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The Rehearsal Dinner

Your Rehearsal Dinner takes place after the wedding rehearsal run-through (usually the day before) to thank your wedding party for their participation in your big day.

It can be as formal or relaxed as you wish, and offer a night for both families to mingle and relax, before the formality of the big day.

Four to Five Months Before

Book the Venue While traditionally, it’s the Groom’s family who hosts the rehearsal dinner, you’ll still need to offer options and be comfortable with the arrangements. Don't feel constrained to go the restaurant route. A barbeque on a beach or a trip to the bowling alley could be more fun and even more memorable.

Negotiate the costs and the menu If your guest list will be long, consider having cocktails and hors d'oeuvres rather than a full meal – or look into casual, less expensive venue options, like a BYO Italian restaurant or a home-cooked meal.

Three Months Before Enlist those you'd like to have give toasts This will give them time to come up with a speech. Generally, the Father of the Groom speaks first. Then the Best Man or a return toast from the Bride's Father followed by anyone else who wishes to give a toast. You and your husband-to-be may want to toast each other, welcome family and friends and thank you everyone for being there. Usually the Bride chooses to stay mute when it comes to speeches to avoid any anxiety on the day or at the rehearsal.

Check with the venue about audiovisual equipment You, or your friends, may have a slideshow or photos planned as entertainment during the toast. Checking this off three months before the date allows time to create the slideshow and hire any additional equipment you may need.

One Month Before

Mail Invitations The guest list should include the wedding party and their spouses or significant others; the parents, step-parents, grandparents and siblings of the Bride and Groom; and the officiant. Out-of-town guests and close friends and relatives may be added as well. If entree selection is involved, include the choices in the invitation.

Draw up a seating plan You'll probably want both sets of parents (and possibly your Maid of Honour and Best Man) at your table which should be centrally located. Other than that, you can choose to keep families and friends together or mix them up into potentially congenial combinations so they can get acquainted.

Week of the Wedding

Send the final guest count to the venue Typically, companies want to close their lists about 72 hours in advance Make up place cards for the tables It all depends on the formality, but it does lend that little extra pomp and circumstance to the rehearsal meal.