A rehearsal dinner is an important aspect of your wedding, as it helps to get people acquainted and prepared for the upcoming day. The rehearsal dinner doesn’t have to be very formal, but it should be an organized event that gets everyone excited for the days to come. If you’re still unsure about how or what to plan for the rehearsal dinner, consider some of these questions to get you on the right track:
When Should The Dinner Take Place?
The rehearsal dinner should take place the night before the wedding. This is important for a number of reasons. The first is that having the rehearsal so close to the ceremony will allow it to be fresh in everyone’s mind for the next day so no one forgets where they need to be. The second reason is that some of your wedding party or officiants will not live in the area, so this will save them from coming back and forth or not being able to make the rehearsal at all.
It’s also great to have the rehearsal dinner the night before so that everyone can spend some quality time together before the craziness of your wedding day. The special day is sometimes over in a blur, and having that extra time to sit and enjoy each other will be more important than you know!
Where Should It Take Place?
Most tasks for the big day should be taken care of before your rehearsal dinner, so this is a chance for you to see everyone in a relaxed environment. That means wherever you feel relaxed is where you should host your rehearsal dinner. You can host a party from home, book one at a restaurant, or have it right on the property where your wedding will be.
It is suggested that the rehearsal dinner location isn’t too far from the ceremony spot, so that the dinner is easy to reach after rehearsal. Another thing to note is that your dinner doesn’t have to be fancy or reflect the theme of the wedding. It’s more than acceptable to throw a fun bowling party or have everyone to the pool the day before—enjoy this part of the process!
Who Is Invited?
The best thing about the rehearsal dinner is that you can invite all those you want! There are no pre-conceived notions about these parties, and they can be as private or social as you choose. Aside from your wedding party and parents, you have free rein with the rehearsal dinner. If you need some help, consider inviting people who will be a part of the ceremony, such as readers or singers, as well as parents of the flower girl or ring bearer.
For those who are looking for a bigger party, it’s a great idea to invite all of the folks from out of town if your wedding is the next day. This will allow them to make the trip a day early, and perhaps meet others with whom they are not familiar. It’s also a great time for the two families to bond if they haven’t had a lot of opportunities, and for you and your fiancé to get in a lot of conversation with these guests in case you’re too busy the next day.
To make sure everyone is in the know about the event, you might consider wedding rehearsal dinner invitations that you can send out ahead of time. These will inform guests about the location, schedule, dress code, and more. This will save you a lot of time answering your guests individually.
What Should We Plan?
Some couples have their events catered, while others make all of the food themselves. It will be up to you how your rehearsal dinner is planned, and who is in charge of what. If you want it to be relaxed and casual, then have a delicious barbecue and a drink bar for friends. If you’re looking for something more elegant, then reserve an area at a nice restaurant or wine house.
In terms of what you can plan, there are lots of activities for the wedding party to take part in at a rehearsal dinner. You know the personalities of your friends and family, so planning a fun night out bowling, dancing or wine tasting could be a great idea for bonding! If you’re planning something at home, yard games or karaoke on the couch are just as great. Try not to worry too much about this whole event—it should be easy, with the people closest to you.
Who Should Pay For It?
If you’re looking for a traditional answer, then you’ll want to know that it is usually the groom’s parents who plan the rehearsal dinner and pay for the costs. This is based on tradition because it was usually the bride’s parents who paid for most of the other costs during the process. Nowadays, this is still a totally acceptable practice if you have had the conversation with the groom’s parents ahead of time (obviously).
These days there are a lot of different ways that couples pay for their weddings. Between stag and doe nights, and couples being able to afford their own events, you may not require them to pay, or perhaps you will split the costs. Whatever you decide, just make sure that everyone is on the same page. A rehearsal dinner doesn’t have to be fancy if it is not in the budget—a home cooked meal, take-out pizza, or barbecue is just as good!
A rehearsal dinner is a great time to get everyone together who is nearest and dearest to you at your wedding. This is also a night of celebration to say “We did it!” You’ve planned all you can plan, and now it’s time to just sit back and watch it all unfold. If you want a great memento of the night, pass around a camcorder for people to play with so you can look back and enjoy the fun night.
Also make note that rehearsal dinners are a great time for a few speeches and toasts. While it’s not customary for the bride and groom to say too much, have a little something prepared just in case. Cheers!