Reserve today: 1-800-545-3681

What to discuss with your wedding officiant?

May 12, 2023

You know you need a credentialled wedding officiant to make your ceremony legal. But what kinds of things should you talk to your officiant about before the wedding?

Their credentials: You can inquire how they are credentialled and ask to see proof. In the province of Ontario there is a government list where you can search for anyone registered to conduct marriage ceremonies.

The legal bits: When are you planning on getting your marriage licence? (In QC it’s the officiant who acts as the licensing agent). Your officiant will appreciate it if you can send them a clear photo or scan of the licence in advance so they can prep some of their paperwork.

The ceremony language/script: The legal requirements for a wedding ceremony are simple and minimal (question of intent for each partner, sign the paperwork, pronounce you as married, and in Quebec the Civil Code must be read). The rest is up to you. Bring your officiant your favourite poems or readings to include in the script. (They may have suggestions as well if you don’t know where to start.) Talk about any anecdotes or shared experiences or hobbies that you’d like to be mentioned in the ceremony. Discuss ways to honour loved ones who have passed. Talk about cultural traditions you’d like to include.

Tone: Lighthearted and relaxed? Formal and distinguished? Let your officiant know what tone you are hoping to strike, and they will do their best to accommodate.

Colour and theme: Officiants are often happy to dress to complement a couple’s chosen colours or theme. Is it a Western and denim theme? Black tie with a touch of purple? Hawaiian shirts? Feel free to talk about how the officiant should dress.

Mechanics and logistics of the day: Tell your officiant who is responsible for music and/or microphones. How many are in the wedding party? Who will have the rings? Who are the witnesses?

Rehearsal (if you are planning one): Do you need your officiant there? Do you need them to run the rehearsal? What dates/times are you considering?

Additional questions: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Your officiant probably has a great deal of experience and may be able to suggest ways to handle potentially difficult situations. For example, divorced parents who don’t get along, blended families, multifaith unions, an uncle with a drinking problem who may make a fuss, etc. You can also talk to your officiant about your feelings or fears. If they know you are anxious about speaking in front of a crowd, they can help.

Your wedding officiant will try to make your day everything you want it to be. They are more than just the person who “signs the papers,” they are a great asset to your wedding planning, your personal cheerleader, and an understanding ear.

2023 wedding trends

February 15, 2023

breakfast board, live plant centerpiece, pool party

Last year was a banner year for weddings. The pent up demand that built through two years of Covid was released in a flood of nuptials. Wedding vendors were booked up, venues were in short supply, and couples were squeezing their ceremonies into unconventional dates and locations. So what does 2023 hold?

Sustainability and live plants

Couples continue to become more eco-conscious. People are skipping the extraneous stuff – no programs, no welcome bags, no cheap plastic flip flops for the reception, and no takeaways or thank you gifts unless they are edible, plantable, or at least compostable. Fireworks are also losing their appeal as they are pollutants and can have negative effects on animals. Live plants are always a beautiful table centerpiece and you can give them out at the end of the event (think something vibrant and lush, not so much the succulents from past years). Live plants may also feature in the ceremony backdrop or aisle decor, giving the couple the opportunity to use those shrubs and flowers to spruce up their yard afterwards.

Wedding dresses

There continues to be a lot of variation, but this year there is an influx of inspiration from the 1960s, including the minidress. You will continue to see fringe, but less bohemian and more luxe. More high necklines as well, in both lace and fabric.

Pool party

Whether they are pool-side for the ceremony or hitting the pool for the reception, couples will be embracing summer. It can be kept classy and modern, but the pool party prefers to live in the land of retro vibes, bold décor, and over the top umbrella drinks. The couple making a splash for the camera in their wedding garb? Maybe! (Just be careful a water logged dress or suit doesn’t drag you under.) The only sticking point for pool-side fun is the weather.

