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The Bride’s Survival Guide: How to Plan a Rehearsal Dinner

With the following tips, you will be able to prepare a memorable rehearsal dinner. For many couples, a rehearsal dinner is a full event but there is no need to get stressed out about planning yours.

It happens 24 hours before you tie the knot, with all your family and friends around, making it the perfect time to throw a party.  When planning for it, the following tips will ensure that you get it right.

  • Decide on the host: When it comes to a rehearsal dinner etiquette and history, traditionally, the parents of the groom are the ones who take care of the rehearsal dinner while the wedding payment is taken care of by the bride’s parents.

Nowadays things are a bit flexible. With both parents sharing the wedding costs, you and your fiancé can decide to pay for the rehearsal dinner. Talk with your parents and your partner and get the way forward.

  • Keep it casual: It is best if you keep the rehearsal dinner casual; low key and relaxed while at the same time adding in memorable touches. If you have a family member or a friend who is willing to let you host it in their homes, you can decide for an outdoor event. You also have the option of going for a garden patio.

To ensure that it doesn’t outdo the wedding, having a casual rehearsal dinner will relieve any pressure in guests who are meeting each other for the first time. You can also decide on a dress code. To ensure that there is a conversation among guests, you can go for open seating instead of going for the style of assigning tables.

  • Choose a theme that is fun to those present: The best way to kick off the wedding weekend is to ensure that you go for a theme during your dinner rehearsal. You have the option of building the party around the cultural background or go with the theme of the wedding location.
    • Seaside soiree: Clams and lobster at the sunset on the beach makes an informal and low key treat. Add to it a bonfire for a sweet ending.
    • Outdoor barbeque: A game of softball combined with a grilled feast is inexpensive, easy to prepare, and relaxed for groups whether large or small.
    • Taco night: You can opt for this fun option which will ensure that things are kept casual. Utilize a food truck for your rehearsal dinner and ask them to serve your local favorites.
    • First date celebration: It is possible that the place was romantic and it inspired both of you. You can allow the same spirit to be witnessed during your rehearsal dinner. Set it at the same venue as your first date and name the tables after your favorite pastimes.
  • Pick a unique location: When the party is hosted in a unique setting, it will give a different feel to the occasion. Go for venues such as a beer garden, bowling, winery, or a casual barbeque in a local park.

You can decide to go to a local restaurant since the staff will be able to handle every aspect of the rehearsal dinner in the evening, from the menu to cocktails including music. As far as decorations are concerned, you have to remember that this is not a wedding reception so there is no need for centerpieces and linen.

If you are on the beach, or in a cool backyard, you might require some minimum decoration which might help you with your overall budget. Go for simple décor and pops of color where necessary.

  • Create the list of guests: The list will typically include anyone who is participating in the wedding including the officiant, family members plus the spouses. You should also invite out of town guests. If you find that you have a long list, you can reduce costs by going for cocktails and desserts only instead of a full meal.
  • Consider the timing: The normal timing for a rehearsal dinner is the night before the wedding and mostly on a Friday. It normally starts at 5.30 pm and lasts for about 45 minutes.

The dinner happens immediately after the rehearsal at around 7 pm. If the wedding is going to be held on a holiday or Sunday, there are several options before you; meaning, you can hold it two nights before the wedding to allow people time to relax before the big day.

  • Think of the menu: You can host dinner at your favorite restaurant to make everything easier for you. You are assured of top-notch food from the start. If you decide on a different venue, then you ensure that what is served is hometown favorites. This is very true especially if you want your guest to taste your local cuisine.


Photo by

Fabio Sangregorio


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