Planning The Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

A wedding rehearsal dinner helps introduce family and friends before the upcoming wedding. Read on for details on speeches, toasts, and proper etiquette on invitations.

Whether the wedding will be big or small, casual or black-tie formal, the rehearsal dinner is an important part of most nuptials. It invites close relatives, the wedding party, and the bride and groom to come together and celebrate shortly before the wedding, as well as offering the perfect time to make toasts and speeches to those nearest and dearest to the couple.

What is a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the bride and groom’s families to sit down to a meal together before the big wedding day. Wedding rehearsal dinners may include everyone in the wedding party as well as out-of-town guests, or they can be small and intimate with just the couple’s parents and siblings.

There’s no rule that says every couple has to have a rehearsal dinner before the wedding, but it is a friendly tradition that eases everyone into the spirit of the occasion and encourages the parents of the bride and groom to mingle and talk in an intimate setting.

Organizing, hosting, and paying for the rehearsal dinner is usually the responsibility of the groom’s parents, although in some cases, the bride’s parents or the bride and groom might arrange the dinner themselves. Depending on personal taste and budget, the rehearsal dinner can vary from a casual pizza night at home to an extravagant banquet meal at a hotel.

Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

There’s no rule when it comes to sending out rehearsal dinner invitations, either, although there are a few guidelines that are wise to follow. There’s no requirement to send out formal invitations at all – but if there are going to be plenty of out-of-town relatives and friends attending, rehearsal dinner invitations can help prevent the host from being bombarded with calls at the last minute for directions or timing.

Rehearsal dinner invitations can be formally printed on the same stationery as the wedding invites, or they may be handwritten or printed from a home computer on more casual stationary. There’s no need to blow the bank on these invites.

Speeches and Toasts at the Rehearsal Dinner

Traditionally, the parents of the groom (or the hosts) will make short speeches or give start a round of toasts. Rehearsal dinner toasts can be as long or as short as the bride and groom – and their family – would like. There’s no obligation to toast forever, but it’s nice to observe family tradition in this matter. For those who don’t wish to say anything but fear, they will be forced to speak, make sure to say something brief, sincere, and from the heart.

Rehearsal Dinner Favors

Some couples take the opportunity of the rehearsal dinner to thank the friends and relatives who have been instrumental in helping them plan the wedding. They may cut the budget on the meal itself by serving a barbeque at home but give gift bags of wedding favors to family and friends to express their gratitude.

However a couple chooses to celebrate their marriage, the rehearsal dinner can be a good time to relax on the eve of the wedding and appreciate where they are in their lives and the people who have helped them arrive there.