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illustration rehearsal dinner invitation alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
This illustrative rehearsal dinner invite makes us wanna parrrrtayyy!

A rehearsal dinner is like a mini-celebration before your wedding day! Traditionally, the day before the wedding is when you rehearse the wedding ceremony at the venue, then sit down with your loved ones and eat a meal together. But who exactly needs to be there?

Let's get into who to invite to the rehearsal dinner!

But what is a rehearsal dinner? And why do I need one?

Before we talk about who goes to a rehearsal dinner, let's get into what happens at the rehearsal dinner and why! Rehearsal dinners take place the day before your wedding, right after your rehearsal. If you open a dusty wedding etiquette book, it might tell you that a rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted and paid for by the groom's parents. However, we think this celebration should be hosted by anyone who wants to do it!

A rehearsal dinner is a way to say thank you to everyone who helped you plan the wedding, such as your wedding party or other loved ones. It's also a great opportunity for family members from either side to get to know each other in a more chill setting (as opposed to shouting over loud music at the wedding reception).

Rehearsal dinners are also where the soonlyweds can make toasts in a low-key setting. This might be helpful if either marrier has anxiety with speaking in front of large groups of people. Sharing toasts at your rehearsal dinner can take the pressure off since it's in a more intimate setting in front of people you trust.

We've also seen rehearsal dinners as a place for guests to share speeches too! If you're on a strict timeline at your actual wedding reception, you can use your rehearsal dinner as an opportunity for guests who can't speak at the wedding reception to make a speech there!

So, Who Goes to the Rehearsal Dinner?

People in Your Wedding Party

The first people on your rehearsal dinner guest list should be anyone in your wedding party: Bridesmaids/Bridespeople, Groomsmen/Groomsfolk, Man of Honor/Person of Honor, Best Man/Best Woman…You get it! After all, everyone in your wedding party is likely someone you enjoy breaking bread with.

Loved ones helping with your wedding

The next group of people to invite to your rehearsal dinner is anyone who is helping with your wedding, for example, loved ones performing a service. This can be your family friend who is also your officiant, your cousins who are ushers, your college roommate who is doing a reading at your wedding ceremony, or your aunt who did your florals. You can also invite the plus ones of your wedding party too.

Close family members

Close family members doesn't just mean immediate blood-related family! This can pertain to anyone who you consider an important influence in your life. Rehearsals dinners are a great way for everyone to put a face to a name and meet the newest members of their family.

Out-of-Town Guests

If you have guests who've traveled from far away to be part of your wedding celebration, you can show them gratitude with an invite to the rehearsal dinner! Nothing says “I love you and appreciate you” like free food and drinks. Plus, if you know they won't know many people at your wedding, the rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for them to make new friends.

In summary, here's who you should invite to the rehearsal dinner…

Anyone you want! Rehearsal dinners can be an intimate, chill occasion or a raucous, wild pre-party to the wedding day. We've seen rehearsal dinners take place at private rooms in restaurants, backyard potlucks, and even dance clubs. Not only are they a way to say thank you to loved ones who've supported your love, they can act as an opportunity to spend quality time with your favorite people before all the wedding day chaos kicks into high gear. One of the best parts of having a rehearsal dinner is seeing all the different people in your life come together to support you. It's a beautiful and surreal moment. Make sure you give yourself time to take it all in!

Ok, let's plan your rehearsal dinner!

The rehearsal dinner is a fun opportunity for all your favorite people to meet in one place and put faces to names! Need help planning your rehearsal dinner? We've got advice on when, where, and how to do a rehearsal dinner, rehearsal dinner planning tips, and fun themed rehearsal dinners!

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