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Rehearsals are Important - Even When Officiating a Friend’s Casual Backyard Wedding Ceremony

Published Thursday, Sep. 10th, 2020

All over the country, wedding ceremonies are shrinking in size and becoming less formal. Wedding planning is happening on a shortened timeline and turning (or returning) to its DIY roots, a trend emphasized as more friends and family are asked to officiate. 


(Read: Asking a Friend or Family Member to Officiate Your Wedding? Read This First…)


It certainly has a lot to do with the coronavirus pandemic and a decrease in available venues and vendors, but it also reflects a changing set of cultural attitudes and priorities… Whether for financial or philosophical reasons, many modern couples just don’t feel a need for all the fuss.


We get it, and we support all styles of weddings, with all levels of fuss. Slip on those sequins or pull on those jeans, go big or stay small, we love seeing it all!  


(Check out Lucky in Love for a look at the traditions, customs, and rituals you can incorporate to personalize your wedding.)


Still, it appears one valuable step is often overlooked by couples preparing for a small backyard wedding officiated by a beloved friend... The rehearsal! 


We think that’s a shame, because not only are rehearsals fun, they’re also a simple safeguard toward a stress-free wedding. Practice makes perfect, and regardless of the level of formality, or size of the audience, you want a perfect ceremony. 



Think about the benefits:

  • You can test your equipment and gear… Your internet connection, Zoom or Skype set up, new cameras or photography drones, and any other tech you want to use to document the day. With so many folks rushing to move wedding ceremonies to safe virtual spaces, there will undoubtedly be a technological learning curve. Take the opportunity to smooth out the kinks and wave to a few friends on screen.
  • (Read: The Pros and Cons of Virtual Weddings: Is a Zoom Ceremony the Right Choice for You?)
  • Everyone gets a better idea of how long the ceremony will last and what to expect, and in what order. Rehearsals answer questions about where to stand, where to put your hands, where to move when it’s time for photos, and which patch of grass or flight of stairs is going to give you the most trouble in heels. You don’t know some questions need answering until you’re in the moment!
  • It’s a chance for everyone to see each other one more time before the wedding. It’s fun! These are folks who enjoy one another! People who haven’t met can be introduced and old friends can be reunited. Taking time to meet and run through the ceremony helps soothe nerves, boost excitement, and build closeness before the main event.
  • You can make it a meal! Pretty much any gathering that can begin or end with pancakes, cupcakes, or coffee and mimosas is a good idea. 



Rehearsals are especially beneficial for first time officiants and couples who haven’t been married or participated in a wedding ceremony before. Just like modern weddings, modern rehearsals don’t have to be much fuss (unless you want them to). We think they’re definitely worthwhile… and enjoyable!



Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more information and guidance on making your first time officiating an amazing experience!

Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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