Weddings are preceded by an unimaginable list of things to do– from finding the perfect dress, to picking unique centerpieces for the dining tables, and finalizing a guest list, there seem to be a ton of details that need to be covered. (Thankfully, for our Serendipity brides, we are here to help guide our couples during this busy time!) Who says the rehearsal dinner has to be boring and just “practice’ for the big event? Consider all the wedding festivities a series of unique events leading up to the Big Day, and make the rehearsal dinner a no-stress event and more than just an evening of practice. Here are our top ten tips for achieving the best rehearsal dinner:
1) Don’t stress if you are not able to have the rehearsal diner the night before the wedding. In fact, we like to recommend having the rehearsal dinner two nights before the wedding. This gives the bride and groom some breathing room and time to become well rested before the wedding date, and perhaps even squeeze in some spa time?
2) Set the party time to start after the walk-through for the ceremony (the practice ceremony should take about an hour) but don’t worry if you are not able to arrive promptly on time. Guests will understand if you are a little late tying up loose ends. Set a point person that is not in the wedding like an outgoing Aunt to greet guests as they arrive in case you are not able be there right on time.
3) Guest list can be as short, or as long as you’d like. Traditionally the party should include the entire wedding party and their spouses (kids optional), immediate family, and any guests who have come in from out of town for the wedding. Aside from that, you are free to invite any one else you’d like; extended family, close friends can be welcome. Also, this is a great time to offer guests aside from bridesmaids and groomsmen to give toasts since the rehearsal dinner is more relaxed and less scheduled.
4) In most cases, the groom’s parents are expected to cover the costs of a rehearsal dinner as the bride’s family usually picks up the tab for the wedding. However, in today’s wedding world, etiquette is changing and often the bride and groom are chipping in for wedding costs where possible. When this is the case, it is acceptable to ask both sets of parents to chip in for the rehearsal dinner costs as well.
5) So what happens at rehearsal dinner? There are no major formalities with rehearsal dinners. Essentially it is way for the bride and groom to thank the wedding party and host out of town guests for the evening. Often family members may compose childhood pictures of the bride and groom, and close friends and families may tell a few stories about the couple. (See number 3) But it really gives the families a chance to know one another better and have some time together before the Big Day.
6) If there are traditions being included on the wedding day that represent the bride’s family, the rehearsal dinner is a good chance for the groom’s family to incorporate their traditions. For example, if the wedding is going to include Pisco sours and ceviche to represent the bride’s South American roots, have a clambake to showcase the groom’s Northeastern background.
7) Since the guest list is smaller, and there is nothing more needed besides great food, tasty drinks and a pleasant place socialize, rehearsal dinners can be hosted nearly anywhere! A catered barbeque in a friend’s backyard, a bowling alley, wine tasting room, the couple’s favorite restaurant, a local brewery, or art galleries are just a few ideas.
8) The wedding is (sometimes) all about the bride, so let the groom have a little limelight during the rehearsal dinner. Serve his favorite beers or drinks, and have fun with a groom’s cake, traditionally served for dessert at the rehearsal dinner. A great wedding cake baker can make a cake into nearly anything, from the groom’s favorite ball stadium, to a car/motorcycle, cigar boxes, favorite liquor bottles, or famous landmarks. Get creative and give the guests and groom something to laugh at toward the end of the evening.
9) Don’t worry about showing appreciation with rehearsal dinner favors. The guests invited will be at the wedding where favors are more traditionally offered and no one will think twice if there are not favors for a rehearsal dinner. Instead, offer out-of-town guests maps to the city and list of local favorites to help them get around town.
10) Relax and rest! The Big Day is almost here. Rehearsal dinners are meant to be easy and no-fuss. No worries about things not going perfectly, after all it is just the “rehearsal” for wedding. (And please try not to stress about that either!)
Look for a follow up Serendipity Blog covering, what else…the wedding!