Regardless of whether or not you have an actual ceremony rehearsal, a rehearsal dinner is a great way to kick off wedding festivities and mingle with some of your guests. Need a little intro on what a rehearsal dinner entails? Here are the basics:
- The Hosts. Traditionally, the groom’s parents hosted (aka paid for) the rehearsal dinner. This still happens, but like many traditions, there’s wiggle room these days. It’s completely acceptable for the couple, the bride’s parents or another friend or relative to take the lead.
- The Timing. A rehearsal dinner is usually held the evening before the wedding but a day or two before works just as well. But be warned! If the dinner is the night before the wedding, make sure the festivities end early. You (and everyone else!) need your beauty sleep.
- The Guest List. This one’s up to you. Sometimes rehearsal dinners are just for the wedding party and the couple’s parents. Nowadays, the guest list has gotten a little larger – and thus the event has become more casual. If you can swing it, it’s nice to invite to any out-of-towners to extend some extra hospitality for those that have traveled.
- The Venue. No need to overcomplicate things here. Restaurants, hotels and clubs are all great options for the rehearsal dinner because things like food, staff and furnishings will already be in place. If they’re willing, a relative may be able to host a small rehearsal dinner (think a dozen guests or fewer) in their home without dealing with catering, rentals, etc.
- The Invites. The timing depends. If most guests won’t be traveling, you can send the invitations one month before the wedding. Otherwise, guests should have at least two to three months notice so they can make travel arrangements accordingly. You can always include an enclosure card detailing the rehearsal dinner with your wedding invite.
In general, rehearsal dinners should be relatively low stress. Save all those nerves for the big day itself!