The Rehearsal Dinner is a great time to meet everyone, relax and begin your wedding celebration. The groom’s parents usually host the dinner but this is no longer a strict rule. Sometimes the bride and groom will host the dinner or it can be hosted together by several people.
1. Your rehearsal dinner should have a different style and menu than your wedding. For instance, if your wedding is a formal sit-down dinner, then plan a rehearsal dinner that is more casual. And, if you are serving chicken or beef for the wedding, then try Italian food for the rehearsal dinner.
2. Many brides and grooms are having lots of fun with the rehearsal dinner by incorporating a particular theme such as a Mexican Fiesta, a Western Barbecue, a Hawaiian Luau. Think about a nautical theme and chartering a boat and having a dinner buffet on board! You can plan a clam bake at a restaurant or on a beach. Or, a fun picnic at a park or in your backyard.
3. A formal sit down dinner at a restaurant is always a great option. Some restaurants have private rooms which are great for a larger size party. If you have a private room – ask the restaurant to set up a table of hors d’oeuvres. Plan the first hour of the rehearsal dinner as a cocktail “hour” where your guests can walk around and mingle with each other before dinner.
4. It’s not required that you send out invitations for your rehearsal dinner, but if you have time – it’s a good idea. The invitation will tell people exactly where and when the rehearsal will be held (sometimes it’s not always held at the church or ceremony location) and where and when the dinner will take place. You should include directions to the restaurant if people are unfamiliar with the are If you do send out invitations, they should ALWAYS be less formal than your wedding invitation. You should invite all those who will take part in the wedding ceremony to the rehearsal dinner. Spouses or dates of all adult attendants should be invited. Parents and grandparents of the bride and groom should be invited. It is not necessary to invite the musicians or soloist unless they are close friends or family. If you’re having small children in the wedding, the parents of the children should be invited, but many times the children will not attend the dinner in order to get to bed early.
5. You can always invite other family members who are not part of the ceremony and out-of-town guests to join your rehearsal dinner. It’s always nice to have more time to spend with your family and out-of town guests that you may not see very often.
6. You should make sure that everyone is introduced to each other, either through formal introductions (“going around the table”) or informally by “mixing and mingling”. Here’s a nice idea: Once everyone is seated, the bride or groom introduces everyone and says something personal about each one. Such as: “Susan Miller, is my maid of honor, we’ve been best friends since first grade and I never would have been able to put together this wedding without all of her help. In fact, she helped me make ALL the favors for the wedding.”
7. A nice gesture is to thank your parents and future parents-in-law and propose a toast at the rehearsal dinner to say “thank you” for all their love, support and help for a wonderful wedding!
8. If you haven’t already — this is the time to give your gifts to the attendants and thank them for being in the wedding.
9. Many rehearsal dinners are showing home movies or video clips of when the bride or groom were very young. Some take baby pictures and enlarge them and display them throughout the rehearsal dinner. These all make for a good “ice breaker” and certainly add a lot of fun to the evening.
10. You could also think about having the Groom’s Cake at the rehearsal dinner. It’s a nice surprise and who can resist a deep, double chocolate fudge cake? Many are getting creative with the groom’s cake and making it in various shapes and styles to match the groom’s personality or a particular interest or hobby.
11. The rehearsal dinner is a good time to go over any last minute details with your family and wedding party – just in case someone doesn’t know where and when they are suppose to meet the next morning.
12.Don’t drink a lot of alcohol at the rehearsal dinner and go home EARLY. You want to make sure you get lots of rest to look your best on your wedding day! Most of all, relax, enjoy and get to bed early!