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Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

It is the eve of your wedding and all the planning is complete, which means it is time for your rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner for your wedding provides you with a chance to relax with your nearest and dearest before the excitement follows for the big day - it is also a wonderful opportunity to thank your wedding party for their participation in your big day. Keep reading for everything you need to know about your pre-wedding soiree.

When Is It?

Typically rehearsal dinners take place the night prior to the wedding and after the wedding rehearsal although, it can take place whenever suits you best. Despite its name, it could also be a rehearsal lunch or brunch – these are often more informal.

Wedding Rehearsal

Prior to the dinner taking place, all that are involved in the ceremony should attend the wedding rehearsal. The wedding rehearsal will involve a walk through of the ceremony to establish timing and to ensure everyone knows his or her own responsibilities. We recommend having copies of ceremony programs for the rehearsal so that everyone can easily follow along with what is happening.

Who Is Invited?

The people that are needed at the rehearsal dinner include the bride and groom, their parents, the wedding party, the officiant and anyone who may be doing any readings. Although, many couples also choose to invite grandparents and other immediate family members, close friends and anyone who has travelled from out of town as a way of making the dinner also a welcoming party.

The Hosts

Traditionally, general etiquette says that the groom’s parents should host the rehearsal dinner. Although, with modern times couples often decide to plan and pay for the event themselves or, sometimes the parents of both the bride and groom will arrange the planning and payment between themselves. Whoever hosts the rehearsal dinner should always keep in mind the desires of the bride and groom and communicate with them to avoid any conflict or misunderstandings.

Location And Style

The rehearsal dinner can be anything from a formal dinner to a casual outdoor event - these aspects often largely depend on the guest list and budget. Couples often opt for a restaurant although, a casual backyard barbeque is a great option too. The style of the rehearsal dinner often compliments the wedding – although be careful not to overshadow it. You may want to opt for a complete style contrast with a casual dinner and black tie wedding.

Click here for a timeline on planning your rehearsal dinner.