Perhaps not surprisingly, the history of the wedding rehearsal dinner is a bit vague and is not something found as part of weddings in bygone years. That said, it has become a part of weddings today. This is likely in part due to couples having pictures, videos, etc. as a part of the wedding and wanting the wedding party to know where to stand, and when to do what.

The wedding rehearsal is also often seen as a great way for the family and friends of the couple to interact and have fun before the ceremony. As such, you want the event to be flexible and low maintenance – especially compared to the amount of effort that has gone into the wedding day! To help make your rehearsal dinner the pleasurable event you need it to be, here are a few tips for planning your dinner.

Tips for Planning the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner

Who is hosting?

Although the rehearsal dinner was once considered the responsibility of the groom’s family, the is no longer the case. Today’s dinners may take the traditional route, or it may be the couple themselves, friends, both families, or any other scenario that works for the couple.

Who is attending the rehearsal dinner?

In the past, this gathering comprised the wedding officiant, the wedding party, and the parents-and perhaps grandparents- of the couple. However, many couples today extend the invitation to others close to them (especially if that person may not be able to attend the wedding!).

Do you send invitations for the wedding rehearsal dinner?

It is not a requirement to send physical invitations, but it would be good to send an e-vite, save the date or extend a personal invitation. Perhaps the more critical thing is to have a list of invitees and be sure to keep it up to date with how many have confirmed they are coming so you can give the caterer a solid number when the time comes.

When to secure a venue?

Like other elements of a wedding, the sooner you can secure the date and location the better. Typically, the rehearsal dinner is held the evening before the wedding but some couples may need to have it earlier due to scheduling needs.

What should you serve?

If you plan on having the dinner catered then your biggest challenge is securing the restaurant or catering service and choosing the menu items. Again, this does need to be planned ahead so the sooner you can get this booked the better. If you are having out-of-town guests, you might want to feature local cuisine, but again, there are no rules regarding this.

What to say?

The rehearsal dinner is a great time to share any last-minute details regarding the wedding, but it is also a time to have fun with both roasting and toasting the couple. It is the perfect opportunity for the couple to speak to the wedding party and thank them for being a part of their big day.

 Are gifts given at the rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is a great time to present the gifts to members of your wedding party, especially if those gifts are something to be worn at the wedding. However, it is -usually- not a time when the couple opens wedding gifts.

As with every other part of your wedding, the rehearsal will take some planning but don’t stress. The Gala Facility team is no stranger to parties and can help you put together the perfect rehearsal diner. Be sure to talk to one of our Gala event planners if you have questions.