Beyond charcuterie boards

We’ve seen the idea of grazing nibbles expanded for receptions. Cocktail style receptions offer the flexibility for everyone to get face to face with the wedding couple and guests aren’t stuck chatting with only the folks at their dinner table. While charcuterie boards are still popular, we’re now seeing breakfast boards, dessert boards, butter boards (a trend which spiked on social media last fall), pizza boards, poutine boards, and themed boards for holidays. For folks who aren’t yet ready to go back to buffet-style dining for fear of germ spreading, individually portioned charcuterie boxes or cups may be just the thing.

Couples doing whatever the flip they want

Since Covid, there has been an ‘anything goes’ approach to weddings. Couples are emboldened to make their day all about what they want, not what people expect. Weekday weddings, morning weddings, backyard weddings, tiny weddings, these are all choices that are here to stay. Couples are continuing to select traditions that are meaningful to them and reject the rest. And we’re here for it!

Minimizing cellphones & social media at your ceremony

October 24, 2022

You see it all the time – people viewing the world through their cell phone cameras. For example, recording video of a fireworks display, taking a million photos of an iconic landmark and fiddling with filters trying to get that one ‘gram-worthy shot, and, unfortunately, taking non-stop video or photos of a friend’s wedding ceremony. In all cases, these people are missing out on being in the moment and having the fullest experience. So how do you make them stop for your wedding?

Ask nicely….and more than once

Set your expectations from the beginning by mentioning in your invite that you are having an unplugged or device-free ceremony. Explain that you have hired a professional photographer or appointed a specific friend to capture the event. If you are having wedding programs you can mention it again there by saying, “Thanks for respecting our wish to have a camera and phone-free ceremony.” You could also set a sign at the entrance of your ceremony venue to remind people. Finally, ask your wedding officiant to make an announcement before the ceremony begins telling guests to put their phones on silent and put them away so they can be fully present and enjoy the moment with you.

Or try for a compromise

Another option is to ask guests not to take photos until you have been pronounced as married. The officiant could announce at the beginning of the ceremony that cameras and cellphones should be stored until the end of the ceremony when the couple will spend a few moments posing for guests’ photos.

What about people sharing “unsanctioned” photos online?

You know your guests best. Do you have the type of friends and family who carefully curate or those who post their entire camera roll (including the blurry ones)?

If keeping the lid on wedding photos until you have a chance to view and select your own preferred shot is important to you, you may want to take steps to help that happen.

First, ask your photographer if they can provide a couple of sneak peek shots so you can get a sanctioned photo out on social media quickly, ideally the next day. Another option is to take a “just married” selfie and get your own photo out first that way.

Follow the steps above for an unplugged ceremony. You should also think twice about a wedding hashtag – which will encourage people to post photos.

You can let guests know ahead of time that you would appreciate them not sharing photos online until you have had a chance to post your own. The same as asking for an unplugged ceremony, your options for asking and reminding guests not to post on social media are in the invitation, in the program, via a sign at the venue, and an announcement before the ceremony begins.

You can also review your social media settings and adjust your privacy so people can’t tag you or tagged photos won’t show on your FB or Instagram pages.

Best of both worlds?

If you do want friends and family to share photos from the reception, you can reveal your wedding hashtag at the reception venue. You can also create an Instagram-worthy backdrop or seating area and have a sign encouraging people to take photos.

There will always be one

No matter what you say or do, there will always be someone who doesn’t play by your rules. Try not to get upset. Maybe they are truly addicted to their phone. It’s their loss for not taking time to be in the moment with you. And a good photographer can work around them.



Wedding Arch Alchemy: Creating a Stunning Focal Point

September 8, 2022

Wedding arches are a big décor trend and it seems like they will stick around. And why not? It’s an easy way to have a big impact on your ceremony space.

