Rehearsal dinners have evolved into full-blown events – but there is no need to stress about planning your own, or think that it will be nearly as elaborate as your wedding. Even though it stands to be more informal, it is no reason to think offering great food and beverage at an interesting venue is any less important. Organize a rehearsal dinner almost effortlessly by following these nine simple steps.
1. Decide who is hosting.
Decades old traditional places the cost of the wedding on the bride and the rehearsal dinner on the groom, but these days anything goes. If both sets of parents are sharing the costs of the wedding, then perhaps you and your fiancé may want to pay for the rehearsal dinner.
2. Consider Casual
More and more couples are opting to keep the rehearsal dinner relaxed and low-key. A casual dinner will loosen up guests who are meeting for the first time. Promote the casual vibe by offering a buffet or stations that guests can visit at their own pace.
3. Choose a Fun Theme
There is nothing wrong with wanting to host a cocktail party with heavy hors d’oeuvre for a rehearsal dinner. More and more couples are opting for this option. Although some still want to provide a fun theme to help kickoff the wedding weekend. Rehearsal dinners are a great time to build off of a couple’s cultural background or take advantage of the local flair of the area such as a brewery. Keep your focus and theme based around the menu such as offering your favorite Latin fare or a seafood feast.
4. Pick a Perfect Spot
The ability to use a unique venue or personalizing a space so it truly represents the couple is becoming a standard want in the event world. Using a unique location gives the celebration a different feel. Of course there are standard options such as a restaurant, but these spaces often create a boxed in and overly structured feel.
5. Create the Guest List
Close family members and anyone participating in the wedding ceremony, plus their spouses or dates, are usually the non-negotiable guests. Although it is also considerate to invite out-of-town guests to the festivities, which can truly turn an ordinary rehearsal dinner into a truly memorable rehearsal dinner party.
Most weddings are held on Saturdays, turning Friday into the popular rehearsal night. Considering that most rehearsals will happen on a week day, it is important to plan the rehearsal and the dinner at a time that is reasonable enough for guests to get out of work and then join you. Ceremony rehearsals usually begin between 5:00 and 6:00pm with the dinner following directly after around 7:00pm. The rehearsal itself can often last anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
7. Say Hi
Every party deserves a great toast. It acts as a focal point of the fun and can even help further motivate the celebration. It’s customary for the host to welcome guests at the beginning of the party, but because the atmosphere of a rehearsal dinner tends to be more relaxed, some guests may want to stand and say a few words about the couple. If the couple is not hosting the rehearsal, it’s expected for them to publicly thank the hosts as well as friends and family.
8. Give Gifts
This step is optional. If you and your fiancé have agreed to give gifts to your wedding party, as well as to your parents, the rehearsal dinner is an inviting time to do so. There isn’t the hustle and bustle of the wedding day to get in the way of taking the proper time to appreciate the love and support being given. There is no rule saying this must happen at the rehearsal dinner, but it helps make the wedding day a little easier.
Image via Google via Oh So Beautiful Paper
9. Friendly Reminders
Even with a night filled with fun and laughter important announcements should be made. Take a moment to slip in any last minute reminders about the wedding day. Use the time to verify that everyone in the wedding party knows where to be and what to bring the following day. If you have a large audience, remind guests about any activities the following day such as a brunch or fun things to do around town before the ceremony and reception. This is also a wonderful opportunity to discuss any transportation you’ve arranged including pickup times and locations for shuttles to get guests or the wedding party to and from the wedding ceremony and reception.
The 48 hours leading up to the wedding might seem the most busy as everyone is doting over last minute details and making sure everything is in place. Consider hiring a caterer to take care of your food and beverage, and hosting outside of your home so you don’t have to contend with clean up. Months are spent planning and everything is over in an instant. Like your wedding, your rehearsal will dash by in a flash if you don’t take the time to appreciate and enjoy the moment.