7 Reasons to Hire a Las Vegas Elopement Planner

Wondering if you should hire a Las Vegas elopement planner?

Here are 7 reasons to consider hiring one to support you on your wedding day. 

At Custom Las Vegas Weddings, we love planning Vegas Elopements for clients who want to celebrate their special day without any distraction from others. Clients who choose to break tradition to create something uniquely theirs to honor their relationship. Couple who understands that their wedding shouldn’t be a big event just because they’re married.

Eloping isn’t always easy – there are still lots of things to consider and plan for. However, if you’re looking for a stress free way to get married, then you don’t need to go through the hassle of navigating it yourself. We want to help you out by offering the services you need for your special day.

I think there are a number of common misunderstandings about elopments, and I’d like to clear them up! First off, most people assume that if they’re having an eloping, they can’t include any of the usual wedding elements. They think they have to do a quick ceremony and a couple of pictures, and that’s it. That’s just not the case at all! In reality, elopments are much more elaborate than that.

The beauty of eloping is that it can be whatever you want it to be. There are absolutely no rules, standards, nor any expectation. While an elopment is very different from a larger, larger event, there is still absolutely an requirement for a planner!

Eloping can be just the two or include close family and friend. Usually the total guest count will not exceed 12 guests and still be considered an elopement. Some couples choose to do a first look, photos, custom decor, first dance, cake – all the fun stuff. And this requires a great deal of thought and planning!

Even planning something as simple as a Vegas elopement comes with many questions. Some questions are easier than others — from what will your theme be to what dress will you wear? Some questions you won’t know to ask until you stumble into it, sometimes hours before your wedding — like timing vendor arrival.

Save money using an elopement planner: Much of any wedding cost goes right to the venue but with elopements you won’t have the huge price tag associated with elopement venues in Las Vegas unless you have an upscale event will all the bells and whistles. 

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According to this Forbes article, wedding venues cost an average of $14,006. Unsurprisingly, a poll recently found that 91 percent of couples regret spending too much, so it pays you to consider eloping to Las Vegas instead of dealing with the cost of a full blown expensive venue and wedding. 

Couples often assume that hiring a wedding planner means flushing your wedding budget down the drain but it’s not true when you analyse how a planner saves you money in the long run. An experienced Vegas elopement planner has an established vendor network and can meet the needs of your budget restrictions when involvoed, even with a downsized elopement.

Rather than wasting gas and time and settling on a vendor to “just be done with a decision”, invest in an elopement planning adviser. In the end you will save more money by having someone help you than not.  You may then put that money toward your honeymoon or life goals as a couple. A planner will not only help you determine what budget you need but will help you stay within your budget. Who doesn’t like saving money?

What does a Las Vegas Elopement Planner do?

Planning an elopement doesn’t require much thought, but if you’re thinking about having an arch,  rentals, and more customized touches, then you’ll probably find yourself needing to do a little more planning. You may not realize how much work goes into planning an elopement until you actually start doing it.

Since most elopements involve just the bride and groom and a few friends or family members, the focus may be on you as the couple and this is one of the reasons couples decide to elope. They may spend their planning time away from a lot of external distractions.

Primarly, a Vegas Elopement planner will manage the entire event from start to finish and take the stress out of planning the details, such as scheduling experienced vendors from their personal networks. This could be any vendor from the photographer to an official for your wedding.

It is important to understand the most significant aspects of their elopment before speaking to a wedding elopement organizer. These include what their budget is or how many guests should come to the elopment. Planners do not have to learn every little detail, but the basic data will be needed to assist the organizer to understand your vision. The greater your needs are comprehended correctly, the simpler the arranging will be.

Here is a list of standard services Las Vegas elopement planners provide:

  • Organize entire event
  • Schedule all vendors
  • Conflict resolution
  • Coordination
  • Plan Itinerary
  • Plan decor
  • Guidance

Here is the inherent value and duties a Las Vegas Elopement planner will attend to that you  may not have considered.  Perhaps you will see the benfit of the services and decide you dont’ want to go in alone and plan your elopement alone.

vegas wedding planner

1. Organizing entire event

An excellent elopement planner should know how to create a detailed timeline. When having a simple wedding for two or even when only a handful of guests present,  the duties of a wedding planner are not quite as entailed a planning a large wedding event.

Nonetheless, the planner should create a basic timeline for their clients and hand it out to the vendors, such as the photographer, coordinator, and all the vendors involved. The vendors should approve the timeline to ensure everyone is in sync.

