Let’s talk about the rehearsal dinner, that final party before the big day. Rehearsal parties can be so much fun. It is a time to relax and enjoy your closest friends, before all the drama of the wedding day.
The rehearsal dinner in most cases follows the actual rehearsal (hence the name). I have heard of a few instances of having the dinner first, and then the rehearsal but I don’t recommend it. I am asked the question of how to handle invitations for this event often. “Do you need separate invitations for the actual rehearsal and the actual dinner?” My advice is to send invitations to the rehearsal dinner and in the invitations sent to the wedding party include an extra card with rehearsal details. The card should give the details (time and place) of the actual rehearsal. You only want the absolutely necessary people attending your actual rehearsal. The fewer people, the quicker and easier the rehearsal will go.
Who is invited to the rehearsal dinner is up to you and the hosts. Normally, the hosts are the groom’s parents. It is traditional that all of the wedding party, spouses, and any immediate family attend. It has become the trend in recent years to invite any out of town guests. With the growth of destination weddings, the out of town lists can become quiet large, possibly including everyone. In this case, it is up to the host’s pocketbook how many can attend. If you are not going to be able to accommodate all out of town guests, be sure to give them lists of good places to eat and fun places to visit, so that they do not feel lost in a strange town.
The theme and décor of the evening is up to the hosts and wedding couple. It can be anything from a very formal dinner in a restaurant to a backyard barbeque. The best parties reflect the personalities of the bridal couple. I do suggest doing something that will not compete or over shadow the reception of the wedding. If the reception is going for a formal feel, then have the rehearsal dinner be a much more relaxed atmosphere.
There are not a lot of traditional requirements that must take place at a rehearsal dinner. If you are not planning on having a lot of toasts at the wedding, the rehearsal dinner is a great time for them to take place. The couple should thank their guests for attending and the hosts for the party and everyone for their love and support. It is also a good time to present your attendants with their gifts. You might choose to have dancing at the party or not. It’s a good time to show the video montage or love story of the couple. Whatever is done it should reflect the couple and what they enjoy.
Since the rehearsal dinner normally takes place the night before the wedding, remember to make it an early evening and get plenty of rest for the big day.