How long does a wedding rehearsal take? 3 Great Things to Remember

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Written By Aaron Smith

Rev. Aaron Smith enjoys sharing insights from over 10 years of wedding officiating experience.

How long does a wedding rehearsal take? This is an important question when wedding planning because it can be a difficult wedding event to plan. Here’s why:

What is a Wedding Rehearsal?

how long does a wedding rehearsal take
How long does a wedding rehearsal take? 3 Great Things to Remember 3 how long does a wedding rehearsal take

A wedding rehearsal is a practice run through of your wedding ceremony that typically takes place the night before your wedding. The wedding rehearsal is the event when most of your wedding party and family will meet one another for the first time if they did not already know one another. The rehearsal takes place in the venue where you will be married so you will want to ensure that you reserve the space for the reherasal at the same time when you reserve the space for your ceremony.

Although it is very common for the venue to reserve this time for you the night before your wedding you don’t want to assume that the space will be available for your wedding the night before. The reason for this is because many venues have Friday evening ceremonies for example and they may expect you to have your reherarsal on a different day, like on the Thursday before a Saturday wedding. If you reserve the space for your rehewarsal at the same time that you reserve the space for the wedding you will have the peace of mind that you will be able to practice without any interruptions.

Because this is the first time that most of your family and wedding party will meet for the first time you will want to hold some time for everyone to get to at least meet one another before you start pracicing. You will want to do this not only because it’s a thoughtful thing to do but because you don’t want people to have to introduce themelves to one another while you are practicing the ceremony. When you are determing “how long does a wedding rehearsal take?” be sure to take your time when it comes to family introductions and it will make everything else go smoothly.

It will make your ceremony take much longer if people do this themselves rather than you taking a few minutes to make sure that everyone knows those who are participating. Be sure that everyone knows who is participating and who is present but not participating just to help everyone understand and that there is no confusion.

A wedding rehearsal is your opportunity to practice so that you will be at peace with your wedding planning when you lay yourself to sleep the night before the wedding. Although this is a traditional wedding event be sure to do whatever you need to do to practice as many times as you need to. This is also a finaly opportunity to make any changes to your ceremony.

Of course, this is not your first choice but your last option that you can exercise if you need to. If you need a different reader or if you need to move something around in your ceremony order you will want to make sure that you communicate this change to everyone at your rehearsal and not on your wedding day if possible.

How long does a wedding rehearsal take? It depends on your wedding parts.

Answering the question, “how long does a wedding rehearsal take?” is based on a few main factors such as how your ceremony is structured and how many parts it contains, your faith tradition, and the order or requirements of the church where the wedding is taking place.

Of course, if your cereomony is shorter that will mean that your reherasal will also be shorter as well. However even if your ceremony is shorter we recommend practicing your ceremony at least 2 times so that everyone is on the same page and more confident about what to do on wedding day.

A good measure of how long your wedding rehearsal should be is about 2 to 3 times as long as your wedding ceremony with a 1 hour minimum to a 1 1/2 hour maximum. According to the average wedding ceremony is 30 minutes long:,%2C%20and%20the%20final%20pronouncement).

There are a few reasons why your rehearsal will be longer than the actual ceremony. One reason is because if you have time you will want to run through your ceremony 2 or even 3 times. The 3rd run through should only be if you are not happy with how the 2nd run through went.

Some recommend that you have a quick rehearsal however I have found from perosnal experience that taking more time for the reherasal means that everyone is more confident with their parts on wedding day. Also, the rehearsal is about more than just practicing. You want to be sure that everyone not only knows who is present and participating but understand one another’s roles so that they will be able to support one another.

You never know when someone will need to step in and help someone else during the ceremony. This is especially true because emotions are always running high and if everyone is aware of what is happening and who is completing each task you will have a stronger and wiser wedding party.

One part of the ceremony that I highly recommend walking through is the exchange of rings. From perosnal experience as an offiicant, I have learned that the giving of the rings to the bride and groom and the exchange is harder than it looks and you will want to practice to understand the order and how this part of the ceremony will flow. The other parts of the ceremony such as reading, songs, and reading of vows don’t need to be done in their entirety however you will want to know where everyone is standing and any movement that takes place during each part of the service.

And finally, how long does a wedding rehearsal take? Remember to keep in mind any requirements that the church may have for the service. For example, some churches might ask that you partake in communion during the service. Although this is not a very common request be sure that you know the direction of the church so that you know what to expect for the length of the ceremony and therefore how long your wedding rehearsal will take.

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How long does a wedding rehearsal take? 3 Great Things to Remember 4 how long does a wedding rehearsal take

After the Rehearsal.

After your rehearsal takes place, you will have a rare opportunity to direct your wedding party and family about the wedding rehearsal dinner which takes place after the rehearsal. It’s good practice for the wedding officiant to hand over the floor to the wedding planner to give instructions about getting to the dinner. This is also a good opportunity for the wedding party to hear from the planner who will work in the background for most of the wedding.

We have heard from the officiant during the rehearsal. Now it’s good for everyone to get some instruction from the planner as well. It makes sense for the couple to introduce the wedding planner to everyone and to let the wedding party know that if they have any questions that they are welcome to ask the planner. This will take some pressure and hopefully a few questions off of you as a couple as you prepare for the big day the next day!

We hope that you have a better answer to your question, “how long does a wedding rehearsal take?” Now be sure that your venue is reserved for your big day!

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