Planners are one of the most important elements of an elopement. They take charge of everything, from the small details like reminding about bringing the licensing and rings along, which can be a big issue, if someone forgets them, to the big ones, like making sure the chauffer gets to the correct location.

A professional organizer helps you organize everything for your big day. They vet the vendors and stay in control of events for your big day, lifting the burden of stress off your shoulders so you and your fiance enjoy yourselves.

Las Vegas Photographer

2. Scheduling Vendors

The wedding planner will act as an intermediary between the couple and all the various service providers involved in the wedding. They make sure that everything runs smoothly so that the couple can relax and enjoy themselves without worrying about details.

It can be difficult to let the dream go when you’ve spend years imagining what your wedding would be like. Obsessing over every little detail is natural, but it can also hold you back — filling your day with endless imagined disasters. On your big day, you deserve to tune out the stressful stuff and focus on your big moment.

A Las Vegas elopement planner will know the local market well and be able to call upon the most reputable list of professional wedding vendors.  Here is a list of vendors you may need for your elopement.

    • Transportation companies
    • Floral and decor vendors
    • Photographer and videographer
    • Hair, makeup, tux and gown
    • Venue options
    • Officiant
    • Coordinators
    • Licensing

Finding the right vendor for each job is intrinsic to making your dream Las Vegas wedding come true. Connecting you with the most reputable vendors such as florists and hair and make up vendors are all important elements that come down to having the right connections.


Las Vegas Elopement Planner

3. Conflict resolution

You can almost always count on having unexpected issues leading up to and on your wedding day. For instance, some remote locations such as having a wedding outdoors at Red Rock canyon will provide some challenges couples will not be prepared for such as weather fluctuationsand having no cell phone service. A local planner will know how to make sure the guests get to the right location without getting lost and oversee the limousine vendor to make sure they also get to the right location.

Another issue that has actually happened in our experience has been a hotel malfunction, leaving our customers tux and gown soaked in water after the hotel sprinklers go off and drown your attire in water.  In this case a planner will reach out to the tux and gown vendor and arrange a last minute solution for your attire and help with the delays you experience.

Sometimes, in Vegas, we run in to bad weather conditions for outdoor events and it’s good to have a planner on your side when this happens. They will guide you to know what to wear and how to navigate the situation to be safe, dry and warm in inclement weather conditions. 

A planner is “on point” in each of these little situations. An excellent Vegas elopement planner will guide you through these unexpected issues and help resolved them discreetly.

4. Day of elopement coordination

Day of Coordination Planner

Day of coordination essentially means organizing and ensuring everything goes as planned for the wedding day. Their job also involves helping couples overcome any last minute challenges or problems that may arise.

A wedding ceremony is an official event: there are cues to follow, people to manage, maybe special vows to share, songs to play, and so on. Without someone to organize everything, your event may be disorganized and disjointed. And if you’re worried about the wrong song playing when you walk down the aisle, the elopement planner has that covered too.

Here is a smalll list of the duties a day of elopement coordinator will do:

  • Checking on the marriage license and rings to ensure they are with you when you leave the hotel
  • Ensuring the limo driver knows where they are going and helping you connect with them properly
  • Confirming your guests and VIP’s make it the correct location and are present for the wedding
  • Overseeing the decor setup is done properly, including breakdown timing
  • Meeting, confirming and overseeing the vendor payments, set up, etc.
  • Running a ceremony walk through and overseeing music or musician timing
  • Oversee flower pinning and bouquet, boutonniere distribution
  • Having emergency supplies and other needed elements on hand
  • Making sure the event ends on time and all is in order

There are a lot more duties a day of coordinator ends up doing but this is just a fragment of the support they provide.

5. Planning itinerary

You may prefer to take care of specific details yourself but when it comes to scheduling the itinerary you often lose out when choosing a chapel, for instance.  Chapels don’t typically plan an itinerary for your event from the time you are planned to be picked up from the hotel to when you return.  They have limitations.

A planner, on the other hand, will help you plan the details surrounding your event and be able to not only pair you with the right transportation company and cater to the periphery needs you may have, such as arranging the final drop off point to a hotel or arranging extra services after the ceremony such as a photo tour.

The itinerary will cover when you are picked up, how long you will be at the venue and intriquate details until you reach the final destination when it’s all complete.

6. Customizing decor

It’s not a requirement to have custom decor but some couples want that.  It’s great to have something unique and special for your ceremony backdrop.  A planner will help you envision this and organize it to make it happen for you.