An arch is a way of drawing the focus to the spot where you will exchange your vows. They are especially helpful if you are getting married outside where there is no obvious focal point or at a venue where it’s essentially a blank canvas.

arch examples

Two takes on the same pergola at the Ottawa Wedding Chapel


An arch can help you incorporate the colours and theme that you have selected for your day. From bo-ho to sleek and modern, an arch is a set-piece that helps create the ambiance you want. You can use pretty much any material — wood, metal, fabric, live plants, etc.

balloon background

Balloons provide big colour impact. Photo: TracyGracePhotography


Your arch can also serve as a backdrop for photos after the ceremony as well. Guests won’t be able to resist snapping a few frames in front of it.

You can rent all sorts of backdrops, flower walls, and arches. Wedding groups on social media or buy and sell sites like Kijiji are also a good source for ready-made items. Of course, if you’re handy you can DIY it and have it to keep or sell to someone else. If you are buying or making a sturdy structure, you can add it to your garden or patio after to extend its life.

You don’t have to break the bank — simple can be very effective. You may be able to use something you already have or something you can thrift or make — sheer curtains, old wooden ladders, paper flowers, a tree branch, etc.

Sunflower round arch

The sunflowers here are a perfect tie-in to the couple’s splashes of yellow.


Keep the weather in mind as you plan. There could be rain or wind and you don’t want your arch to tumble — make sure it’s stable and possibly staked to the ground. Wind can also play havoc with draped fabric.

If there is a view or horizon, pay attention to what vista your arch frames — it’s going to be in a lot of photos. You may want to work the angles to avoid a highway with traffic or the back of a building for example. And while you may think of a wedding arch as having a lot of height to draw the eye, you can create something lower to the ground (especially if you have a view with mountains in the background). An existing flowerbed can be your focal point with some added pillars or use potted perennial plants to create a low-rise semi-circle. You can use the plants for landscaping at your home afterwards or gift them to the members of your wedding party.

This stunning backdrop was created by Ottawa’s Monara Events Photo: Green Tea Photography Venue: Billings Estate Museum


In the end, make sure that the focal point of your ceremony location is something that brings you joy when you look at it. The personality of the couple should be apparent — so don’t be concerned with sticking to something flowery, if that’s not what you like. Get creative and playful. Make it as steampunk, anime, forest elf, comic book, futuristic, or Day of the Dead as you like. It’s a key visual for your day.


Who Can be a Wedding Witness?

March 2, 2022

Signing wedding paperworkWhether you are eloping or having a huge wedding, you are going to need official witnesses for your ceremony to sign the legal marriage documents.

You will need two – one to sign for each partner. At every wedding there must be at least five people present: the couple, two witnesses, and the officiant. In Canada, witnesses must be physically present, they can not be present by video.

Witnesses must have the mental capacity and language skills to understand what they are witnessing and signing. They may not be impaired by drugs or alcohol. Some provinces have rules around age, for example in BC witnesses must be 19+, in Alberta 18+, but in Ontario it’s up to the officiant’s discretion (we still recommend 18+).

Witnesses can be family or friends, or they can be strangers. They do not have to be Canadian citizens or live in Canada.

There is no obligation for your honour attendants (best man/maid, maid/man of honour) to act as witnesses. If you would like to recognize someone else important to you by having them sign as a witness, the officiant can call them up at the appropriate time.

All that witnesses have to do is sign their name on the legal paperwork. They also need to provide their home address for the officiant’s records or marriage register. Should something go wrong with the process of registering the marriage (lost in the post, etc) it is possible that witnesses could be called on to sign/testify that they witnessed the marriage and agree that both parties were consenting, on the date it took place.

If you are planning an elopement and do not have witnesses for your wedding, your officiant may be able to supply them. Our chapel and All Seasons Weddings both offer this service for an additional fee. If you are eloping in a public place, you can try to find witnesses on the spot.

If you are planning something unusual or a location that is difficult to reach (requiring hiking, snowshoeing, paddling, etc) double check that your witnesses are on board, or take those factors into consideration when selecting them. You want someone who is delighted to be standing on top of a mountain with you, not someone who doesn’t have the proper gear or stamina.

No matter if your witnesses are your best friends or complete strangers, your wedding will hopefully be a memory you will carry with you forever.

