Licensed marriage officiant and certified wedding coordinator

~ Specializing in multicultural and humanist ceremonies ~

What is a wedding rehearsal?

A “walk-through” of the ceremony and usually includes the Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Flower Girls, Ring Bearer, Officiant, and others in the wedding party. It is not like a play or a movie rehearsal where people have to practise their singing, dancing, or acting together.

Is a rehearsal always necessary?

No, but, it is wise to have a rehearsal if you will have a large wedding party, or a wedding with several readings and/or specific rituals (e.g. candle-lighting, sand-blending, hand-fasting, etc.). Rehearsals usually last about 30 minutes and are straightforward; essentially, your wedding party is there to learn when and how to walk in during the processional, where to stand (or sit) during the ceremony, and when and how to walk out during the recessional. In summary, a wedding rehearsal’s purpose is to show people where they fit in during the ceremony so they will feel more confident about their roles on the actual wedding day.

Should musicians and my Officiant be at the rehearsal?

Re: musicians - 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.

Re: Officiant - having your officiant present at your rehearsal is usually a good idea as he/she can guide you and advise you on how/where/when to enter/walk/stand/sit/leave. But, you do not want your officiant reading your wedding service before the wedding! The ceremony should be a surprise. Same goes for your marriage vows: keep them a secret until your wedding day :)

When should a rehearsal take place?

Try to avoid planning your wedding rehearsal on the evening before your wedding. This cannot be stressed enough. Many couples make the mistake of planning their rehearsal for Friday evening, or Saturday during the day. Neither of these timeframes is a good idea as most weddings take place between Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon and the venue and/or your officiant may not be available on the day or time you want. Instead, try to plan your rehearsal on another day of the week or Friday early in the day. 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 everyone else's schedule for their rehearsal except their wedding officiant’s. Please first check with your officiant to learn if he/she is available and then check with everyone else! If you set your rehearsal without first confirming availability with your officiant, you may find that your officiant has a previous commitment and that you may have to do your rehearsal without him/her.


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 the Niagara region