When planning a wedding or even an elopement, sometimes planning the rehearsal dinner gets pushed back to the last minute. The rehearsal dinner is an intimate start to the wedding experience. It allows the close family and bridal party to spend one on one time with the bride and groom. It is also a time for gift exchanging & toasts.
Who attends? The rehearsal dinner is usually comprised of the wedding party and immediate family. Although, you can choose to invite anyone you would like depending on budget. Make sure to collaborate with the bride’s parents to include any VIP guests they would like to attend.
When should we host it? The rehearsal dinner is held after the ceremony rehearsal the night before the wedding. It is typically scheduled an hour and a half after the start time of the ceremony rehearsal. If the rehearsal starts at 5:30pm, the rehearsal should start at 7pm.
Where should we host it? You can choose to have an outdoor BBQ at someone’s house, or rent out a restaurant or a brewery. This will depend on budget. If you aren’t sure- ask the bride & groom if they have a restaurant preference, or if they are hoping for a casual backyard bash.
Here are 6 easy steps to planning your rehearsal dinner:
Step 1. Establish a budget and a guest list of your bridal party and immediately family.
Step 2. Explore restaurant or venue options. Establish a venue contact if you are renting somewhere.
Step 3. Set a menu. Decide if you will include alcohol. The rehearsal dinner portion is usually covered financially by the host- but you can decide whether or not to include alcohol in that gift to the guests. Otherwise, have no alcohol or a cash bar!
Step 4. Send out invites to everyone on the guest list so they know all details for the dinner.
Step 5. Purchase any decorations needed. Also decide if you want to do a seating chart.
Step 6. Set a rough timeline, for example:
- Start with a meet & greet where everyone can be welcomed and mingle
- End with the bride & groom thanking everyone- and reminding everyone of necessary time schedules for the wedding day!
There you have it, simple steps to help organize and plan your rehearsal dinner. Leave a comment below with any tips and tricks you have up your sleeve!