Your rehearsal dinner should be a celebration for you and your close family and friends to enjoy in a relaxed way before all the festivities of the “main event” happen. Many married couples may actually tell you their rehearsal dinner was their favorite part of the whole wedding experience because it was the one part of the wedding experience where they were able to spend quality time with their most favorite people in the whole world.
Today, I have rounded up seven of my favorite tips for planning the perfect rehearsal dinner.
Who is Hosting
You should decide early on who will be hosting the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally the groom’s parents host this pre-wedding event but sometimes the bride’s parents do or even the nearly weds. I suggest sitting down with your parents early in the wedding planning process to decide who’ll be handling this event.
Pick a Location
When choosing the location of your rehearsal dinner, consider somewhere that is low-key and relaxed. A place where you’ll be able to gather and relax and actually talk to each other. Consider a private room at your favorite restaurant or on the deck at your local country club. I have even worked with couples who’s parents hosted it at their home because it was close by and they had a great space for entertaining. Where ever you plan to have our rehearsal dinner, be sure it’s comfortable for everyone invited.
Make your Guest List
We’ll be getting into more detail in a future post about who you should invite to your rehearsal dinner but basically you should invite your immediate families, your wedding party members and spouses / significant others and the parents of any children in the wedding. Some couples also choose to invite out-of-town-guests as a way to welcome them give them something to do for the evening.
Pick the Time
Rehearsal dinners and the rehearsals themselves are often held the night before the wedding. While you should confirm with your officiant, most rehearsals last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Typically the rehearsal dinner takes place immediately following the conclusion of the rehearsal.
While I have had some couples order their rehearsal invitations to be complete at the same time as their wedding invitations, they typically are mailed out after the wedding invitations. The rehearsal invitations should reflect the formality of the rehearsal dinner you are planning. Don’t send a formal looking invitation if you are hosting a back yard bar-b-q for your rehearsal dinner.
Since the rehearsal dinner is supposed to be more intimate and laid back, make sure you plan the even so that you have time to greet all your guests as they arrive or at some point during the dinner. If you ahve reserved a special room or venue, make sure you also have allowed time for exchanging of gifts, making toasts and any other last minute announcements before the big day.
Keep Track of Time
While it may be easy to loose track of time relaxing and spending time with family and friends, be sure not to let the party go on too late. Even though it’s tempting to party all night long, the best advice is to get plenty of rest because you’ll want to be well-rested and feeling great for your special day.
Planning a Rehearsal Dinner on top of planning your best day ever doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. While there is more to it than these 7 tips, I hope they help you focus on a few important aspects to help you plan the perfect Rehearsal Dinner.