The rehearsal dinner is a gathering held after the wedding rehearsal. The dinner is usually held immediately following the rehearsal at a location that is near the church. The rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted by the groom’s family, so it is essential for the bride to work with the groom’s mother when making any decisions. Today, however, many families join together to host the dinner, which in some cases may become a rather large affair.
The rehearsal dinner is an event that requires planning. The dinner is often held at a local restaurant but it alternatively may be held at a country club, rented hall, or at someone’s home. The choice for the location of the dinner depends primarily on the number of people who will be in attendance in addition to the allotted budget. Most often the rehearsal dinner is held on the night before the wedding, immediately following the church rehearsal.
A traditional rehearsal dinner is held for the bridal party and the immediate families of the bride and groom. Depending on the size of the families and the number of people in the bridal party, the guest list can become large. You can have guests sit where they like or you may opt to provide a seating chart to help promote mingling. If there are a large number of guests, consider having everyone wear name tags.
A large part of the rehearsal dinner will include toasts to the couple. It is important to discuss who will be making toasts so they can prepare in advance. Include plenty of time for toasting. Along with toasts, you may want to show a slideshow or video of the couple or of the bride and groom growing up. Make sure that the venue has the necessary equipment to show your video.
Food and Beverages
When hosting a rehearsal dinner you can allow guests to choose their own dinner from a menu, provide a selected option, or offer a pre-selected menu served family style. You’ll also want to decide how beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – will be offered. Toasts are often made using champagne so you may provide a number of bottles of champagne and allow guests to order their own drinks from either an open or paid bar.
Invitations should be sent out to guests who are invited to the rehearsal dinner. The invitations should be sent out about a month prior to the wedding. If out-of-town guests are invited the invitations should be sent earlier – two or three months is proper. The invitation should include the location and time of the dinner and a map with directions if needed. Additionally, you can include a card with this information in the wedding invitation envelope if you like.