Eloping: a perfectly normal and acceptable way to get married

May 28, 2021

eloping same-sex male coupleAn elopement is a sudden secret wedding, often without parental consent. We’ve seen Covid-era micro-weddings referred to as “eloping” but usually these are just small weddings rather than true elopements. Parental consent isn’t such a big deal in modern times, but sometimes people still choose a sudden secret wedding.

Why get married suddenly? There can be lots of reasons. Maybe you have been together forever and finally decide to make it legal. You may not feel the need to have a lot of wedding fuss because you have been living your vows every day. Maybe your schedule is incredibly busy, and you don’t have time to plan a big wedding day. Or perhaps outside circumstances, such as pregnancy, job opportunity in another country, impending surgery or medical treatment, or end of life diagnosis will play a part. It’s also possible that once the decision to get married is made, you just don’t want to wait.

Why get married secretly? Some people don’t like the spotlight and the idea of standing in front of dozens of people declaring their vows is too nerve-wracking. If this is you, eloping might feel like a huge relief. You may have a challenging relationship with your family, or there may be other challenging relationships within your family. If you’re not convinced your divorced parents can be in the same room together without fireworks, eloping might be for you. It may be that your choice of partner is not approved by your family or friends. If people haven’t been supportive of your relationship, why would you want them at your wedding?

The good news is that eloping is a completely normal and acceptable way to get married. You don’t need permission from anyone!

What do you need to get married? In most of Canada, getting married is very straightforward (Quebec is the exception here.). You need a marriage licence, two witnesses, and a wedding officiant. The witnesses do not have to know you personally, they just are just there to witness you declaring your intent to marry your partner and the officiant pronouncing you as married. You don’t need to have rings or vows, flowers or toasts. All Seasons offers a “Make it Legal” package with its officiants at the location of your choice (your home, a hotel room, a park – you pick!) The Ottawa Wedding Chapel also offers simple, straightforward elopements (with a nicer backdrop than city hall).

eloping couplePotential side-effects of eloping. You may end up with friends or family who are disappointed they didn’t get to celebrate with you. Weddings are still key milestones that many people feel should be shared. But guess what? Your family or friends can arrange a get-together without a wedding.

Don’t feel guilty if you decide to elope. Your reasons are your own and nobody should feel they have the right to dictate how you decide to tie the knot with your partner. Eloping can be exciting and romantic. Imagine saying “I do” with a Rocky Mountain helicopter ceremony or with an intimate ceremony at the location of your first date.

It will save you a pile of money that you can put toward travelling, purchasing a home, or even just paying down your debt. This alone is a good reason to consider it. The average Canadian wedding costs $29,450 according to Wedding Wire in 2020.

Eloping is less complicated and less stressful than a traditional wedding. There is no need to follow any tradition. Run off and get married on a Tuesday if you want! Get married in your pyjamas at home. Book a hotel for the weekend and spoil yourselves with massages and a fancy dinner, and squeeze in a wedding in between. What is important is that the two of you commit yourselves to your life ahead in a way that feels right to you.


Photos by Marcelo Chagas and Emir Kaan Okutan from Pexels

And Action! Using Video at Your Wedding

March 17, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic drove us online more than ever. Everyone from preschoolers to grandparents has learned how to Zoom, or use other video chat tools. Video also became a bigger part of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, so it makes sense that we are seeing video as a bigger and more frequent component of wedding planning.

Here are some ideas to make sure you are making the most of the amazing technology we have available to us.

Save the date

We used to send cards by post, and while receiving a beautifully designed card on thick cardstock directly to your mailbox still carries a certain gravitas, it’s cheaper and quicker to let friends know online. Save the date videos have grown in popularity. It’s a chance for creativity and to hint at the type of event you are planning. For top-notch and completely customized results, you can hire a professional of course, but there are also video templates online for purchase, or even for free, where you can slot in some photos and your details and be good to go — or pop your iPhone on a tripod and freestyle your DIY.


