What is the purpose of a rehearsal?
It is to walk everyone through where they will be, what they will be doing – to practice all the physical elements of the ceremony. You won’t say your vows, do the readings, etc.
Done right, a wedding rehearsal takes a full hour — twice the length of the ceremony! Other officiants will do it in 30 minutes — so they can go home sooner. Rev. Phil is thorough about it. He wants everyone in the wedding party to be comfortable and feel confident. (If you’ve ever stood up in a wedding, how comfortable and confident were you after the rehearsal?)
Who should be there?
Everyone in the processional — parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, ushers (if there is an aisle runner that they will unroll) and, of course, the bride and groom. Readers should also be there.
Where should the rehearsal be at?
Ideally, the room where the ceremony will be. It allows everyone to visualize where they will be walking and standing. This is not always possible. It’s 75% as effective to do it a restaurant or a conference room of the hotel everyone is staying at. (Book enough rooms and they will often give it to you for free.) Just be sure there is plenty of space for a processional and for bridesmaids/groomsmen to stand next to Rev. Phil. (So, need a big, empty space in the shape of a capital T).
When do you not need a rehearsal on a separate day?
When the wedding party is small — like only having a maid/matron of honor and a best man. You will get the processional line by line in the script Rev. Phil will send you in advance. Rev. Phil will do a mini-rehearsal 45 minutes before the ceremony.
The big advantage? No rehearsal on a separate day means you don’t have to provide a rehearsal dinner. That saves a bunch of money.
When are rehearsals?
Most rehearsals are on Thursday evenings (or Wednesday evenings). Venues will not give up a Friday wedding for your rehearsal.
Rev. Phil leads over 90% of the rehearsals for couples he marries. When he is not available – when he has a wedding or another rehearsal at the same time — his trained Rehearsal Specialist leads it in his place.
Try to get a time that Rev. Phil is available.
- Thursdays fill up quickly.
- For Rev. Phil to be present, Friday rehearsals typically start:
- At 11:00am (or earlier). After the rehearsal is done, the guys go golfing or bowling, the ladies get their hair and nails done, then everyone meets up for the rehearsal dinner.
- at 8:30pm. If anyone is late, stuck in traffic, they’re late to the dinner, not the actual rehearsal
- Wednesdays are the most open evening in his calendar.
When is the rehearsal dinner?
Usually after the rehearsal – as a reward for rehearsing (and before people start drinking). Plan your rehearsal dinner to start 90 minutes after the rehearsal. Rev. Phil needs a full hour. If you start a few minutes late, he’ll go a few minutes late. Then, you have to get everyone to their cars and to a restaurant.