Wedding planners know local florists and have worked with them extensively. They will bring you cost savings with respect to setting up chairs or arches, decor and flowers and will help give the needed directions you need.  Then they will send you the estimate and pull it all together for you so that it is transported, set up and torn down in the most organized, timely fashion for your event. 

When decor is customized for you, the planner will create a mood board to showcase your colors, photos of the flowers and give you an overview of what to expect.

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A Vegas elopement planner will customize your decor so  you can have your dream and still save money. Any aspect of your wedding can be customized. If you see you  a particular idea or ambiance in mind — send the ideas along to the planner and they will make it happen. 

It’s more than just hiring someone to decorate. The planner is the epicenter of the planning experience and making sure the decor set up and break down occurs without a hitch. 

7. Guidance

Anyone who is helping you plan your special occasion should care and hold your vision close to their heart, after all they becomes an active part of this meaningful moment of your lives. They will share that vision with you and be your support, offering advise at important junctures of your planning experience. 

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11 Helpful Preparation Tips for a Las Vegas Destination Wedding

Legal details: Your planner should be knowledgeable about the legal licensing details you need to know.  There are definite rules in Las Vegas about licensing and what you need to know for the legalities when you are preparing for getting married.  This can be a little confusing and it especially matters if you are traveling from overseas.  If you are traveling to Las Vegas from another country or even from a different state where, it can be at a definite disadvantage.

This means you might come across situations you where may be taken advantage of by the hustlers in Las Vegas.  If you have an adviser and confidant who knows Las Vegas you will be safer.  This means the all the details will be handled with care and guests will be at the right place at the right time.

Read This Helpful Advice
5 Tips for The Most Romantic Las Vegas Elopement Ever

You should be free to enjoy the big picture of your wedding and future together blissfully without worrying about unexpected issues, staying in budget and getting all the little details right. Check out our part two which covers the ins and outs of how your Vegas wedding planner masters the seemingly endless to-do list with calm expertise. Meanwhile, you show off those fancy boots, look your best and celebrate your big day.

Wedding planning is stressful, especially when planning for a destination wedding. Let us at Custom Las Vegas Weddings help you make your wedding memorable. It’s our job, after all, and we love what we do.



Downsizing Your Vegas Wedding Reception Planning

Vegas wedding reception

If you have decided to have a Wedding in Vegas but want to downsize it and have a smaller wedding reception in Las Vegas, we have some helpful tips and advice.  If you have already chosen a ceremony venue and just realized you forgot to plan your Vegas wedding reception for your guests, you may have to move quick and at the last minute to get it sorted in time.

Couples often experience extra guests at the last minute. I often have couples who are try to DIY their Vegas wedding planning and they often ask my advice to help them make a decision. In this article we provide ideas and advice for your edification. There are simple ways you can save your wallet a lot of damage, while simultaneously creating a special day for you and your partner. For some tips to get you started, we have curated some helpful advice below to help you with your Vegas wedding reception planning.

Do you feel overwhelmed with making a last-minute decision and don’t know where to start your wedding reception plans? Trust me, you are not alone! These questions and dilemmas are running through a lot of engaged couples’ minds as they realize they forgot to plan ahead.

With the various effects of the pandemic, most brides, regardless the size of their guest count, have been navigating some roadblocks. Luckily, there are still ways to manifest the perfect, meaningful day within a realistic budget. You won’t even have to forgo too many of your wishes.

Between scheduling out your day, pairing it with the right Las Vegas wedding reception location, and making some necessary cuts, there are simple ways you can save your wallet a lot of hurt while simultaneously creating a special day for you and your partner.

vegas wedding reception planning

Since the rise of the new pandemic paradigm in the world, couples have had to downsize their events from the larger standard receptions they might have originally planned to have. The new lingo specifying the smaller occasions on the rise is either a micro-wedding or a minimony. Most brides, regardless if they are choosing to have a micro wedding, minimony or large-scale wedding, often are confused about the differences.  My experience has been many couples typically don’t know how to stay within a realistic budget and what to expect and plan for. I know because when I ask them what they have allocated for their budget, they often reply they have no idea how to determine what budget they need. They clearly need advice and that is why I have decided to write this article. Hopefully this information will get you one step closer to understanding some ways you may not only save money but some solutions if you are planning your wedding reception in Las Vegas, especially if you have a smaller guest count.

