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Your wedding ceremony is a deeply meaningful and emotional event for you, your partner, your parents and your family and friends. So when you look deeply into your partner's eyes and express your love to them in front of everyone, we really want you to be present in that moment and to let everything else just fall away. The best way to help that happen is to hold a rehearsal.
That way you won't be wondering about silly things like, "Is it okay to hold his/her hand?", "Should I face the officiant or my partner now?", "Is it time to walk back down the aisle?", "What do I do with my bouquet?". These questions are just fine during the rehearsal and most of them will be answered for you before you have the chance to ask. But when we see it during a ceremony in the faces of couples who have elected not to do a rehearsal, we feel bad for them. They are not lost in the moment like they should be.
That is not to say that if you decide not to have a rehearsal we will leave you high and dry. Far from it. We will do our best in the half-hour leading up to the ceremony to help everyone understand what to do when and how to do it. And things will go smoother, but no one will really feel confident in their roles or their actions without having actually practiced them.
So, what do we do in a rehearsal that makes it so great? Well we practice lining up, processing in, giving the bride away, readings, unity ceremonies, the exchange of rings, the kiss, the recessional and anything else important to the ceremony. We do everything except read the ceremony, we save that for the wedding itself. But we do walk through each section and what needs to happen.
You'll find that you leave the rehearsal feeling good about what you need to do and that will leave you able put the focus on your partner during the ceremony. Right where it should be.