The rehearsal dinner generally takes place after your wedding rehearsal and the evening before your wedding. It’s an opportunity for the wedding party to get together for a good time, but also for the bride and groom to thank all the people who have helped out with the wedding planning.
Traditionally the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, but very often the couple includes this expense in their overall planning budget. Sometimes both sets of parents host the dinner together or another relative or friend may step in and pay for the rehearsal dinner as a gift to the bride and groom.
The groom’s mother is usually the rehearsal dinner planner, but it is a good idea to check with her to make sure she is willing and able to do so. If she wants to take on the responsibility, then that will work out great, and it gives her some participation in the planning process. If her taste is not the same as yours, don’t worry…..the guests will know that you were not involved in the planning.
During dinner, the bride and groom usually thank or toast their families and the wedding party. Many times there are many other informal toasts from the wedding party or family. Sometimes this toasting can become a bride and groom roast….. but remember it’s all in good fun. You can also plan to have games for everyone or even a fun home-movie of the couple. If you’re not having a bridesmaid’s luncheon, this is the best time to give bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts.
One important thing to remember is that printed invitations to your rehearsal dinner are typically sent a few days after you send the wedding invitations. They don’t have to be expensive, either. I would suggest printing invitations from a template on your computer, to save money.
A rehearsal dinner used to be only for the wedding party and the immediate family of the bride and groom. Proper wedding etiquette and many wedding magazines dictate that you should invite your out of town guests to your rehearsal dinner. My personal opinion is to give your out of town guests a list of restaurants that are close by, so as not to leave them stranded in an unknown city. Also, you can include a note in your invitations saying “If you’re in town the night before the wedding, we’d love to see you at the Oceanside Pub after 9 pm – please join us if you can make it.” Then order snacks or appetizers for your guests, which will still be less expensive than providing all your out of town guests dinner.
Before you decide on your rehearsal dinner, remember that it doesn’t have to be a big deal at a fancy restaurant or an expensive catering hall. Some of the best rehearsal dinners I’ve seen were relaxed backyard BBQ’s, cookouts, or potluck dinners. The most important thing is to provide a time which will allow your wedding party and family a chance to really get to know each other. But, by all means, do have a rehearsal dinner. You’ll want to take this time to thank all the people who mean the most to you and who made your wedding day happen.
Wedding Planner & Officiant