Question: Do we need a rehearsal? A wedding director?
Answer: This is a question I will discuss with you when we meet face-to-face. The answer depends on several factors, such as the size of the wedding, the number in your wedding party, and the complexity of the ceremony itself.
First, if your wedding is small with few attendants and does not include any traditions and customs, then you probably can get by without a designated director or day coordinator. If, for example, the wedding is going to be held in the back yard with no formal procession/recession with only a best man/maid of honor, then you will probably get by without a formal rehearsal and wedding director. I would still recommend that you conduct an informal rehearsal on your own.
If, however, your wedding is more formal and larger in nature, I highly recommend a rehearsal (with me in attendance) and a wedding director or day coordinator. For example, with multiple bridesmaids and groomsmen, parents, grandparents, a flower girl and ring bearer–well, the procession alone can be quite an ordeal!
Let me illustrate some of the reasons why the rehearsal itself is critical. With multiple bridesmaids and groomsmen, parents, grandparents, a flower girl and ring bearer, and perhaps junior bridesmaids–well, the procession alone can be quite complex! For the procession to work well, for example, everyone involved needs to know in advance where and when to gather, in what order to line up, when to enter and with what musical selection, and where to sit. Without professional direction, this part of the ceremony alone can be chaotic. The issue of where and how the bridesmaids and groomsmen stand needs planning. Special attention should be paid to such seemingly minor matters as what the groomsmen do with their hands during the ceremony! I’ve attended weddings where groomsmen had their hands in their pockets and were chewing gum! All of these seemingly small details, if not attended to, can tarnish an otherwise perfect wedding ceremony.
Other issues that require rehearsing is who accompanies who during the procession? Where do the mothers, fathers, grandparents, and relative sit? Who will have the rings? When do the flower girl and ring bearer enter? Do they stand or sit? How will these individuals unseat themselves when the wedding recession occurs and in what order? Where does the wedding party go after the recession?
Let’s face it: not only does the long-range planning for a wedding include dozens of details that have to be decided upon, but the ceremony itself is full of decisions that have to be made. The entire process itself can be fully of anxiety and stress. It’s important to remember that the ceremony is the culmination of, typically, months of planning. It should be as perfect as it can be! Why not then have a rehearsal where I attend and, in addition, employ the expertise of an experienced director or day coordinator to take that stress and worry off your minds?
I have had several large, complex weddings for which I was not invited to attend the rehearsal. The brides and grooms were confident that they could handle things themselves. Most of these ceremonies were completed without a hitch. In one such wedding, for example, the best man (in this case, the father of the groom) accompanied the maid of honor during the recession. He was supposed to have returned for his wife, the mother of the bride; but he forgot! How embarrassing for the mother of the bride to sit there waiting and waiting for her husband to come back for her. This won’t happen with a good rehearsal and someone there to direct things.
At another wedding for which I was not asked to attend the rehearsal, the bride and groom at the last minute added a unity candle ceremony after we had finalized the wedding ceremony script. When I arrived at the wedding, no one told me of the change! My script simply did not include that option. At another such wedding, the couple decided just before the ceremony to have two friends read passages especially chosen for that occasion. Again, no one informed me, and since I was not at the rehearsal, the readings didn’t get included in the ceremony. A needless disappointment that could have been easily prevented.
Since there is no hard-and-fast rule about my attending the rehearsal and your need for a wedding director, I’m here to give you my guidance and experience about these decision. I look forward to discussing this with you when we meet.