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Rehearsal dinner setting

The Essential Parts To Planning A Rehearsal Dinner

Your wedding day is finally in sight. One of our favorite events of a wedding weekend is the rehearsal dinner, but with all the planning and coordinating of the Big Day, it’s easy to make the rehearsal dinner an after-thought.

With just a few pre-planning steps, you can create an unforgettable night that carries you and your entourage from planning mode to wedding party mode. From the most common rehearsal dinner questions to unconventional ideas, we’re helping you plan the night.

Who pays for the rehearsal dinner?

Typically, the side of the family that is not contributing to the wedding cost will pay for the rehearsal dinner. However, it’s not uncommon for the couple to cover the cost or the two families to split the bill. The average cost of a rehearsal dinner is $1,330, so if you’re covering the dinner tab, be sure to work it into your wedding budget.

Who attends the rehearsal dinner?

You can customize the rehearsal dinner guest list however you would like. Keep it small for a more intimate setting or extend invites to family and friends not in the wedding so they still feel involved. While you get to create the guest list, most couples will create an evening based on their wedding.

For example, if you’re hosting a destination wedding, nearly all of your guests will be invited. For traditional weddings, it’s common to invite out-of-town guests so you can spend quality time with them ahead of the wedding. If the guest list becomes overwhelming, think outside the box. Host a small rehearsal dinner, but invite everyone to an after-party at a local pub.

Are invitations required?

Skip the invitations if you’re hosting an intimate rehearsal dinner. For an event planned for immediate family and friends, just make sure everyone is on the same page with the location and time. For a large rehearsal dinner, invitations may be the easiest way to keep track of who’s coming. If your wedding weekend is a formal event, opt for paper invitations. If you’re keeping it casual, create an e-vite.

If you go with paper invitations, send them about one month in advance. It will give your invitees plenty of time to plan and RSVP.

When is the rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is typically planned immediately following the ceremony walk-through. Once all wedding party members have practiced for the nuptials, you all gather with other friends and family and enjoy a meal. In most cases, the rehearsal dinner is planned one or two nights ahead of the wedding.

Rehearsal dinner “thank you”

Whether your rehearsal dinner is large or small, take the time to make a toast to thank your family and friends for their support and love in carrying you into the next chapter of life. If you plan bridesmaid gifts and groomsmen gifts, hand those out while dessert is being served. Consider opening the floor to any other toasts or words of wisdom to the bride and groom.

Rehearsal dinner themes

For the traditionalists, a formal, sit-down meal is ideal, but that isn’t the case for everyone! For couples who want to break formalities and lighten up the rehearsal dinner, we have a few ideas:

  • Backyard game night
  • Beer and BBQ
  • Brewery tour
  • Fondue party
  • Ice cream / dessert bar
  • Movie night with popcorn and theater snacks
  • Rehearsal brunch
  • Wine tasting event

What to wear to the rehearsal dinner?

The bride and groom’s wardrobe should mirror the formality of the dinner. That said, wear something that makes you feel good and bride-like. Go for a white dress, romper or blouse and slacks / shorts. Even if your event is casual, dress up your look a bit.

After all that planning, it’s time to enjoy your rehearsal dinner with family and friends. Take in the memories, good food and laughter. It’s the kick-off night to your spectacular wedding weekend!