The night before the wedding, many couples choose to host close friends and family for a rehearsal dinner. Meant to be a “last hoorah,” celebration... Read More
The night before the wedding, many couples choose to host close friends and family for a rehearsal dinner.
Meant to be a “last hoorah,” celebration of the rehearsal ceremony, and/or kickoff to the wedding, rehearsal dinners — though not required — have been a mainstay for wedding planning.
For many, the rehearsal dinner has blown up into nearly the size of a second reception, so it makes sense that it’s become a source of stress. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 5 questions that will help you plan a stress-free rehearsal dinner.
1. Who throws the rehearsal dinner?
Years ago, it was tradition for the bride’s family to pay for the wedding, while the groom’s family was responsible for the rehearsal dinner. While that may be the case for traditional couples, it’s generally accepted that this is no longer a hard and fast rule.
These days, rehearsal dinners can be hosted by, paid for, or thrown by anyone. From the couple to the parents to any family member — or a mix of them all — anyone who is willing and able to pay for the dinner can do so.
2. Who should plan the rehearsal dinner?
Typically, whoever hosts (or throws) the rehearsal dinner should also plan it. However, just like the wedding, planning and paying doesn’t necessarily have to go hand in hand.
That said, it’s helpful if the happy couple can focus on planning the wedding, rather than worrying about yet another event.
3. Who gets invited and how do you send invitations?
Since the rehearsal dinner often follows the rehearsal, invite everyone who is part of the ceremony (officiant, readers, ushers, immediate family, the wedding party, and their guests). Couples also often will invite out-of-town guests as a special “thank you” for coming so far for the festivities.
The number of invites will impact the rehearsal dinner budget (if there is one), so keep headcount in mind as you plan.
Invitations don’t need to be formal for a rehearsal dinner. An online invitation or even a phone call is perfectly appropriate. Invites should be sent out about 4 – 6 weeks prior to the dinner.
4. Where should the rehearsal dinner be?
Keep the rehearsal dinner close to your venue or where your guests are staying (no more than 20 miles away). The most popular location is a restaurant, but hosting at someone’s home or backyard is a great way to keep things casual if that’s your preference.
5. What do you need to do for the rehearsal dinner?
As with all events, there are a lot of small to do items that can’t be forgotten or left until the last moment (and inevitably stress everyone out).
Here’s what you need to do and remember for the rehearsal dinner. Use these items as your own personal checklist if you’re hosting:
- Create a budget: Determine how much you’re able to contribute (or the host can contribute) to the event. This will help narrow your search for venues and adjust the guest list accordingly.
If you need to watch your budget, consider: keeping the guest list small, host at someone’s home, ask guests to BYOB (bring your own beverage), or host a brunch or lunch instead of a dinner.
- Choose a theme: The wedding has a theme, why not the rehearsal dinner?! Try to pick something in line with the overall feel or theme of the wedding. For instance, if the wedding is formal, the rehearsal dinner can be more formal; if the wedding has a casual feel, so can the rehearsal dinner.
- Pick a date: While the rehearsal dinner is most often the night before the wedding, it doesn’t always have to be! Some families choose to host a rehearsal several days before or even have a celebration the day after the wedding.
- Determine your guest list: Put together a list of people you plan to invite. Having a general headcount will help when you choose a venue.
- Pick a venue: Where will you host the rehearsal dinner? Call around to area restaurants to get pricing for large parties and events or determine someone local who will host at their home.
- Choose a menu: Restaurants often offer a specialized menu (with just a few options) for large parties and events like this that will fit in your budget. You’ll have even more options for the menu if you’re hosting at someone’s home.
- Send out invitations: Invite your guests to the rehearsal dinner! Just like the wedding invitation, they’ll need all the information about the event, including time and date, location, and attire.
- Decorate: Once all the planning is out of the way, it’s time for the fun part: decorating! Stick to your theme and keep decorations as simple or as complex as you’d like!
If you’re planning a rehearsal dinner, answer these five questions and you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free rehearsal dinner.
And for help with New England event rentals, give us a call at Sperry Tents Seacoast!