You won’t even have to forgo too many of your wishes to downsize. Between scheduling out your day, pairing it with the right Vegas wedding reception location, and making some necessary budget adjustments, one thing is clear.  You will save money by having a Las Vegas wedding planner assist you on your special day.

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Minimony verses micro wedding receptions

Depending on how many guests you want to invite to your ceremony, a micro wedding or a minimony alternative to a large reception are great options to consider. Learn more about the differences between the two alternatives to a traditional wedding.  In the meantime, there is a brief overview of them below for your benefit as well. 

Minimony Wedding
A minimony is smaller than a micro wedding and usually includes 15 or fewer guests. If you have planned a wedding ceremony that involves your closest friends and family, then this is what you are having.

Micro Wedding
A micro wedding is similar to a traditional wedding, because it contains a ceremony, a cocktail hour and a reception. It also contains many of the same customs of a traditional wedding, such as the vows, bride and groom wedding parties and more. 

If you have planned your Vegas wedding to feel traditional, and you have a guest count of 50 or fewer guests you are having a micro wedding.

Las Vegas wedding reception

Large Scale Vegas Wedding Reception Planning

Large scale wedding planning for a wedding reception takes a large budget and for a Las Vegas wedding that typically equates to reserving a budget of between $5,000 on up depending on how upscale the event is. You are better off choosing other options than restaurants for a large-scale wedding unless the venue also accommodates the wedding ceremony as well. 

Advice for Downsizing your Las Vegas Reception

  • Limiting the alcohol selection makes a big difference in your budget allowance

Take a hard look at your beverage list. While it may feel important to include a variety of options for your guests, there are actually plenty of ways to still include some choices on your final menu. To begin, get a feel of what your loved ones are expecting in terms of alcohol. Your guests may love cocktails or wish to have a themed Las Vegas drink within your celebration. If this is the case and you opt for a themed cocktail, you have the flexibility to possibly limit the wine list. On the other hand, if beer is more your speed, satisfy that with a variety of lagers. With the seemingly endless types of beer to choose from, you can handpick some of your favorites. The best part is, the sense of choice isn’t lost with the number of options!  Here is another research link to research wine options to choose for your reception. 

vegas wedding reception champagne glasses

Las Vegas is also the perfect place to keep the party going after the reception. If you keep your alcohol options on the shorter end, you are able to better continue the party to the strip and truly get the Vegas experience. Encourage guests to stay within the same hotel and make a night of it!

Save money by pairing a ceremony wedding package with a smaller reception:

There are a lot of different types of ceremony-only Las Vegas wedding venues with an assortment of different packages you can choose from. Actually, you can get cross eyed considering all the options. We at Custom Las Vegas Weddings have created some affordable and unique options to consider for a variety of ceremony only venues throughout Las Vegas. These ceremony locations range from the Las Vegas strip to scenic choices such as the red rock canyon for a desert wedding and more options. Our Las Vegas wedding packages will satisfy your needs for a variety of tastes and styles, although we tend to gravitate for more scenic outdoor venues as our client’s favorite go to choices.  

In our experience our clients tend to need us to do additional research for them to ensure they stay within budget when they want to add in a Vegas wedding Reception to their planned ceremony only event. This is where the value of hiring a wedding planner in Las Vegas becomes obvious as a money saving essential for clients.

Pair Your Wedding Minimony with a Foodie Tour

Remember, a minimony is a ceremony with 15 people or less.  If you happen to have 12 people or less and you are all foodies we have received raving reviews from our customers who have chosen to have a Foodie Tour after their ceremony. Instead of choosing just one place to have your reception you will have about 3 -4 restaurants to choose from depending on the tour and day your wedding falls on.  It’s an affordable and fun way to experience a variety of food fare in a relaxing, fun and unique environments and sample different choices from an assortment of restaurants.  There are quite a few foodie tours to choose from and we will assist you to plan the total experience.  Visit this page to learn more about our Foodie Tour.

Vegas Foodie minimony reception

Budgeting variables: the venues, receptions and event:

Budgeting: Once you set your limit on what you are willing to spend as your total budget it is easier to get started planning. The value of hiring a Las Vegas wedding planner becomes obvious as it will be a lot easier for you to narrow down an exact budget once your planner provides the price points for comparison. That takes a lot of research to do on your own.  We will cover that in another article for you.

Choosing a Vegas Strip restaurant for your reception:

If you are looking for upscale restaurant locations, and are willing to spend the money for a Las Vegas Strip restaurant for a reception, you may need to limit your spending on the actual ceremony. Making compromises can feel discouraging, but when you decide what is most important to you, it’ll make this process that much easier.