Video shines when capturing a couple’s love and happy tears during a “first look” moment and some shots of the couple getting ready make a nice addition to a wedding video. Filming the venue before all the action begins also gives the couple a chance afterward to check out all the small details they may miss in the excitement – the perfect flower arrangements, a ring bearer having his tie straightened by his mom, or the look on grandma’s face as she arrives at the church.

Ceremony videoAt the Ceremony

This is where the lockdowns and restrictions have hit the hardest. We are limited in the number of guests we can have physically present, meaning that some of the important people may not get to be there for your vows. The next best thing is to have them attend virtually by streaming the ceremony.

Make sure that your officiant mentions those joining online, with particular attention to anyone who is very close to you (grandparents or siblings, etc.) You can also have someone from afar take part by doing a reading — just make sure you’ve got a big screen so the folks at the venue can see the person at home.

If you’re streaming the ceremony, make sure the device has a close-up and clear view, and use a tripod or solid surface to keep it steady. While the device microphone is probably good enough if you’re inside, an outside location may benefit from an external microphone (possibly with a baffle to limit wind noise) to make sure everyone can hear the words being spoken.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Check out the wi-fi in advance at your location. Ottawa Wedding Chapel offers wi-fi to all users.
  • Review the different platforms and services to find the right one (Zoom, Facebook, Facetime, Teams, Google Meet, Youtube Live). They have different limitations re: number of people, etc. There is a nice summary at the bottom of this article.
  • Do a test run with your equipment in advance.
  • Make sure everything is fully charged!
  • Password protect your livesteam or virtual “room.”

The Reception

If you are hiring a professional videographer, you can include some reception moments in your video coverage, like speeches and first dances. If you are winging it on your own or have decided to only have professional video for the ceremony, appoint a trusted friend or relative to capture some of the reception fun.

You can set up a video station somewhere at your reception venue. This can be used in different ways. If you’re going live, it allows guests who are there in person to interact live with guests who are online. And it goes without saying that the wedding couple needs to make it a priority to stop by for a chat with virtual attendees. If it’s live, we also suggest having it be active only for a certain time, rather than all night long – virtual guests will tire quickly if there is too long in between visitors.

If you don’t want to livestream from the reception, a video booth can still be a fun way to collect video messages from the guests who are there. You may want to prepare a list of questions for them to answer so they’re not stuck for ideas. Video should be located in a quiet corner away from the speakers.

Wedding Video

Wedding videos have come a long way. They are now often slick Hollywood-style productions with drone footage, and a variety of soundtrack tunes. Professional videographers are going to supply a professional product, so if actually hearing the vows and having everything in focus and smoothly recorded is important to you, you should spring for the experts.

You may also end up with a great video by asking for any tech-savvy teens to collaborate on shooting/editing. It will give them something fun to do, and you could wind up with a surprisingly good product – but you never know.

Getting Creative

You may have seen the example (pre-Covid) of a GoPro strapped to a bottle of Fireball that caught a unique perspective of everyone who took a slug. (Google it; it was a THING.) Small cameras can be added to a bouquet, or the lapel of a suit to give an up-close perspective. A pet-cam will give you some silly footage from a down-low viewpoint. You can also think about creative placement such as next to the officiant’s face (or on the officiant) during the ceremony looking out at the couple and the guests. Other suggestions for innovative angles include having the make-up artist wear a camera while the wedding party is having their make-up done, or capturing some above the dancefloor footage.



Making the most of a small wedding

Small wedding couple

October 16, 2020

First and foremost, enjoy the ride!

Small, intimate weddings are a developing trend forced upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic as it has become impossible to stage large events where all your friends and family can mingle together and celebrate. However, many couples have found the silver lining to these small events, with some even saying it was a relief to be able to step away from planning a big wedding.

Planning a large event is stressful and while a smaller event also requires planning, it gives you the opportunity to be more flexible and perhaps enjoy the journey even more.

