Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 101

A formal rehearsal dinner setting

Many people don’t know what a rehearsal dinner really is. Traditionally, rehearsal dinners are held the night before the wedding. Usually, the theme is very relaxed and casual, and it is a great time for people to get to know each other better. As the wedding day approaches things can start to become very hectic. The rehearsal dinner is basically the last hoorah before the big day. Perfect time for the family to bond and prepare for what’s to come.

What Happens in a Rehearsal Dinner

Typically, the rehearsal dinners are planned and hosted by the groom’s or bride’s family. However, some couples decide to go a different route and plan the dinner themselves. Many believe that planning these events help build the relationship with small obstacles and decisions to be made and overcome. But if the in-laws decide to host the rehearsal dinner for you, then you can 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 should hold a special toast thanking everyone for their attendance and give out a small gift to thank everyone for the help with the wedding. The future bride and groom can also take this time to present each other with a small gift before the wedding, helping them stay more at ease as the wedding approaches.

Following gifts, it’s time to give toasts. During this time, dinner may be served and everyone can begin eating and mingling. The wedding couple can choose to give a toast or leave the whole time to the maid of honor, best man, and of course the host of the event. Anybody close to the couple can choose to share toast to share for everyone, 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 everyone about tomorrow’s big day a quick overview of how everything should pan out.

A table set up for a casual rehearsal dinner

Rehearsal Dinner Themes

Whether you are interested in throwing a themed party or just a casual dinner, having a plan or idea of what you want your rehearsal dinner to look like can really help for future planning sessions. 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 broad 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. Filled with cocktails and light snacks, this small intimate dinner is a great chance for both the groom’s and bride’s family to get to know each other.

Unlike planning for the wedding, planning the rehearsal dinner should be a bit more relaxing. Worrying about decorations such as flowers bouquets and tablecloth doesn’t have to be very intense compared to your actual wedding. Rehearsal dinners require a lot less planning unless you are trying to deliver the most extravagant dinner ever! Picking a few small ideas from family and friends suggestion lists is always fun. Maintaining a steady budget should be easy when it comes down to the rehearsal dinner. Similar to wedding planning, having a good head count of who will be attending your rehearsal dinner can help lower costs.

Friends cheering during a rehearsal dinner

Who to Invite

Traditionally, rehearsal dinners are more for the family, but close friends and other relatives can receive an invitation too. One of the main goals for a wedding rehearsal is to make sure all required things are ready for the wedding the next day and provide some stress relief for everyone involved in the wedding. During the actual day of the wedding, it becomes very difficult for either the groom or bride to spend some 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 aware and ready for any type of formal or casual event. These invitations should be sent out a little after the actual wedding invitations so guests can plan accordingly.

Rehearsal dinners are more than just practicing and rehearsing what to do the day of the wedding. It is a special time for close family and relatives to come together and share in the happiness for this wonderful journey they are about to embark on. All the way from the invitees to the planning, rehearsal dinners can help ease nerves before the big day. Certain activities such as toasts, speeches, and gift exchanges all take part throughout the rehearsal dinner. Most importantly, at the end of the night giving the guests a recap of the upcoming wedding should be one of the highlights of the night, but not the main one. Thanking everyone that helped organize and plan the wedding and rehearsal dinner should be a part of your to-do list. And lastly, remember that the rehearsal dinner is a time for relaxation and conversation, so don’t let the night be ruined by anything or anyone!

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