Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 101

Wedding rehearsals are more than just practicing what to do the day of the wedding. They’re a special time for close family and friends to come together and share in the happiness for this wonderful journey the couple is about to embark on. But even though a wedding rehearsal and it’s subsequent dinner are traditional, many people don’t actually know what to expect if they’ve never been to one before.

Usually, rehearsal dinners are held the night before the wedding. They’re usually very relaxed and casual, and it’s a great time for people in the wedding party and family members of the bride and groom to get to know each other better. The rehearsal dinner is basically the last event in the wedding planning process before the big day.

What Happens at a Rehearsal Dinner?

Typically, a rehearsal dinner is planned and hosted by the groom’s family, however, some couples decide to go a different route and plan the dinner themselves. If the in-laws insist on hosting the rehearsal dinner for you, take the opportunity to sit back and relax!

A rehearsal dinner usually starts with a small meet and greet over drinks and light snacks. Once all the guests have arrived and are settled, the bride and groom present a short speech thanking everyone for their attendance and give out small gifts to thank everyone for the help with the wedding. Thanking everyone that helped organize and plan the wedding and rehearsal dinner should be a part of your to-do list.

Following gifts, it’s time for toasts. During this time, dinner may be served. The wedding couple can choose to give a toast, or leave the focus to the maid of honor, best man, and, of course, the host of the event. Anybody close to the couple can choose to give a toast, but it should be more casual than what will be said during the wedding reception. After all the toasting is done, this a great time to remind all the guests about the following day’s planned schedule.

Who Is Invited?

Traditionally, rehearsal dinners are more for the bridal party and immediate family, but close friends and other relatives can receive an invitation, too. (It’s not uncommon to have grandparents there and plus-ones for the bridal party.) During the actual day of the wedding, it becomes very difficult for the bride or groom to spend quality time with anyone. Many people tend to have family flying in just in time for the rehearsal dinner, so acknowledging some of these immediate family members can help set the mood and help them feel appreciated.

If you are thinking about having a fancy rehearsal dinner, sending formal invitations via mail is very popular. If your rehearsal dinner is a little less formal, it’s okay to send invitations via email or even by text message, depending on who you’re inviting. Every invitation has to have a given time and location for the rehearsal dinner, as well as a note on how formal the occasion will be, so guests can be ready with the appropriate outfit. These invitations should be sent out a little after the actual wedding invitations so guests can plan accordingly.

Rehearsal Dinner Themes

Whether you’re interested in throwing a themed party or just a casual dinner, having an idea of what you want your rehearsal dinner to look like can really help. Rehearsal dinners can be formal, or as casual as a BBQ in your backyard with some karaoke. You never want your rehearsal dinner to overshadow the actual wedding day, so choosing a small and simple theme is a good idea. Depending on how large your budget is, check listings of available venues beforehand to compare prices and negotiate a deal. Rehearsal dinners can be held at a hotel, restaurant, or someone’s home.

Unlike planning for the wedding, planning the rehearsal dinner should be a bit more relaxing. Worrying about decorations such as centerpieces and tablecloths doesn’t have to be as intense compared to your actual wedding. Rehearsal dinners require a lot less planning. Maintaining a steady budget should be easy when it comes down to the rehearsal dinner. Similarly to wedding planning, having a good head count of who will be attending your rehearsal dinner can help lower costs.

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