Loving all your guests

One of the best things about a small wedding is the freedom to invite only those you actually wish to attend. No need to debate inviting the layers of cousins or friends of your parents. A small wedding lets you focus on the ones you know and love. Knowing you will be surrounded by only your closest friends and family relieves the pressure of doing things conventionally or “properly” or living up to certain expectations. You can be yourselves as your guests already know your quirks, likes, sense of humour and personalities.

Saving money

A smaller guest list equals a smaller budget. Have a lovely wedding and still have cash in the bank for future travel or a down payment on a home or a car? What a great idea!

Focusing on a few luxury details

If you love flowers, make them a focus. If you are a foodie, make that your priority. Or live music. If you couldn’t care less about the wedding cake, opt for another dessert and your guests will never miss it. Forgo anything that isn’t meaningful to you. Photo booths, save the date cards, formal invitations, a DJ, or first dances can all be skipped. Bottom line: focus on the elements that are important to you as a couple and that will help create lasting memories.

Treating your guests well

A smaller guest list may give you the funds to step up the catering — spring for the extra course or the more expensive entrees. You can employ a private chef to prepare a custom menu of all your favourites. Shine a light on creative mixology with some signature cocktails. Leave a handwritten note at each place setting to let the guests know what they mean to you. Consider a car service to get everyone home so no one has to be the designated driver.

Flexibility of venue

With a smaller group you can get creative with the venue. Talk to your favourite restaurant, small gallery or museum, or consider locations that your own families may have access to like cottages or ski chalets.  Think about your favourite outdoor spots. Transform your backyard. A small group has the mobility to shift to a plan B at the last moment if there is rain. You have the chance to select a ceremony location that means something to you.

Wedding CookiePersonal touch

Take the opportunity to DIY and give things a personal touch. Baking heart-shaped cookies or making strawberry jam as a takeaway for 150 guests seems overwhelming, but you could probably do it for 15 people. Your table(s) will only need a few centrepieces rather than dozens, so it’s a great way to give your table a personal stamp without a huge time commitment. Or design your own focal point for the ceremony (an archway or backdrop).

Package deals

A small wedding gives you the ability to take advantage of pop-up wedding opportunities. During the Covid-19 pandemic many wedding venues and planners have pivoted to provide luxury wedding packages for small groups at a reasonable price. If you had dreams of a swanky venue or top-notch planner that were just out of reach financially, a package deal like this may be just the thing.

Focus on the ceremony

A smaller guest list doesn’t necessarily mean a quick, get ‘er done ceremony. Every aspect of your day should get the royal treatment. You might want to include a sand ceremony, candle lighting, handfasting, or wine or rose ceremony. You can have some important guests participate by reading a poem or other special reading. Don’t forget to live stream for guests who can’t make it.


Small weddings are now a trend and we’d love to see them stick around. By embracing your own wee wedding, you’ll soon realize there’s a lot to love about going small. And if you must, throw a big bash in a year or two when large parties are once again allowed. It will be both less expensive and less stressful!


Honouring loved ones during your wedding ceremony

November 27, 2019

Weddings are all about family. When families gather together, the absence of those who are missing can be keenly felt – especially if a family member has recently passed away. You can take some action that honours a missing family member privately, or recognize them in a more public fashion.

How can you incorporate a loved one who has passed away into your ceremony?

With words

Wedding ceremony text is very flexible. There are certain requirements (a question of intent to each partner, signing the legal paperwork, and an official pronouncement), but also a lot of room for making the language reflect what is important to you. Your officiant can add a few lines, a poem, or a prayer about remembering the person or persons who are being missed. There can be a moment of silence if you like. Discuss your thoughts with your wedding officiant. They can help you determine which words will work best and where they should go.

With a candle lighting

Someone can light a candle at the beginning of the service in memory of the person or persons who have passed. With the light shining throughout the ceremony, the loved one will be present in everyone’s mind. This works best for indoor ceremonies as you don’t want to risk the wind blowing out the flame.


