What and when is a rehearsal dinner?
A rehearsal dinner is a meal traditionally held immediately after the wedding rehearsal on the day before the actual wedding. This event is typically hosted by the groom’s parents. It can be anywhere from a formal sit down dinner to a casual backyard BBQ at your family home. It’s totally up to you.
Why do people do a rehearsal dinner?
The rehearsal dinner may be on the first chances for the couple’s extended family to meet. It should be a relaxing time with good food, drinks, and conversation with the most important people from your wedding day. This is also a great time for anyone who wanted to give a speech at your wedding, but the timeline didn’t allow for it to get up and say their peace. It is also a good time to pass out any gifts to parents of the couple or wedding party.
Who attends the Rehearsal Dinner?
Start your guest list with the following VIPs:
- Immediate Family and very close extended family
- Bridesmaids, Groomsmen & their plus-one’s if they have a plus one coming to the wedding
- Ring Bearer, Flower Girl and their families
- Ceremony Officiant, Ceremony readers and anyone participating in the wedding ceremony
The hard choices come after these obvious invites. Traditionally any guest travelling for your wedding should be invited to the rehearsal dinner out of respect for the time, effort, and money spent on the trip. But what if you’re having a destination wedding, or the majority of your guests are travelling? Obviously that rule would not apply to those situations, and this is where the lines get a little blurry on etiquette. Family is a priority for the rehearsal dinner so save your besties from college till the wedding and put the focus on both you and your partner’s families. Ultimately this is the best chance for you and your partner to mingle the most with your guests so make sure to invite the guests you really want to talk with and as always it’s your day so these are your choices and no one else’s opinion really matters.
Where is the rehearsal dinner?
Anywhere! The rehearsal dinner can be done at your wedding venue, a totally different venue, a restaurant or your home. This is totally up to you and can be as formal or informal as you’d like!
5 Tips for Hosting a Rehearsal Dinner
- Use your invitation to set the mood for your event so that guests know what to expect. Is it casual event? Is it an all-night affair?
- Don’t stay out too late or drink too much. You will want to be well rested so you look and feel your best on your wedding day.
- Take lots of pictures. You will want to remember all the behind the scenes moments that aren’t typically captured by your photographer.
- Don’t expect your wedding planner or coordinator to handle the rehearsal dinner unless you specifically talk about it with them. In most cases, there will be an additional fee for them to coordinate this event too.
- If you’re on a budget, re-use centerpieces from the rehearsal dinner on your wedding day.
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