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While you are bound to be nervous on your wedding day, a smooth rehearsal beforehand will help calm your nerves so you can enjoy your big day. The rehearsal is your opportunity to iron out last-minute details and let everyone in the wedding party meet each other. Consider sending out informal invitations to the rehearsal to everyone attending and include directions to the church and the location of the dinner. This way, no one will arrive late and you will have plenty of time to rehearse and answer questions.

The bride and groom should be the first people there, along with the officiant or minister performing the ceremony. As others arrive, be sure to make introductions of the guests and minister. The rehearsal should involve everyone who will be in the ceremony, which would include the parents of the happy couple, the wedding party, the ring-bearer, flower girl (along with their parents), musicians, vocalists, readers, and guest book attendant.

The rehearsal itself should follow the structure of the ceremony, going in the same order. Walk through everything, including having each attendant couple walking down the aisle together so they become familiar with each other gait. Children should practice a few extra times to make them more comfortable so they do not freeze the day of the ceremony. The minister will take the lead during the rehearsal, making sure everyone knows what is expected of him or her. In fact, the bride and groom will go through their vows all the way up to the I dos so they are not officially married during rehearsal.

Seating of the mothers and fathers of the bride and groom, any grandparents and other special relatives should also be discussed with the minister. If there are unusual family arrangements that might include a birth mother and adoptive mother, for instance, make sure everyone is clear on seating arrangements for the first row of seats, which are generally reserved for the parents and grandparents. Special arrangements for anyone handicapped should also be clearly identified. Ideally, one or more ushers will be in charge of escorting and assisting anyone who needs help.

If you are having a receiving line at the wedding, you want to practice lining up in the proper order to see if the arrangement allows for proper traffic flow. You will then have the opportunity to address any problems that you might not have noticed before. This is also a good time to make sure the wedding party is clear on when and where photographs will be taken.

Finally, before leaving the rehearsal for dinner, go over where and when everyone will meet. Make it clear to the bridesmaids and ushers when they need to be at the church and what their responsibilities will be before the ceremony as well as after. After going through the ceremony rehearsal, take a breath, relax, and enjoy your rehearsal dinner where you can visit.

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