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9 Las Vegas Restaurants for wedding receptions

DIY Researching for the right after ceremony restaurant

Visit this site for a detailed list of Vegas Restaurants perfect for hosting your wedding

Knowing Your Choices – Consider Downsizing Options

  1. Consider choosing a venue that can also double as your reception. This tends to be easier for you in many ways. Think about it; your guests won’t have to travel from one event to the next. This will save you money and the stress of having to pay for their transport. Many couples who have a limited budget will get their guests to Uber there and maybe get them transport back to the hotel, especially if they have been imbibing.  
  2. Keeping your guest list around 12 – 20 of your closest friends and family will also help. With this option it is easier to double down on a location and still keep the cost of the wedding in budget.
  3. Another great option is to have a mini-reception lunch or appetizer and complimentary champagne toast.

Vegas Wedding Reception Options to Consider

Wedding Ceremony and Reception gems off the beaten track:  Most couples don’t realize they can get good deals at some official wedding reception locations in Las Vegas and make it cheaper to have the ceremony and reception there, even for micro weddings and minimony sized events.  As Las Vegas Wedding planners we know some of the perfect venues to choose.  Just ask us to help you and we will provide the wedding planning services to save you money.

Small Vegas wedding reception

Choosing a Suite to host both events: A great option to capitalize on is to use your own hotel suite as a place for both your ceremony and celebration. Choose a suite with a view of the Vegas strip so you still have the feel of a Vegas destination wedding. With a slightly more expensive suite, you are essentially ridding yourself of the need for two locations. This also doubles as your honeymoon suite and that is an extra bonus. You do have to keep the noise down in  most suites you do have receptions in as they have room occupation limits and noise restrictions in most suites.

Keeping in budget: There are ways to keep your small celebration within your goal budget and as Vegas wedding planners, we help you do just that.

Vegas micro wedding reception


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When planning a wedding reception, be sure to consider all of the preparation that goes into it by visiting our Las Vegas wedding reception planning guide, coming soon.

We spoke to Blue Nile,  the world’s leading online retailer of diamond engagement rings, to share our tips on how to choose the best Las Vegas wedding venue and here are some tips they gave us we are passing on for your benefit.  

1. Think outside the box

If you’re an adventurous couple seeking a non-traditional experience,  Sin City offers plenty of fun, unique wedding options. Some venue alternatives include desert mountains, lakes, old ghost towns, or city reception venues. 

  2. Utilize reviews and social media

Do your research about the venue you plan to use and see what others are saying about it. You’ll find that most couples will be honest about their experiences. Social media is a very helpful tool to gauge the experiences other couples have had, giving a glimpse of photos and stories about the potential venue. Then you can decide if the venue is a good fit for you and your fiancé.

3. Consult a Las Vegas Elopement Wedding Planner

Wedding planners, such as Custom Las Vegas Weddings, are venue matchmakers. Planners can help you sort through the maze of venue choices, making it a less stressful and budget-friendly experience.

Most importantly, cherish this celebration- congratulations!



3 Ways to Incorporate 2018 Wedding Trends into Your Big Day

Kissing 2017 Wedding Colors Good Bye

As we get closer to kissing 2017 goodbye and welcoming 2018 with open arms, it’s exciting to look forward to what the 2018 wedding trends and wedding fashion industry will have in store for us.

We’ve seen rose gold and Pantone’s Greenery color make its way into florals, dresses, decor, and jewelry all throughout 2017. Will these also be 2018 wedding trends? Check out what guests, wedding parties, and soon-to-be married couples have to look forward to for weddings in 2018!

2018 bride showing wedding color trends

Every year there is a color report issued by Pantone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite. It is the world-renowned authority on color trends. From Pantone’s website, it reads,  “The company is a provider of color systems and it has leading technology to help in the selection and precise communication of color across a variety of industries. The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.” 

2018 Wedding Trends – Colors

Blushes and pinks are definitely not being left at 2017’s trend altar. While rose gold has had a great run as a long-lasting trend, Pantone’s New York Fashion Week Spring 2018 report shows that pinks, mauves, and purples will continue to shine as 2018 wedding trends. Bring these colors into your bridal party’s look, accents, or your floral touches to embrace Pantone’s self-expression and uplifting shade inspiration.

