Massachusetts Justice of the Peace  - Stoddard H. Melhado -- Massachusetts Wedding Officiant

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I often get asked whether rehearsals are necessary. They are certainly not necessary for me. I am comfortable walking into any venue and performing a is often the case for the small, intimate weddings where I meet the couple for the first time. Earlier this week I performed a lovely wedding at a beautiful horse barn -- no bridal party and with a simple, beautiful ceremony, no rehearsal was necessary.

But for larger weddings I love to have a rehearsal. The rehearsal allows us to accomplish many things, but most importantly, everyone involved is much calmer for the wedding as all know where to go and how to stand. As well as practicing the processional and recessional, the rehearsal enables me to cover some subtle nuances with the couple which will make their wedding even more special such as how I want them to interact with me in the early part of the ceremony, but to focus only on each other during the exchange of vows and rings. I over how we will be doing their vows to make certain that their guests hear them saying their vows, not me. I also show them how to hold their hands when exchanging rings to give their photographer the best chance of getting a wonderful picture. Finally, I  also explain duties to the Best Man -- having the rings loose, not in boxes, and how I want them handed to me -- and to the Maid of Honor -- arranging the bride's dress, taking her bouquet, and remembering to give it back to her for the recessional, often forgotten.

The most difficult thing about rehearsals is starting them on time. They are often on Friday nights, people are coming from work, and traffic can be difficult. Finally, people are not compelled to be on time for a rehearsal the way they are for a wedding. If you are thinking of a rehearsal, consider all these factors as you schedule it.

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