By Paula Clark Ramirez

When there’s a wedding in the works, it’s easy to get caught up in all the details of the big day vs. the days surrounding.  While the wedding itself is certainly the shining moment, that’s no reason to let the rehearsal dinner plans fall to the wayside!

The rehearsal is the key to your wedding day success.  You wouldn’t put on a play or perform a symphony without practicing first, right? Your special day should be the same. A proper run-through will ensure that everyone knows where they need to be and when. That being said, there are a number of ways you can make your rehearsal as simple and efficient as possible.

Limit the Guest List

It’s an exciting time, of course, but you should only invite the most necessary people to your rehearsal: you and your fiancé, bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, readers, and anyone else who will play a part in the ceremony. While others may want to join, it can get distracting when everyone is abuzz about the next day. Save the reunion for the actual wedding and limit your rehearsal to those who are directly involved.

Timing is Everything

We all have that one friend (or more!) who can’t seem to get anywhere on time! If you’re concerned people will be late to the rehearsal, give them an earlier time to arrive (like 15 minutes prior) to ensure everything starts on time. Just be sure to check in with the venue to see if it’s doable to arrive a little earlier.  Some places host back-to-back rehearsals, so you’ll want the “ok” to get there before your scheduled time.

Plan Ahead

Instead of trying to figure everything out at the rehearsal, try to hash out the processional, recessional, and lineup of the wedding party ahead of time. This can take up valuable time during the actual rehearsal, and it’s much easier to tweak a pre-established plan than to do it all from scratch.

On that note, make sure that you’re on the same page with both the officiant and the venue to ensure that everything you need for the rehearsal is set in place. If possible, send anything along in advance to speed things up.

Get Connected

If you’ve hired a planner, be sure that he or she is connected with the officiant early on so that they have a chance to chat about the rehearsal ahead of time. It’s up to you to make sure that everyone is on the same page!

streamlining the rehearsal dinner
Nicole Vance Photography

Listen Up

So, you’ve hired a planner and an officiant. Listen to them! They’ve been through the process countless times and are experts at what they do. Avoid micro-managing and let them do their jobs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but know that you can trust your wedding team.

Rehearsal Dinner Reservations

Try to schedule your rehearsal dinner immediately after the rehearsal itself (including transportation time, of course). This gives everyone an incentive to stop chatting and head out. Be sure to provide directions to the dinner as well as the address so it can be plugged into the GPS.

After your rehearsal is behind you, it’s time to mentally prepare for the big day! Don’t stay out too late – the next day will be a long one so you’ll need to get some sleep!

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed & breakfast. They have lovingly restored this national landmark to its original grandeur and are honored to share the treasured estate with couples and their families.  To learn more, please visit

Featured image: Nicole Vance Photography