Speaking of Pantone we know that 2017’s color of the year Greenery doesn’t stand a chance of going out of style (thankfully) with big, garden-style bouquets and centerpieces making a comeback. According to the Pantone color report, blues will have a strong showing in the Spring 2018 color report.

2018 wedding tux trends

For groomsmen, suits have been stepping forward as the outfit of choice over the traditional tuxedo for many. Because of this, navy blue suits will continue to be a popular choice for many grooms in 2018. However, for a more modern take on the classic black tux, many men are choosing charcoal gray tuxedos and suits as a nod to older traditions. Check out modern menswear company The Black Tux to rent modern and stylish tuxedos and suits in 2018 wedding colors like navy, charcoal, and more.

Modern 2018 Vintage Style

Oxymoron? No way! We know that everything that was once old will someday become new again, and weddings are a really interesting place to see old trends come back into style, thus making vintage modern again. Dresses are a key area where there are vintage nods. Lace, floral patterns (even 3D floral details), and petticoat skirts were all on the runway this fall. Remember seeing your mom’s wedding dress with the puffy sleeves? Guess what? They’re coming back too.

color trends for 2018

 Jewelry is another area where older, eclectic styles are having a moment. Edwardian-inspired rings with intricate shapes and stones are popping up more and more. I’m not sure how women are choosing a wedding band for these beauties, but the important thing is that this trend is about to really pick up in 2018.

The type of event couples are having are also a nod to what weddings used to be. Formal yet elegant events with a smaller guest list of close family and friends are a chosen way to celebrate a couple’s union. Because Pinterest-era weddings tended to become large and longer events and experiences, hosting a small and traditional wedding is actually vintage now.

Traditionally, wedding decor is a vase of flowers in the center of the table. While floral arrangements are still very central to wedding decor, table centerpieces have slowly transformed into whimsical, diverse tablescapes.

2018 orange and beige color trends

In 2018, expect to see copper as a popular accent element, as well as marble, glass and geometric shapes. The idea of rustic weddings is starting to fall away to woodsy-inspired events too. Expect to see wooden elements and plenty of greenery replacing burlap and lace as 2018 wedding trends.



The third most significant event in a human’s life is their wedding (just behind birth and death). Therefore, it is important to know the logistics of a wedding rehearsal.  This post is dedicated to helping you plan your rehearsal with a D.I.Y. wedding rehearsal guide.  


Regardless of the type of wedding, a person chooses it is destined to be remembered in great detail and hopefully with fond, sweet sentiment through their entire life. In the end, you want to be happy with the results of your wedding day. 


Most likely, if you are at the point of planning your wedding rehearsal, you have already completed the details of your wedding day. Think through the entire ceremony and the critical elements in detail, one step at a time!

By the time of scheduling the rehearsal, the die is set. Consider your cast of characters, tensions may be high and key players may be understandably nervous, no one wants to make a mistake. Try to make the rehearsal an enjoyable event. The more fun people have, the more they relax and a relaxed group is a good deal easier to direct than an anxious one.

Details: The importance and attention to detail for your wedding will determine the requirement and emphasis of the rehearsal. Believe it or not there truly is an art to walking down an aisle! The success of an event that is seamless and progresses according to plan depends on planning and practice.

REVIEW BEFORE REHEARSAL                        

Las Vegas wedding Minister Rev Julie NourishWill Officiant Attend?: If the Officiant is available to participate they may run through their script.  Most Officiates require being paid to conduct and be present for the rehearsal. Having the Officiant there is a bonus but not absolutely necessary unless you have the extra funds to pay them and you are extremely nervous.  There are bonuses to having your Officiant attend the rehearsal.  

Before the rehearsal check-list: 

Review details with the Officiant before the ceremony and rehearsal. Any additional or objectionable details about the ceremony can be addressed with the officiate, before the ceremony in a pre-consultation or over the phone as well. 

  • Confirm the schedule for the ceremony
  • Where will the unity table be placed?
  • When is the appropriate time to light candles or pour sand?
  • When and how will the rings be exchanged; will there be rings?
  • Will there be vows read by wedding couple?
  • When will the officiant arrive on the wedding day?
  • When will you kiss and how will you be pronounced at the end?

