How to Plan a Rehearsal Dinner
Rehearsal Dinner Overview
A rehearsal dinner is an informal meal you have after a wedding rehearsal. It takes place the night before the wedding, and is traditionally hosted by the groom's parents. The idea behind the rehearsal dinner is to give everyone a chance to get to know each other better and socialize before the big day. It is a chance for everyone to relax and unwind before the whirlwind that is the wedding day. It is also a chance for the bride and groom to thank those who have helped in planning their wedding and give them a small token of appreciation.
Pre-planning: A month before the event
Just like any event, a rehearsal dinner needs some planning to push through. However, it takes less time because it is tied to another scheduled event ? the wedding rehearsal.
- Know the date. As the host of this party you will also have access to the couple's schedule of events. Once the couple has decided on the date of the wedding rehearsal, you should work with them to come up with a time line so that you can get an accurate idea of dinner time.
- Know the venue. Just like knowing the date, you also need to know where the wedding rehearsal is. Make sure to set the dinner at a venue that is convenient to the rehearsal locale.
- Guest list. Your guest list should include the immediate family of the bride and groom, wedding entourage and their spouses, and the parents of the child attendants. Don't forget to invite the priest/ officiate and his/ her spouse.
- Send the invitations. Make sure your invites go out to all the people on your guest list before they make any plans after the wedding rehearsals. Make sure to list the start time of the wedding rehearsal in your rehearsal dinner invitations. You could even coordinate with the bride and groom to make sure that everything is perfectly scheduled.
Planning the Details: 2 to 3 weeks before the party
Since you have little time to plan for everything, you need to take care of the details as soon as possible.
- Food – will more or less be catered or served in the restaurant. Make sure to reserve a private room in the restaurant and either plan a menu with them, unless you would prefer that everybody orders their own meal.
- Entertainment – the entertainment will come mostly from the guests as they roast the couple with good-hearted jokes, and toast to the success of their wedding and future married life. If you decide to show a video, make sure to get this done with plenty of time and compile any pictures or other couple memorabilia you might need.
- Thank you gifts – this is the perfect time to give the wedding attendants a thank you gift for all the time and effort they shared to make the special day come true. Some bridal party gifts that the couple can give are a bottle of wine in a lovely engraved wine box, flowers paired with a delicate necklace for your bridesmaids, some sports memorabilia or an engraved pocket knife for your groomsmen, or simply a box of delicious pastries.
Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette FAQs
Plan a successful event for the closest family and friends to celebrate the couple one last time before the wedding. Here are some frequently asked questions for the event:
When do I send out the invitations?
Printed invitations for the rehearsal dinner are typically sent a few days after the wedding invitations are sent. It doesn't have to be as formal and expensive as the wedding invites.
Do I have to invite out-of-town guests?
Before, rehearsal dinners were only for the immediate family and the wedding entourage. However, in recent years, the guest list can include out-of-town guests who are in town just for the wedding. Although it is a nice gesture, it is not a must. Unless you can afford the additional expense and wouldn't mind.
Who pays for the dinner?
Convention says that the host, in this case, the groom's parents, pays for the dinner. But now some couples include the rehearsal dinner in their wedding budget. Another way is for both set of parents to host and pay for the dinner together.