You and your beloved will get married later this year, and needless to say, you’ve been incredibly busy planning your big day. In fact, you’re so focused on the ceremony and reception that you must admit to having a brief moment of panic last week when your BFF asked you where the rehearsal dinner will take place.
No worries at all. Compared to planning the main event, the rehearsal dinner is not as time-consuming nor a cause for concern. Having said that, it’s a good idea to get a handle on what it is, who should be invited, when it will take place, and where it should happen.
So, without further ado, let’s get busy putting your mind at ease with some rehearsal dinner basics:
What is the Rehearsal Dinner?
As its name implies, the rehearsal dinner takes place right after or the night of the wedding rehearsal. Even if you’re planning a casual ceremony, it’s still a good idea to gather everyone in the wedding party together at the actual location. From there, you can practice walking down the aisle and figure out where everyone will stand amongst other important details. During the dinner, couples will traditionally hand out gifts to their wedding party and/or their parents, and the groom’s cake is often served for dessert.
Who Gets to Attend?
In addition to you and your fiancé, the rehearsal dinner usually includes the wedding party, immediate family members, the officiant, and out-of-town guests who have traveled quite a distance to attend your wedding. Your adorable flower girl and ring bearer can also be invited, along with their parents. If you’re planning a larger affair with lots of attendants, your rehearsal dinner may be a pretty good-sized crowd. One easy way to invite people to the event is to add an insert card along with their wedding invitation that lets them know about the rehearsal dinner.
When is It Held?
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner takes place the evening before the day of your wedding. You might meet at the vineyard or house of worship where you’re getting married around 5 p.m., practice the I Do’s and figure out who stands where, and then you can all head to wherever the dinner will take place (more on this later). However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and there’s no reason why this event can’t be a rehearsal brunch or lunch. Let’s say several people in your wedding party have to work that evening and you know your young flower girl will fade by 7 p.m. If that’s the case, you can schedule the rehearsal for earlier in the morning and then meet for a festive luncheon or brunch buffet.
Where is It?
The short answer to this question is: wherever you and your fiancé would like. Some couples choose a favorite eatery — the only tip here is to be sure the place can accommodate a large crowd and that you call ahead to reserve tables. Or, you can host a backyard barbecue or even a much more formal affair in a fancy restaurant. If you’re opting for a restaurant, it’s a good idea to make reservations well ahead of time so you can include the address on your invitations.
Relax and Enjoy the Festivities
By the time you arrive at your rehearsal dinner, all of the pre-wedding planning should be done. This means you and your sweetie can sit back, relax, and enjoy a great meal with some of your closest family and friends, which, after all of your hard work, you definitely deserve. Congratulations!