These are some of the important details the officiant should cover with you either over the phone, in a Skype chat, at the rehearsal or in a pre-consultation. These are the essential things you may need to discuss with the wedding officiate before you do a rehearsal:

  • The names of the bride’s attendants in order – if you have 5 bridesmaids, start with the name of the last in line first on your list (see the diagram below for reference).
  • The names of the groom’s attendants in order – if you have 5 groomsmen, start with the name of the last in line first on your list.
  • Name/s of flower girl/s
  • Names of ring bearer (will the ring bearer carry the real rings?)
  • Names of parents to be walked in and who will walk them in?
  • Any other special elements such as unity candle table placement, unity sand, or other ritual additions should be discussed prior to the rehearsal.

Wedding Rehearsal Overview graphic

cat attittudeHerding Cats: Sometimes organizing and carrying out a rehearsal can be like herding cats and having them do what you intend. Have you ever tried to get a cat to do anything you wanted?   You need someone people will listen to, someone to keep people focused. It is highly recommended you appoint a director and stage manager.

Seriously, if you don’t have a clear idea of what your rehearsal will consist of and how it will take place before rehearsal day, then people will be going in every which direction.  Also, it is an excellent idea to prohibit alcohol prior to the rehearsal. Imbibing only makes the attention span and focus of the bridal party that much worse. So, decide who you want to direct the rehearsal first. Then make sure you are on the same page and understand it yourself so that you’re happy with the end results.

Who Will Be the Director?   You need to decide who will be in charge.  If the wedding officiate is able to do the rehearsal for you, that is best.

The wedding director will wear many hats during the ceremony. You and your partner are the focus of the wedding and your desires are the essential considerations but remember, you will be busy with your own queues, so recruiting a firm, trusted “commander” for the practice session and the main event will be very important.family-rehearsal-help

If you are not employing a wedding planner; select a trusted friend or relative to volunteer and fill the role of ceremony director. Review your plans before the rehearsal; make sure the “director” understands your vision.

Stage Manager: Also, if you don’t have a director, it may be necessary to appoint a stage manager to prompt the attendants on the timing and order of entry on the day of the ceremony. The officiate will be in place at the front of the alter or arch and will not be able to queue attendants in. 

Who’s on first?

Who Should be There? Everyone (with the exception of your guests) holding a part in your wedding ceremony should be present at the rehearsal. It doesn’t matter if there are 2 attendants or 200. It is the time the wedding party reviews your script and learns their individual parts. It is also the dry run of the ceremony so potential hiccups can be discovered and corrected before the guests arrive. Most often rehearsals are held the day before the wedding date.

Important tip:  Have your attendants show up early.  Tell them it is a half an hour earlier than it actually is.  One problem I often run in to is the bridal party shows up late.  Also designate a stand in ahead of time if you find out not everyone in the bridal party can make it.

Instructions: The wedding director should go through the instructions with the group before a trial run. With everyone assembled in the same room describe the ceremony.   It may be helpful to provide a printed copy (draft) detailing who enters first, the processional order, who stands and/or sits where, the playlist and timing of the music, every detail of your wedding ceremony. 

Wedding Party Positions: The first part of the rehearsal will concentrate on the arrangement and position of the wedding party. The music should queue the processional to start. Then the attendants will rehearse their order of entry, placement, and exit.

Order of Seating: Typically the order begins with the seating of VIP guests; parents, grandparents, children, and so on. The wedding party enters with the last tiered attendants first, followed by the flower girl and ring bearer, the bride and her escort enters last.

Processional: Practice the order of the processional until each participant is comfortable with their entry, placement, and exit. Make sure any impediments to the party are addressed. Uneven grounds, steps, carpets, runners, ramps and the like can create an unfortunate mishap if people aren’t aware of the danger. Make sure cables for instruments, amplifiers, and other electronic equipment are covered and they do not pose a tripping hazard!

Here is an information video resource from YouTube giving advice for the processional. 

Music: Having the person in charge of the music attend the rehearsal is very wisewedding rehearsal. This gives everyone involved in the music the time to practice the logistics of the intended songs to use for the processional and recessional. It gives the opportunity to fine tune the equipment set up and make sure everyone is clear on which songs the bride and groom want to be played too.  I can’t tell you how many times there was a question about the music or problems with equipment on the day of the event.  Complications such as these can delay a ceremony and add stress. It’s best to sort these finer details out on the rehearsal day.  It will be important to hear lines for cues and know how long each song lasts. The music typically sets the pace for the “wedding march.”

Practice: Do not hesitate to have the wedding party practice the processional and recessional until everyone is clear and you are comfortable with their parts and directions.

Following the rehearsal,a dinner/party is traditional as a reward for participants and family, and to provide a time to relax and have fun! Save the alcohol and frivolity for after the rehearsal. Keep everyone focused on business during the rehearsal.

