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Rehearsal Dinner 101: Who Should Be There and What Should Happen

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Just as any great play or performance needs a final run through before its big debut, every wedding can benefit from a rehearsal dinner. Whether you choose to make it an elaborate soiree or you favor an intimate event with just the necessary guests involved is completely up to your taste and preference, but either way this pre-nuptial affair is a must-have to guarantee that the soon-to-be newlyweds and the wedding party all know where to stand and when to walk when it’s their turn in the spotlight.

While there are no real rules to define exactly how a rehearsal dinner should go (for example, traditionally the groom’s family would host and the dinner would include all out-of-town guests, but nowadays the couple can do the honors themselves or both families can share the responsibility and the guest list is more flexible), there are a few guidelines that’ll help you plan and execute it easily. Let’s start with the basics.

The aforementioned rehearsal and the dinner that follows typically happen on the day before the wedding; however, “be sure to put a start and end time on the invitation so that everyone can get recharged for the big day,” says Phyllis Jablonowski, CEO of Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants and Eventricity. As for the guest list, at the bare minimum the wedding party and immediate families of both the bride and groom should be present. If you’re aiming for a larger crowd, you can go as far as to extend the invitation to out-of-town guests, friends, and other family members as well.

Regardless of if you decide to go the formal or informal route for your rehearsal dinner—a casual backyard get together works just as well as dining at a country club or local restaurant—you’ll want to notify your guests of the time and place. This can go one of multiple ways: you can include the rehearsal dinner information as part of the wedding invitation suite, send it out separately as its own invitation, or keep it simple with an email or evite. All are viable options depending on your personal style and preference.

Lastly, you may be wondering what else—beside rehearsing and eating—goes down at a rehearsal dinner. This is the ideal time for everyone to relax before the ceremony and to have guests get to know each other if they have yet to meet. “This is also the place for many toasts and roasts to happen so that everyone can participate and enjoy while keeping the wedding reception toasts to a minimum allowing more time for partying,” says Jablonowski. The couple can also take this opportunity to hand out gifts to their wedding party.

Should you still need some assistance in the rehearsal dinner department, let the team at Eventricity be your guide. For more information, visit eventricity.net.