1. First and foremost, it is SO important to put someone in charge ahead of time to run the rehearsal. It can be a family member not in the wedding party, a friend, or a wedding planner- but remember, you can't be running the show! The bridal party and parents will be rehearsing themselves, so someone else needs to be directing.2. Once you've chosen someone to direct your rehearsal, sit down with them and tell them exactly how you want it to go. It's frustrating for everyone if you're making major decisions about who walks when, where to stand, etc. during the rehearsal- so decide how you want things beforehand. It's okay to change things if you don't like the way it looks, but have a plan.
3. Make sure that everyone involved knows who is in charge. Make an announcement and introduce them, and let everyone know that they will be listening to the direction of this person. A wedding planner can be invaluable in rounding up bridal parties, getting people to focus and listen, and knowing how things should run. They are the pros after all!
4. Usually, three dry runs should do it. The first is just winging it, seeing how everything looks so you can tweak if need be. The second time will have your adjustments, and the third is to cement the details and make sure everyone knows their cue. Some bridal parties have got in down in two runs, some need twenty! But honestly, people are probably hungry for your rehearsal dinner, so as long as things look good, try not to insist on running through it too many times. 5. Kids in the bridal procession need to be prepped for what they'll be doing. Rehearsals are great for them, but this shouldn't be the first time they're practicing. Mom and Dad should be going over walking down the aisle with little ones so that they're prepared and excited. And, your rehearsal director should probably bring candy for bribing purposes. :)
6. Make sure you're music is set and ready to go beforehand- music glitches take up precious time and are frustrating! Whether it's a guy pushing play on the sound system, or a string quartet playing live, make sure they know their cues, and make sure your bridal party listens for their cues in the music. Again, a director and/or planner can be helpful in letting people know when it's time to head down the aisle.
Got any other tips for a smooth rehearsal? Please share!