If you’ve planned or been in a wedding, you know that they rarely consist of one lone event. Sometimes there’s an engagement party. There’s usually a shower (or more than one!). Then you’ve got the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Other than the wedding itself, the rehearsal dinner is the last event left to plan. If you’ve never been involved in a wedding, you might not be totally familiar with this concept, so let’s start with the basics. These tips and information tidbits should make planning a rehearsal dinner a little easier.
What is a rehearsal dinner?
Weddings often have a rehearsal the day before to ensure everyone involved knows where they’re supposed to be and when. Typically this includes the wedding party and immediate family. The rehearsal dinner is held afterward as a way to thank the people closest to you, both for attending the rehearsal and all the support they’ve given through the entire planning process. It’s also a great way to give the families and wedding party another chance to get to know one another better.
Who is invited?
The rehearsal dinner should definitely include the wedding party and immediate family (parents, siblings). Also make sure to include the significant other of anyone in the wedding and the parents of any child attendants you might have (flower girl and ring bearer). Some couples also choose to include out-of-town guests, though this isn’t required.
How formal should it be?
The great thing about the rehearsal dinner is that it can be as formal or informal as you’d like! Anything from a catered, plated meal to a backyard BBQ is fine!
Is it required?
It isn’t necessarily required that you have a rehearsal dinner, because it isn’t required that you have a rehearsal! I would say that if you’re having a rehearsal and asking your family and wedding party to attend, it would be nice to host a dinner for them afterward.
I think it’s time we all move past the out-dated traditions of who is “supposed” to pay for and host certain wedding events. If the groom’s parents (traditionally they hosted it) offer to host the event, that’s great. If not, the couple can host it themselves.
Timeline for Planning a Rehearsal Dinner
I would recommend looking for a location to hold the rehearsal dinner 4-5 months before the wedding. It’s better to be safe and book early than have a difficult time finding somewhere that’s available. We’re just holding ours in the party room of an Italian restaurant, but they still booked up quite a bit in advanced.
Sent the invites about a 1-2 months before the event so people can plan ahead, especially those coming from out of town.
Typically, wedding party and parent gifts are presented at the rehearsal dinner, so come prepared with those!
What are your best tips for planning a rehearsal dinner?
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