GUIDELINES FOR REHEARSAL
These are just guidelines; you can do almost anything you want and it is okay! After all, it is your wedding!
Before beginning the rehearsal you want to determine how the bride and groom and the entire wedding party will stand for the ceremony. There are options. The traditional way (minister facing people and bride and groom with backs to people); a slight variation of this with bride and groom turned slightly toward each other; the reverse of the traditional (bride and groom facing people and minister’s back or side toward the people); everyone facing the people; or the bride and groom facing the minister but standing sideways (profile) to the people.
You may consider having music (live, taped, CD, or whatever) beginning at any part of the ceremony described below. You may consider a piece of music for the beginning and a special piece for the bride’s entrance.
The maid of honor should be very aware of helping the bride with her dress, train, and bouquet as she approaches the minister, especially if there are stairs. She should be alert to help her as she moves about and prepares to leave at the end of the ceremony.
After all your other guests are seated, grandparents are seated, then mothers. (This is really the beginning of the ceremony.) An usher or groomsman (offering their right arms to female guests) escorts grandmothers, then mothers, up the aisle, with husbands or escorts following along. If you choose to have a unity candle, at this point the mothers go to the table up front and light the two thin candles, symbolizing your individual personalities. They then go their seats. The bride’s usual side (as you face the front) is to the left, with the groom’s side to the right; whether you want other guests, beyond immediate family, to follow this order is up to you.
The minister, groom and best man enter from the front or come up the main aisle. The remaining groomsmen, arranged by height usually, with the tallest man first, can enter with the minister, groom and best man or they may enter after the minister, groom, and best man are in their places. Then the bridesmaids enter, each waiting until the one before her is at least halfway up the aisle or completely in place up front. The maid, or matron, of honor always enters alone, just before the bride. If there is a flower girl and/or ring bearer, they enter between the maid/matron of honor and the bride. (If one or the other is very young and needs some steering, it might be best to put them in front of the maid/matron of honor rather than in front of the bride.) Once at the front, the attendants face the guests, turning slightly to follow the bride’s walk down the aisle. The bride is usually escorted by her father or mother, or other male figure important to her, but may be escorted by both parents, or may walk in alone.