Rehearsals are good; they let everyone know where they need to be during the ceremony. Why not start with the end first? Your banquet hall director, New Jersey wedding coordinator or officiant will probably be running your rehearsal; it may or may not take place on the traditional “rehersal dinner” night before. With couples increasingly choosing Thursdays, Fridays and other weekdays for their events, your reception site may not be available the night before; in that case, the rehearsal can be done on the same day. (And if the bridal couple is planning to NOT see each other before hand, the whole thing can be done without the bride….) Having the rehearsal the week before the wedding, or at another place entirely is not worth the precious time it will take. No one will remember anything, and it just puts one more “to do” on your “to do” list.
A “Reverse Rehearse” can get everyone straight on their role in a minumum of time.
Start by placing the entire bridal party, including kids, dogs, pot belly pigs, ferrets, in the places that they will end up as they await your arrival at the ceremony focal point,(could be an altar, a table, a gazebo). This way, they can all see what the ceremony tableau would be like in a perfect world; they will see the bigger picture,and their part in it. They will know what to do, and this will be relaxing. Relaxed bridal parties are wonderful things.
Your maid or matron of honor will need to be close enough to take your bouquet when you enter into the ring vows. The best man needs to be close enough to hand you or your officiant the rings, which should be in his pocket, NOT in a box; this minimized fumbling at a moment that is key to the flow of the ceremony. (I prefer to have the rings handed directly to the couple; if one of them drops a ring, it’s funny and memorable; if I drop one, it’s unprofessional.) You want everyone close enough to you and each other that the photos will get capture everyone
After that, rehearse their departure down the aisle; this is a detail that is often overlooked; the grace of the recessional is just as important as the organization of your entrance.
A nice touch that one of my clients incorporated was to have the two sets of parents accompany them as they recessed down the aisle with the bridal party. It was an intentional and heartfelt gesture of respect for their part in the lives of the bride and groom.