Whether you just got engaged (congrats btw!) or your wedding is around the corner you may have some questions about planning your Rehearsal Dinner and I am going to answer some, if not all of those here!
What Is a Rehearsal Dinner exactly?
Your rehearsal dinner is an event that typically takes place after your wedding ceremony rehearsal. This event usually happens the day before your wedding. This is the time for group to “rehearse” any special moments that will be taking place on your wedding day and iron out any details such as logistics, and responsibilities.Your rehearsal dinner is a fantastic opportunity to get all of your exclusive wedding party guests together to celebrate! I also think it's important to note that your dinner doesn't have to be a dinner. You could have a brunch, or even more of a cocktail hour mid day.
When should I plan my Rehearsal Dinner?
You'll want to start planning this event about 4-6 months out from your big day! I also think it's important to mention that you won't want to include these details on your wedding website since not all wedding guests (in most cases) are invited.
Okay, Who should I invite to my Rehearsal Dinner?
For your ceremony rehearsal only those who are directly in the wedding ceremony should attend. This usually includes your bridal party members, immediate family, and anyone else playing a special role in your ceremony such as ring bearer, flower girls, or anyone with specific speaking roles. As for the dinner part of the evening you can invite extended family, anyone who may have traveled for your wedding, some of your friends who are not IN the wedding and significant others of those in the bridal parties. It's really up to you!
Now that you know who to invite let's actually talk about the invitations. You'll want to send your invites out 4-6 weeks before the wedding with an RSVP deadline of 2 weeks before the event. Your invite should include you and your partners name (duh!), names of the hosts (sometimes this is left off and that's okay!), date, time, location, RSVP date and instructions, and who is invited. You'll also want some indicator for how formal the event will be, especially if there is a dress code.
Who Hosts our Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally the grooms parents, but it's more common now for anyone close to the bride and groom to host, split costs and plan! Like anything else communication is key.
What do we do at our Rehearsal Dinner?
Typically, the event will include the following elements:
Social hour/ Meet and greet your guests, and making relevant introductions for family and friends who haven’t yet met, maybe playing games, and having drinks
You can also prepare and have gifts for your wedding party members and/or parents
Making any final announcements for the wedding – for example, ensuring everyone knows what items they’re bringing, what time to arrive in the morning, pick-up locations and meeting points for transport, order of speeches, etc.
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Rules...
JK there are no rules and that's something to keep in mind! This event should be true to you as a couple meaning as formal or informal as you want. Typically the hosts give a toast or maybe you just have a prayer before your meal, it's entirely up to you!
Alrighty I am wrapping up this blog post with a few more comments...
1. I would plan on ending the night somewhat early if your wedding is the next day so the bridal party is well rested for the big day! You won't want this to turn into an all night rager...
2. I know this is my job so I may be biased but you should highly consider hiring a photographer and even a videographer for this event. Even if it's just for an hour so you can have some candid shots of you interacting with guests, photos of the details of the event you spent months planning, and a few posed photos with family, special guests and the bridal party.
3. This is probably your last night before you become a married couple remember to have some FUN!!
Here are just some of the photos from their Rehearsal Dinner at Boatwerks in Holland, Michigan. I always include 20-30 minutes for a bride & groom portrait moment.