PMothers lighting outside candlesoems, Readings or Songs
: Speaking in front of an audience may be an issue, so it might be a good idea for partners to read a passage from a book to practice speaking through a microphone or talking in an audible voice. Save the special vows for the emotional reveal of the actual ceremony.
Practice any particulars that are part of the ceremony; kneeling for prayers, lighting candles, handing off bouquets, exchanging rings. Instruct the attendants responsible for holding flowers and rings to put the articles in the same location each time.

First Kiss: A favorite rehearsal tradition is the first kiss-practicing. That exercise is a BONUS to the rehearsal!

Time Required: Most wedding rehearsals are surprisingly quick and over in a short period of time.  The average time you should allow is about an hour and a half.  However, you should allow an hour for the rehearsal walk through.  That should be plenty of time.  As soon as the couple is pronounced “wed” the attendants will begin the recessional from the venue. The recessional (or exit) is as important as the recessional (entry) for the ceremony.

Recessional: Guests typically stand in recognition of the bride and groom. Following the order of the wedding party detailed as an example;

  • The newly married couple departs first
  • The ring bearer and flower girl follow the bride and groom
  • The best man and maid/matron of honor exit
  • The remaining bridal party pairs up to exit – starting with the next in line
  • Guests remain standing and ushers escort VIP guests out beginning with the mother of the bride and/or groom.

Stagwedding recessionaling After the Wedding
: The rehearsal is also an appropriate time for the couple to decide what they will do after the recessional. The departing attendants may remain lined up at an appropriate staging area for a receiving line.

There are a couple of options. Quite often, the couple wants to spend a private moment together after the recessional to enjoy the significance of the event. In this case, the attendants may also take a moment to relax before the reception for a quick break.

Having a designated area for the attendants to gather in private is a great idea and one they will appreciate.  It all depends on your timeline and location and how formal the event is.

Guests after recessional: Most often, in the weddings I have attended, the guests will be invited to partake in some 
hors-d’oeuvre’s or refreshments while waiting to congratulate the couples nuptials.

Receiving line? It’s good to decide if a receiving line will be used or if the bride and groom will take this time to have a private moment.  If they do decide on a receiving line then they will immediately get into place for the guests to congratulate them as they exit their seats.

It has been a tradition over the years for the receiving line to take place during the recessional. This practice is often reserved for the reception but the wedding party should practice the order and understand when and where the receiving line will be expected.

Take Note: These are suggestions for the bride to consider taking note of while at the rehearsal: provide a facility tour for the attendants locating dressing rooms, restrooms, exit doors, special considerations such as handicap ramps and elevators, boxes of tissues, the guest book, gift table, and the location of the reception.

Are Pets Involved?wedding pets

If a favorite pet is a part of your wedding party include him/her in the rehearsal. Make sure the animal is comfortable in a crowd and can remain calm throughout the ceremony. You do not want to surprise him by dragging him down the aisle and expect him to behave in a strange environment. Also, make SURE someone is responsible for the control of the animal and the pet has a COMPLETE potty break BEFORE the ceremony begins.

Formal Wear: Practice wearing the wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses, and wedding apparel. Walk around in the shoes. Do not wait until you walk down the aisle to discover you can’t lift your leg up on the stage in that tight, mermaid gown or the maid of honor falls every two steps in her 5″ spiked Jimmy Choo shoes. Same thing goes for the groomsmen. The best man may be carrying a few too many six-packs on his belly to fit into his tuxedo by your wedding day!

It Happens: You will not be the first bride to faint, or groom to vomit on his shoes.  Singers forget lines, Officiants fall off their stage, bridesmaids drop bouquets, best men lose rings, flower girls throw tantrums and ring bearers wet their pants. Weddings are real life events and considering all the moving parts unforeseen things will happen. Many a viral YouTube video has been created as a result of a wedding faux pas! It is all of the unusual surprises that make YOUR wedding YOUR own unique, special event!

Happily married couple

Small Stuff – No Worries: Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is normal for a bride and groom to fret about potential flaws to the perfection of their special event. But, so much worry and emphasis can be placed on the execution that the enjoyment of the day can be lost. Remember it is YOUR day. If it doesn’t go exactly as planned embrace the unexpected and go with it.

Please let me know if this rehearsal overview has helped you with your wedding planning and rehearsal and submit any helpful tips or ideas for other brides.