About Wedding Rehearsals

1. What is a wedding rehearsal?

A wedding rehearsal is a “walk-through” of the ceremony and usually includes the two partners getting married, Flower Girls, Ring Bearers, Officiant, and any others in your wedding party. It is not like a play or a movie rehearsal where people have to practise their singing, dancing, or acting together, but rather a chance for everyone in your wedding party (and any parents who will be participating) to know when to come in, where to stand, when to exchange vows, when to sign documents, etc. Essentially, a wedding rehearsal’s purpose is to familiarize you and your wedding party of what to do during the ceremony so that everyone will feel more confident about their roles on your actual wedding day.

2. Is a rehearsal always needed?

No, but, it is advisable to have a rehearsal if you will have more than two people in your wedding party, and/or if you would like to include loved ones in any wedding traditions/rituals (e.g. hand-fasting, wine cup ceremony, candle-lighting, sand-blending, etc.). Having a rehearsal will make your wedding day go more smoothly.

3. How long does a wedding rehearsal take?

Rehearsals usually last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes and should be straightforward; essentially, your wedding party is there to learn when and how to walk in during the processional, where to stand or sit during your ceremony, and when and how to walk out during the recessional. 

4. Should the musicians I hire attend my wedding rehearsal?

If you will be having musicians at your wedding, you do not need them at the rehearsal, unless you really want them there, in which case you may have to pay them extra for their time. If, however, you would like your wedding party and loved ones to each walk in/out to specific pieces of music, then you may want to have the musicians attend your rehearsal as well.

5. Should my Officiant attend my wedding rehearsal?

Having your Officiant present at your rehearsal is usually a good idea, particularly for guidance and advice on how/where/when to enter/walk/stand/sit/leave and help everyone feel more comfortable with proceedings. Remember though that your key wedding elements should be a surprise. Same goes for your marriage vows: keep them a secret until your wedding day :)

6. When should a rehearsal take place?

Avoid having your wedding rehearsal the evening before your wedding, if possible. All too often couples plan their rehearsal for a Friday evening, thinking this is what they should do. The problem with Friday evening is that your Officiant may not be available, or your wedding venue may not be available, the night before as both often have weddings booked ton Fridays. Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon is the most popular time slot for weddings. Also, I often have more than one wedding to perform on a Saturday and if everyone wanted their rehearsal the Friday night before, then, well it would not work as I cannot be in two places at the same time :)

Instead, try to plan your rehearsal on another day of the week, or it must be on a Friday, then try for the morning or after lunch. This way, you have a much better chance of ensuring that you will have both your Officiant and the venue available for your rehearsal.

Another mistake some couples make is checking with everyone else for their rehearsal except their wedding Officiant! Please check first with your Officiant to determine availability. If you set your rehearsal without first confirming availability with your Officiant, you may find that your Officiant has a previous commitment.


Katherine Dimou, B.A., Dip.B.Admin., W.P.I.C.C.
Licensed Marriage Officiant & Wedding Day Coordinator


Proudly serving Stratford, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto, and Niagara region, since 2004.