Officiants and “the Rehearsal”

I can’t believe it! I’ve recently discovered that the majority of Officiants don’t partake in wedding rehearsals. How can that be??? It’s like showing up in a starring role in a musical without any rehearsal time.

Yes…I and other Officiants meet with our potential clients, share our philosophy on a variety of ceremonies and marriage, answer questions, discuss affordable pricing options, scheduling and hand out resource materials.

However, what I’ve noticed that I differ in is that I attend the wedding rehearsal and many of my counterparts don’t. For instance, just in my recent interactions with the wineries and private estates that are in my normal stomping grounds for ceremonies…the Southern California Wine Country, Temecula area…I have found out that only one in twenty Officiants are there for the wedding rehearsal.

Wow! Knock me over with a feather! How is this possible? How is this possible? I seriously can’t imagine showing up to do a wedding without a rehearsal. There is too much left to someone else to manage and I wouldn’t feel that I was able to meet with, connect with, and develop a sense of affinity with anyone participating in the ceremony as a wedding party or family. As explained earlier, that would be the equivalent of showing up for a starring role in a musical, a play, or a movie without any rehearsal time. Yeah, like that will work!

As a parish Priest, Rabbi, or Minister you have a history of interactions with the family and the couple getting married, so you have that background of relatedness that you want and need, to perform an awesome ceremony.

As a non-denominational Officiant, the rehearsal (though not long) gives you the opportunity to interact and create the framework for the next day’s festivities. Also you get to be clear what issues may come up that would potentially have the ceremony not run smoothly. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak (I am) but I want to know that when it comes to the ceremony I’m in command…in charge…the captain of the ship. That’s part of what I am being paid for, to be the master of that 20-minute segment of time. Couples put their faith in me to be the person who is accountable for how everything goes from the processional to the recessional.

Some Officiants add an extra fee for rehearsals. I get it. For some (couples), the dollar is running the show, and it’s very important to stick to your budget if that’s who you are and what your circumstances dictate. However, I would always recommend that your Officiant be there for the rehearsal each and every time.

Even though you put faith in you wedding planner/coordinator to make your day go great, don’t skip over how important it is to have a structure, a plan if you will…for how the ceremony will actually go…i.e…Who’s holding the rings? How and when do you retrieve them and pass them on? What about the flowers to the bridesmaid? These are certainly things that a really good coordinator can cover but really it should be your Officiant who is calling the shots for your ceremony.

Next…How an Officiant can make your wedding planner’s life sooooo much easier!