Ultimately the decision on whether or not to hold a rehearsal is up to the couple, but they are usually guided by their celebrant and their venue. There are many celebrants around who feel that as they do ceremonies every weekend, they know what they are doing and therefore a rehearsal is not necessary. If you want one (at their home), you pay extra; if you want one at your venue you pay extra extra! There are even some venues around where arranging a time for a rehearsal is extremely difficult and some may even charge your extra to hold a rehearsal – be sure to check all of this out prior to booking.
Every celebrant is required under their conditions for registration, to be available for a rehearsal. The Attorney General’s department doesn’t, however, say that it must be on-site or that a celebrant can’t charge extra.
I believe that a rehearsal is highly desirable, even necessary for all but the smallest of weddings – even then I encourage an on-site meeting, that usually turns into a rehearsal. The rehearsal is not about the celebrant, it is about the bridal party feeling confident and comfortable in what will happen at the wedding. It is a time when differing ideas and expectations can be ironed out. It is surprising how often a bridesmaid or a parent is expecting things to go one way (perhaps that what they saw in a movie, or that is traditional) but the couple have decided to do it slightly differently. A common one is the bridal procession, that these days more often than not, follows the American tradition of the bridesmaids entering first and the bride’s entry is the finale, however there are still many brides who wish to keep to the English tradition of the bride and her Dad first followed by the bridesmaids.
Positioning for the ceremony, seating for the parents, walking slowly and gracefully and timing the music, practising with the microphone for readers, staging the movement to and from the signing table and the final recessional are all important elements to practise beforehand.
So – is a rehearsal necessary? In my opinion, absolutely. It allows you and your wedding party to be calm and confident on the day.
Who should be at the rehearsal? Ideally the whole wedding party and anyone else involved in the ceremony. If that’ snot possible then as many of them as possible. In addition to this, you need to have the wedding professionals involved in the ceremony – at least the celebrant and the venue co-ordinator for your wedding. Wonderful Hinterland venues like Secrets on the Lake, Flaxton Gardens and Spicers Clovelly Estate and Tamarind and The Little White Wedding Church all offer a rehearsal at which they will have their co-ordinator available.
Should you pay the celebrant extra for a rehearsal? That is up to the celebrant and the agreement that you have with that celebrant. If you have chosen a celebrant from say Brisbane or Caloundra or Noosa for a Hinterladn wedding, then that celebrant will incur additional travel time and expenses so it is reasonable to expect you will pay extra for his/her attendance. However this should be established prior to you making the booking. I do not charge extra for a rehearsal for weddings in Montville, Flaxton and Maleny, because I choose to live and work in the Hinterland so my travel time and costs are kept to a minimum. On the rare occasion that I do a wedding on the coast or further afield, I factor in the costs of attending a rehearsal to the fee that I quote so that you can be confident in knowing the exact costs for your wedding celebrant before your make the decision about using the offered service.