Planning a Rehearsal Dinner

Wedding Blog

Wedding planning insights from the experts.

Planning a Rehearsal Dinner

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Not only do rehearsal dinners allow members of each family to get to know one another, they’re also a great way for the couple to spend quality time with those closest to them before the big day. When planning yours, review the following Q & A to stay on track!   

Who to invite?
Invite parents, grandparents, the bridal party, and their significant others. You may also want to extend an invitation to close friends or family members who are helping with the wedding, or to out-of-town guests.

Who pays?
Traditionally the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner; however, more couples are paying for their own rehearsal dinners, especially if both sets of parents are helping pay for the reception.

Where to host it?
While rehearsal dinners are traditionally hosted at restaurants, many couples are branching out. Talking to your venue’s event director about possible options is a great idea, since many venues may have smaller banquet rooms, a patio, or even a lounge available for your use—and make sure to ask about any relevant discounts for hosting two events at their site.

As an added bonus, hosting your rehearsal dinner at your wedding venue allows you and your bridal party to become familiar with the building before the ceremony and reception. If you’d rather not have your dinner at the venue, however, feel free to ask them for referrals—quite possibly they know the area’s top restaurants or other nearby venues.

When considering options for your rehearsal dinner, avoid hosting it at someone’s house. Hosting such a big dinner can be stressful, especially if that same person needs to be at the rehearsal.

When to host the dinner?
You can host the rehearsal anywhere from a week to the evening before the wedding. After checking with your venue to ascertain their availability, determine what works best for you and your bridal party. Some couples are now opting to have the rehearsal the weekend before the wedding, then following it with a brunch or lunch. Another trend is to have the rehearsal two days before the wedding, leaving the evening before the ceremony free for relaxing.

What do I need?
Invitations. Have the evening's host mail invitations one month prior to the rehearsal.

Gifts. Traditionally, the bride and groom provide gifts for the bridal party for use at the wedding. Some ideas are jewelry, clutches, cute flip-flops for the bridesmaids, and cuff links or a personalized flask or money clip for the groomsmen. Also consider small gifts or cards for your parents as well to thank them for their support.

Toasts. Talk to the host is to see if they’d like to give a toast. If giving one yourself, make sure to thank everyone for being a part of your wedding.

Place Cards. Assigning seats is a great way to encourage mingling; guests will be encouraged to get to know each other before the big day.

Remember: the rehearsal dinner isn’t as formal as the wedding reception—rather, it’s a chance for you to spend time with the people who mean the most to you. Enjoy your time together and keep it simple!