A decent chunk of wedding planning includes all the other events surrounding it - the bachelorette trip, showers, and perhaps most importantly the rehearsal dinner. It’s no surprise that the rehearsal dinner is important – practicing who walks down the aisle and when helps make the actual ceremony more stress-free. But it should also be a fun and relaxing occasion! It’s a time to celebrate you and your soon-to-be spouse’s love together with your closest family members and friends, as well as to spend some quality time with them because, if we’re being honest, time is scarce during the actual wedding day. We’ve put together some rehearsal dinner basics to help you plan and enjoy your rehearsal dinner with your loved ones.
What is the Rehearsal Dinner?
First things first, what exactly is the rehearsal dinner, and do you even need to have one? The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is two-fold: to practice for the wedding ceremony and to celebrate with your closest friends and family around a meal. While we recommend having a rehearsal, the actual dinner part is up to you! We’ve had brides opt for brunches or lunches instead, making it a more casual affair. The great part is you can make it whatever you want it to be. If you want to keep it casual or within a certain budget, you can host it at your parents’ home and serve a home-cooked meal with those closest to you. A backyard barbecue would be another great idea! If you want to make it a fancier affair, book a private room at your favorite restaurant.
Who Hosts the Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally, the bride’s family covers the cost of the wedding, so the groom’s family will often cover the expense of the rehearsal dinner and act as the hosts. However, if both sets of parents are chipping in for the wedding, the couple will sometimes take on the responsibility. It might be a good idea for you and your fiancé to sit down with both sets of parents to discuss the responsibilities and who’s paying for what to clear up any confusion.
Who Do I Invite?
This can be a tricky question. You’ve just nailed down your wedding guest list and now you have to think about the rehearsal dinner guest list? Luckily, the rehearsal dinner list doesn’t have to be extensive. Here’s a quick list of people you should invite:
What Happens at a Rehearsal Dinner?
The first thing that takes place is the actual rehearsal, which is why it’s important to have your bridal party, officiant, and immediate family members there. You’ll want to practice how and when everyone is walking down the aisle, go over what the officiant will say, and make sure the music is lined up. If you’re planning on having a special ceremony, this is also the time to review what that will look like.
Next up, it’s time to eat! Whether you opt for a full-course meal or simple drinks and appetizers, this is the time to celebrate and relax. This is also a good time to give gifts to your bridal party and your parents if you’re not wanting to do it during your wedding. If you and your fiancé are planning on exchanging gifts, this is also a great time for that.
You’ll also want to make sure you review any important information or details about the wedding. This could include transportation, what time everyone needs to be at the venue, what people need to bring, and any other important information.
Who Gives Toasts?
The rehearsal dinner is well-known for all the toasts involved (or if we’re being real, the ‘roasts’). While the maid-of-honor, best man, and father of the bride typically give toasts at the wedding, the rehearsal dinner is often the time for other people to give speeches, including siblings and the rest of the bridal party. You can opt for an open mic or have a set list of people you want to speak. These speeches are often less restrained than those at the wedding, so strap yourself in for some embarrassing memories and maybe even a good old-fashioned roast.
Don’t forget to set aside time for the hosts to welcome everyone, whether it’s at the start of the rehearsal or before the dessert. Make sure you and your fiancé also take a moment to thank everyone for coming and for their love and support.
Interested in booking Four Oaks for your rehearsal dinner? We’d love to talk with you! Please reach out to us and let’s get planning!