Wedding rehearsals are imperative when it comes to making sure that the wedding ceremony runs smoothly. As a wedding planner, you should know that rehearsals are also the perfect opportunity for your wedding couple, along with their bridal party, to calm their wedding day nerves and get them excited for what's to come. With that said, as a business coach for wedding planners, I also know that too many of you reading this are currently winging your processes. Today, I want to talk about the 6 critical mistakes wedding planners make during rehearsals, so you can avoid them this wedding season.
Want someone to outline exactly what you need to do, answer YOUR questions about running a rehearsal, and tell you exactly what you should say and when? While I am going to help you avoid the most common mistakes in today's blog post, I highly recommend you head to the shop and grab my COMPLETE guide to running rehearsals. With over 50 pages, reading and implementing my signature 8 step framework will have you ready to take on the world this wedding season.
Not Having a Clear Agenda
One of the most common mistakes that wedding planners make during rehearsals is not having a clear agenda. Sure, you know you need to tell people where (and when) to walk down the aisle… and maybe you'll answer some of their questions. In fact, without a clear plan, things can get chaotic and confusing.
Before the rehearsal, you should create an agenda that outlines each step of the ceremony and the roles of each member of the bridal party. Hopefully, you are inside the Planner's Playbook or have purchased our guide to planning rehearsals already, so you have an easy-to-follow rinse-and-repeat process. Trust me – a clear agenda will save time and reduce stress during the rehearsal.
Thinking the Rehearsal is a Good Time to Iron Out Specifics
This is quite possibly the BIGGEST mistake on the list. The wedding rehearsal is NOT a time for ironing out the last-minute details. That should already be done. The rehearsal is about practicing what the couple has already decided, with changes only needed for extenuating circumstances.
So, if you find yourself making decisions AT the rehearsal learning who stands where and what song choices your couple wants – you need to re-evaluate your process… pronto. Showing up to the rehearsal with unfinished business is a surefire way to invite chaos into the wedding day… because everyone will have opinions, and as you know, they’re not shy about sharing them.
Having Your Rehearsal Run Too Long (Or Go By Too Quickly)
Timing is everything when it comes to planning a wedding, and the rehearsal is no exception. One of the biggest mistakes that wedding planners make during rehearsals is poor timing. Not having a clear and defined schedule can lead to confusion, stress, and disorganization. A poorly planned rehearsal can put everyone involved on edge and create a negative environment, which is not ideal for the couple, their families, or the bridal party.
To avoid this, wedding planners need to set a definite time for the rehearsal. This should be done well in advance so that everyone attending knows how much time to set aside. Planners should also make sure that the bridal party is aware of the rehearsal time and, if they can, stress the importance of being on time.
I typically recommend budgeting an hour for rehearsals, and in my guide for wedding rehearsals, I walk you through my 8-stage framework. When done well, this gives everyone enough time to go through the entire ceremony, without the risk of dragging things out so that people lose focus.
Not Considering the Weather
For outdoor weddings, weather can be the deciding factor between a perfect ceremony and a complete disaster. One sudden downpour can ruin everything, from decor to seating arrangements, and throw the entire wedding off schedule. You ALREADY know it's essential for wedding planners to have backup plans ready in case of unfavorable weather conditions.
Wedding planners need to consider all possible scenarios during rehearsals, including weather conditions, to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the wedding. By having backup plans in place, wedding planners can effectively manage unforeseen situations and ensure that the couple's big day is perfect, regardless of the weather.
Not Giving Clear Direction
Someone needs to be in charge – and it needs to be you. If you are reading this, you already know that wedding planners play a critical role in ensuring that wedding ceremonies run smoothly. During rehearsals, wedding planners must demonstrate their knowledge and expertise by providing clear direction to the bridal party. People love direction – you need to give it to them.
Unfortunately, some wedding planners make the mistake of being too passive during rehearsals. This can lead to confusion and misunderstandings among the bridal party, resulting in an awkward or disorganized wedding ceremony. To prevent this from happening, wedding planners must show authority and be assertive when necessary.
This doesn't mean you need to be a drill sergeant, but by taking charge and being clear about everyone's roles and responsibilities during the ceremony, you can make sure that everyone involved feels confident and comfortable in THEIR role on the wedding day.
Not Having a Bridal Party Timeline
Last but not least, one of the most crucial elements of a successful rehearsal is having a well-planned timeline for the wedding day to hand out to the bridal party. Failing to have a timeline in place can lead to confusion, delays, and, ultimately, a chaotic wedding day. Especially when your couple has invited 15+ of their closest friends to join them on their day.
As a wedding planner, it is important to ensure that bridal party members are given a clear and comprehensive timeline that includes important times and details leading up to the wedding day, including hair and makeup appointments, transportation details, and a detailed overview of the wedding day schedule (as it affects them).
Think of the bridal party timeline as a road map that guides everyone to the same destination. And don't show up to your rehearsal without it!
As a Wedding Planner, You NEED to Feel Confident During Your Wedding Rehearsals
As a wedding planner, confidence AND knowledge are key when it comes to executing a successful rehearsal. The rehearsal is NOT a time to “fake it”. If you don't feel confident during rehearsals, it can lead to mistakes and a lack of trust from those involved in the wedding… right before the wedding day!
If you need a little help, I've put EVERYTHING I know inside my guide on how to run a wedding rehearsal. It is PACKED with tips and tricks on how to plan and manage a rehearsal, including step-by-step instructions, conversational scripts, and even a pre-wedding rehearsal questionnaire to send out to your couples. I might be biased, but it's the ultimate resource for wedding planners who want to improve their skills and confidence when it comes to rehearsing weddings. Get instant access inside my shop now.
You Need to Nail More Than Just the Rehearsal Though
If you love NO-BS business advice and are ready to become the best wedding planner in the industry (or at LEAST – in your area!), I want to invite you to hop on the waitlist for the Planner’s Playbook now. If you’ve been trying to grow your wedding business and get caught wondering, “What TF do I do next?!” more than once – I truly believe the Planner’s Playbook is where you need to be, friend. Inside this monthly membership, I show you EVERYTHING you need to know to design, plan, and execute your dream weddings. Hop on the waitlist for extra perks now.
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