Coordinator

It’s a good idea to either hire or designate someone as the coordinator for your wedding. Even if the rehearsal goes smoothly, wedding day nerves may cause you or someone else in your party to mess up. A coordinator, however, will orchestrate everyone during the ceremony to prevent mishaps from occurring. Of course, the coordinator should attend the rehearsal so he or she can prepare for the big day.

Pair Up Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

You’ll need to pair up the bridesmaids and groomsmen during the rehearsal so they’ll be ready for the actual ceremony. Some couples prefer to pair their groomsmen and bridesmaids based on height to achieve a more uniform appearance (great for photos). Hopefully, you have an even number on both sides, but if you don’t it’s perfectly acceptable to place two bridesmaids with one groomsmen or vise-versa.

Order of Procession

Next, choose the order of procession for your ceremony. Many couples feel lose and confused when it comes to the order of procession, simply because there are so many different ways to enter. According to Brides.com, however, a popular order is to have the bride’s mother walk down the aisle first, followed by the officiant, the groom, the groomsmen and bridesmaids (paired), the flowergirl and ringbearer, and then the bride accompanied by her father. There’s really no wrong order, though, so feel free to come up with your own order of procession.


Don’t underestimate the importance of setting the right walking pace for your ceremony. Some people may attempt to walk in sync with the music, taking a step with each note. Most professional wedding planners will agree, though, that it’s better to walk at a slow, steady pace, without worrying about the music. Decide at what walking pace you want for the procession and recession, instructing bridesmaids and groomsmen on how to achieve it.

Check with the Band

If you plan on hiring a DJ or band to perform at your wedding, contact them beforehand to see if they are interested in participating in the rehearsal. Doing so will allow them to survey the venue, identifying the best possible location to set up their equipment. And if your wedding is scheduled for the day after the rehearsal, they may choose to go ahead and set up.

Photo credit: Tyler Hoff