With a reserved seat

Keep a seat near the front reserved and lay a flower there at the beginning of the ceremony. You can also place a photo of the person on the chair or use some other memento, such as hanging their jacket or hat on the back of the seat.

With music

If there is a song that reminds you of the person, you could play it during the signing of the licence, or even as you walk down the aisle. Music is associated strongly with memories.

With photos

A bride can carry a small photo of the deceased with her as she walks down the aisle. A photo and/or some words of tribute can be added to the wedding program. A photo display can also be set up at the entrance to the ceremony location. One great option is to use old wedding photos of parents and grandparents — it recognizes your heritage, whether all those family members are still with you or not.

With some other action

Couples are encouraged to think of other ways to remember their loved one. If the person was of Scottish heritage, there could be some touches of tartan (ties, pocket handkerchiefs, ribbon on a bouquet/boutonniere) as a visual cue. A grandmother’s favourite flower could make up the bouquet. A groom could wear his departed father’s cufflinks or ring.

Honouring loved ones who can’t be with you on your wedding day is respectful and can be done with a delightful and light touch. It needn’t bring the mood down. A wedding is a major memory-making occasion and it’s a wonderful gesture to pay homage to people and memories from the past.




Does practice make perfect? When to have a rehearsal

Wedding Rehearsal

June 1, 2018

Over the years, we’ve had many wedding rehearsals at the Ottawa Wedding Chapel. From this experience we have concluded that: A rehearsal is great….

If it’s tricky.

With a large wedding party, a rehearsal is recommended. You are co-ordinating a lot of bodies who need to enter the wedding space, get to the right place to stand, and exit the space in an orderly fashion. If your venue has any challenges (wedding party will be spaced at varying intervals on a set of stairs for example) or is outdoors and you have a back-up rain plan you want to review, it makes sense to have a rehearsal. If you have a complicated wedding party entrance (separate songs for different people entering the wedding space or different musical cues for entrances), it wouldn’t hurt to review the timing with a rehearsal.

If you’re nervous.

Your wedding day is your day. If a rehearsal is going to give you peace of mind, do it! It can be calming to run through the physical motions of entering, walking down the aisle, and seeing exactly where everyone will be standing as you say, “I do.”

If the wedding party needs to bond.

Your wedding party might pull together friends and family from different parts of your life that haven’t previously mingled. A rehearsal is one way to get them all face to face and maybe have a few laughs before the big day. Have dinner afterward (or before) and keep people chatting.


There must be someone in charge. Without a leader, a rehearsal can drag on all night. Your wedding co-ordinator is an obvious choice if you have one. Your venue may have a co-ordinator who can help you out. Or you could appoint a friend or relative with an organizational streak and a commanding voice – preferably someone outside the wedding party. Make sure this director knows exactly what you want. You should aim to walk through the entrances and exits from the wedding space at least twice. More times if you are working out details of timing/music selection as you go.

What about the officiant?

You can have a useful and beneficial rehearsal without the officiant or celebrant present. After all, they already know where they are going to stand! All Seasons officiants will schedule a planning meeting with you about a month before the wedding, where they will go over all the ceremony details.

With that said, the officiant may be a natural choice to direct your rehearsal. They have a bounty of wedding experience and may be able to offer suggestions for where people should stand or how transitions could take place. They often have strong leadership qualities….and loud voices.

Things to avoid

It’s best to avoid having too many extra people at the rehearsal. It is nice to spend time chatting, but there is a task to accomplish. Invite the plus ones to dinner or drinks after.

Keep an eye on the clock. Even though these last preparations before the big day are exciting, don’t let the rehearsal drag on too long. People will burn out and quit listening. As well, your venue may cap you at an hour or hour and a half and you want to make sure you cover all the important details.

Don’t worry so much. Even with a lengthy rehearsal and carefully scripted plan, things may go awry. A flower girl who missed her nap may decide not to walk down the aisle or the ceremony programs might get left behind. Just breathe and carry on.