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Planning the Rehearsal Dinner

in Pre-Wedding Events
Salad course is served at an upscale Italian restaurant.

Of all of the potential pre-wedding events that couples typically plan, the rehearsal dinner is arguably the most common get together associated with the big day. Its function is twofold: to celebrate the following day’s wedding with a more intimate gathering of just the closest family and friends, and, as a nice tie-in event to follow the ceremony rehearsal which normally takes place the day before the wedding.

The rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents, but it is also common for both sets of parents to host the event, or for the bride and groom to do so themselves. Whatever the decision, the rehearsal dinner event should be planned just like any other pre-wedding party – with attention to the little things and with an organized plan so as not to leave out any important details.

rehearsal dinner venue

Once the date and time of the rehearsal dinner is known, the next key decision you’ll need to make is venue. Many couples and families opt to hold the dinner at a favorite restaurant in the area, but you might also consider a less traditional option such as a dinner cruise, festive cookout at home, or any other type of themed event that holds special meaning for you or your family.

If you are considering more than one venue as you narrow down your choices, be sure to jot down some key information on each option including the contact person’s name, phone number, email address, and website, as well as whether the venue has a private dining room, any special decor options, or other requirements you may need (for example, a projection screen if you plan to feature a video or slide show during the event.)

some final planning ideas

Depending on how formal you decide to make the rehearsal dinner, you may want to consider sending formal invitations out to your invited guests, being sure to include a reply card for RSVPs, any meal choices, and other enclosures including one for venue address and directions. For less formal events, an invitation via email is perfectly acceptable.

Other final items to consider are whether you anticipate needing a formal seating plan for the dinner (which should be planned ahead of time), any planned speeches from the bride or groom’s parents or other family members, and whether you will be distributing any gifts to loved ones during the dinner (this is a common time at which to present gifts to your parents, bridesmaids or groomsmen.)