Five Tips for Running an Efficient, Stress-Free and Fun Dress Rehearsal

By Ta’Leah Van Sistine, Marketing & Communications Intern

When rehearsal day arrives, the countdown officially begins, as your wedding is less than 24 hours away. It’s exciting and everyone is electric with anticipation, but stress for the big day can sneak up out of nowhere if you aren’t prepared. Planning an efficient and effective rehearsal is a key way to ensure your special day will be unforgettable… in the best way!

Here are five simple tips to help ensure your rehearsal runs smoothly and that everyone who has a role in your ceremony is ready for the big day.

Plan Your Lineup and Other Details in Advance

Before your wedding party marches down the aisle, coordinate who is walking with who, and what order they are walking in. Consider whether family members and other key figures in the wedding will walk prior to the wedding party, and if so, which ones.

Ask yourself if Grandma and Grandpa, Mom, Dad, ushers or the officiant will come in before your official wedding party. Determine where your bridesmaids and groomsmen will line up, too.

Have a singer, musician or DJ providing music for your ceremony? Determine where they will set up and confirm whether they need access to electricity. Make sure your readers have practiced and that you know where they will be seated during the ceremony. They’ll need to easily access the podium or lectern. For unity ceremonies like lighting a candle or using sand, consider when you want it to take place. Here at the Garden, we’ll help you consider all of these aspects with our pre-planning ceremony checklist we send out a few months prior to your wedding day.

Finally, decide if you and your significant other want a first look or if you’d rather surprise one another when you walk down the aisle. If a first look is not for you, locate a place you can stay hidden before the ceremony.

bridal party celebrating PC: Abigail Miles Photography

PC: Abigail Miles Photography

Be On Time and Be Present

Ask your party members and other rehearsal attendees to arrive 15 minutes early so rehearsal can start on time. Being on time is respectful of the venue, your officiant and your wedding party. Here at the Garden, you have a scheduled block of time for your rehearsal, so you’ll want to make the most of it. So your rehearsal can proceed as planned and end on time, be sure to get all of your hellos and hugs with friends and family in before it begins. It’ll save time and then you can enjoy each other’s company during the rehearsal dinner – which you can have at the Garden if you’d like!

Rehearsals should be relaxed and easygoing. Make sure everyone involved is paying attention and on the same page, so when it comes to the big day, the ceremony will happen as it should from the processional to the recessional, and everything in between.

ceremony in lusthaus PC: Becky Bourget Photography

PC: Becky Bourget Photography

Prep Your Officiant to Run the Rehearsal

Your officiant should ideally be the one who knows the most about your vision for your ceremony and, so, should be able to run the rehearsal. If the officiant is a friend or relative who has not done a ceremony before, ask them to do some research on the process, so they are well prepared and comfortable with the procedure. The order of events should be pre-discussed amongst the wedding party and the officiant as well.

Run Through the Main Parts of the Ceremony

Your officiant should also be the one to lead the run-through of the ceremony itself. Actually going through the motions of who needs to be where helps solidify how the ceremony should proceed. It also gives everyone in the wedding party and VIP family members the chance to experience a little bit of how events will unfold in real time. They might remember something you don’t and can subtly remind you what you need to do during the big day!

And don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there are parts of your ceremony you’re unsure of, ask your officiant for clarification. It’s better to be over prepared than underprepared.

Wedding in Matthew Schmidt Garden PC: Alli Martins Photography

PC: Alli Martins Photography

Solidify Your Plan for Inclement Weather

The Garden has some of the most beautiful backdrops for a ceremony, but having an outdoor ceremony also means a chance for rain, unexpected temperatures and even inclement weather. Keeping an eye on the forecast is a must in the weeks before your special day, but we also recommend confirming a Plan B for your ceremony location in case Mother Nature has other ideas than blue skies and sunshine.

Here at the Garden, we do our best to accommodate you and your guests in the event of inclement weather. We help wipe down chairs, fluctuate ceremony times and if we have open indoor space, we try to move the ceremony inside as a last resort. We also recommend renting a backup tent you can use in case it rains. You can coordinate tent rentals with our team.

These are just a few tips to help you plan a stress-free rehearsal! If you have questions about having a wedding or a rehearsal dinner at the Garden, visit our website for more information or contact our Sales & Rental Team at or 920.491.3691 ext. 118.