The tradition of the groom's parents hosting the rehearsal dinner is going the way of a lot of traditions: out the door.
Some grooms have no parents, sometimes the bride's parents handle it, sometimes the couples themselves handle it, and sometimes there isn't a groom in the equation at all! When it comes to offbeat weddings, sometimes folks forgo the rehearsal dinner entirely.
In this post, we're going to talk through logistics if you're planning the rehearsal dinner yourself or want to help those who are planning it. Ready? Let's get to the rehearsal dinner planning tips!
Figure out your intent
A rehearsal dinner is usually a time to feed the masses who are involved in the wedding after the actual ceremony rehearsal. So that's a given. Let's put some grub in their gobs.
It's also a time to thank anyone you want to thank, introduce guests who don't know each other, and do some pre-wedding mingling since the day-of can be a gauntlet of mingling. Get your intentions in order to make sure you reserve time for any special speeches or greetings.
Who's paying for this shindig?
If you're going the traditional route, feel free to check in with the groom's parents (…if there is a groom! Otherwise, check in with the parents who are contributing less to the wedding budget.) They may be counting on having something to plan or contribute, and may be very willing to take it on.
Otherwise, include the rehearsal dinner into your own budget, and see if anyone volunteers. This is definitely one of those situations where you'll take your cue from the rest of your wedding budget.
Who are you inviting?
Traditionally, rehearsal dinners were meant for the wedding party and close family members, but in many cases, there are minimum guest counts to meet depending on the venue.
This means you can invite more guests than you anticipated, and you can expand the list to out-of-town guests who may need some entertaining. If you're hosting the dinner yourself or at your home, feel free to keep it as small as you like but check in with any close friends/family who may be expecting an invite despite not being in your wedding party.
Choosing a venue
If you're having a local wedding, consider choosing a favorite spot of yours to host the dinner. The requirements for a rehearsal dinner are usually far less than a reception venue, so you can go a little more offbeat in your choice, especially when it comes to food. If you're going for a restaurant or catering, consider a cuisine that's a little less traditional since there are fewer expectations upfront: tapas bar, small plates, dim sum, a food truck, picnic at your favorite park, barbecue or pizza at your own house… don't feel too constrained.
Toasts or mingling or both?
If you give guests the opportunity to toast, they'll usually take it. Decide if you want toasts and who will make them ahead of time if you want to leave lots of time for mingling. Otherwise, you can absolutely embrace the toast culture and let lots of folks take you down the nostalgic rabbit hole. It can be a fun way to go.
The rehearsal dinner is a great time to give any gifts out to your wedding crew and family members. Don't feel pressured to provide favors at the rehearsal dinner. It's definitely not a must-have custom and can feel like overkill.
Keep the timeline as short as you like, probably no more than three hours, so that everyone can get lots of sleep and nobody's too tempted to make a long night of it.
Who's hosting your rehearsal dinner? Share this post with them!