According to the Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants, a wedding ceremony rehearsal must be provided to all couples who request one. Usually, I would arrange this a week or two before the wedding.
♥ Practise “walking the walk”
It’s a great opportunity for your wedding party to practise walking up to the groom (assuming he’s not arriving on the arm of the bride) and is particularly useful when there are younger people, such as flower girls, in the bridal party so that they feel at ease with how fast they should walk and where they should stand.
I always take this opportunity to ask the person who will be looking after the music before, during and straight after the ceremony to come along too so we can be 100% sure their device (iPod, iPad, mobile phone etc.) is compatible with my PA and we can check the volume level. As long as your device has a hole for an ear-piece, this shouldn’t be a problem but it’s always a good idea to check. If your mobile phone does not come with a hole for an ear-piece, check the box it came in to see if you were supplied with a short cord which can plug into your phone with one end and into my auxiliary cord with the other. My cord will then connect with my PA so all you need is your device with your chosen music in a play list ready to go.
♥ Using the microphone
It’s not unusual for those who have been asked to read a poem or special reading during the ceremony to have little or no experience in using a microphone. For this reason, I always bring along to the rehearsal any poems or readings so that those chosen to come forward can practise using the microphone and feel more comfortable with it on the actual wedding day. I also let them know that I will hand them a laminated copy of the poem or reading on the day, typed in a larger font, so that it’s easy to read and doesn’t require them to hold on to a piece of paper that may be crushed and flap in the breeze.
♥ Sign the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage
The wedding rehearsal is also the perfect time for the bride, groom and celebrant to sign the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (formerly called Form 14). This form appears on the reverse of your official Certificate of Marriage certificate (formerly called Form 16). All parties need to sign this form before the marriage takes place. If you do not plan to have a rehearsal or if you’re not meeting with your celebrant until the day before or the day of your wedding, for example, it can be signed then. The purpose of this form is to confirm that there is no legal reason why the marriage should not take place e.g. the couple is not in a prohibited relationship such as brother/sister or either or both parties are not waiting for evidence of death, divorce or nullity from a prior marriage.
♥ Making it Personal
The other good thing about a wedding rehearsal is that it’s another opportunity for you to connect with your celebrant face-to-face. For those who live interstate or overseas this may, in fact, be the first time you have actually met with your celebrant. Each time you meet or engage in some way, it strengthens the connection and helps to make your ceremony more personal.
After all, if this weren’t an issue for you, you may well have chosen to get married in a local courthouse or one of the other locations designated by the Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages. It’s interesting to note that a Registry Office ceremony comprises standard wording, with no introduction or personal vows, has space for a limited number of guests and is officiated by someone you don’t know which may seem impersonal to many people. Even so, the cost in NSW (including your official Certificate of Marriage) is $401 from Monday to Friday morning or $507 from Friday afternoon to Sunday.
♥ Final Check
Lastly, we can discuss the positioning of the PA (which I’ll set up on a tripod) and the signing table and chairs. Plus, if you’re marrying somewhere on public land, such as a beach, it’s a great idea to double check the specific location beforehand so that everyone is 100% sure about where to meet. If you choose your rehearsal time to match the time of your ceremony, you can also see exactly where the sun is overhead and what the tide is like at that time of day (if relevant) which may affect the positioning of your bridal party.
♥ What happens if you’re planning a ceremony with the bride, groom & your two witnesses only?
If you have a small bridal party with only the four of you present plus me as your celebrant, or if you feel comfortable not having a rehearsal, that’s fine too. It really is up to you, how many people are involved, the location of those people and the time you have available.
Whichever way you choose, I’ll explain how everything unfolds so you feel at ease and, of course, will quietly talk you through the ceremony on the day making it as relaxed as possible for you ♥
011 – 30/10/2014