Your wedding year is filled with so many special events, from your engagement party to your bridal shower to your wedding celebration itself. Another event you’ll likely be including is the wedding rehearsal dinner. This pre-wedding celebration is the perfect way to celebrate with your most beloved people before your big day. The dinner follows the ceremony rehearsal, and chances are, you want it to be meaningful. Take a look at these wedding rehearsal dinner ideas to ensure you have the most spectacular night.
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 101
A wedding rehearsal dinner happens the night (or a few nights) before the wedding. The dinner typically follows a run-through of the ceremony. It’s often the final pre-wedding event and is a chance for the wedding party to gather and kick off the wedding weekend. It’s an opportunity for the couple to spend time with their closest loved ones before the excitement and chaos of the big day. One or both sets of parents may choose to give a toast, and the couple will often thank everyone for coming and being part of their special day.
Is a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Necessary?
Having a wedding rehearsal dinner isn’t mandatory, but it’s a great way to enjoy the company of your wedding party before your big bash. It’s also helpful to run through the ceremony so everyone knows what they should be doing the day of the wedding. If you’re having a small wedding with no wedding party, it’s probably not necessary to have a rehearsal dinner. However, if your celebration and wedding party is on the larger side, the ceremony can be quite chaotic without clear direction. If you’re not planning to do a dinner, it’s beneficial to at least set aside some time in the days leading up to the wedding to rehearse the ceremony.
When Does the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Take Place?
Traditionally, the wedding rehearsal dinner takes place the night before the wedding, however, you can choose to do it anytime in the week leading up to your wedding. This completely depends on your schedule. Since you want the ceremony rehearsal to be fresh in everyone’s mind, the closer you can do it to the wedding, the better.
Who Hosts the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?
While it used to be customary for the groom’s parents to plan and host the rehearsal dinner, times have changed. For one thing, same sex marriages are much more common, so there may not be a groom in the wedding, or there may be two grooms. Couples are more likely to pay for their weddings these days and often want a say in the rehearsal dinner. It can be the couple themselves who host the dinner, either of the couple’s parents, or a mix of all of the above. It really depends on your budget and how the budget has been agreed to be divided between the families.
Who Should Be Invited to the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?
The rehearsal dinner guest list should be fairly limited, and not to be confused with a wedding welcome party, where everyone is included. Invite everyone who’s part of the wedding ceremony, including parents, the wedding party, flower girls, ring bearers, ushers, and readers. You can also consider any immediate relatives such as grandparents or aunt or uncles you’re close with. It’s also a nice gesture to invite the wedding party plus-ones.
8 Meaningful Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas
1. Location-Inspired Menu
Take inspiration from the location of the wedding and draw on local tastes and flavours. If you’re having a New Orleans wedding, make sure to have po-boys and beignets on the menu. Getting married on a vineyard or in a refurbished barn? Consider a laid-back BBQ or your favourite food trucks. Or maybe you’re having a coastal bash. Lobster rolls and a seafood boil is the way to go!
2. Include a Photo Op
Everyone loves to take photos. A photo op ensures you get great photos of the night and gives your guests something fun to do. Whether it’s polaroid photos guests can stick in a guestbook, a vintage photo booth, or a floral installation they can pose in front of, a photo op will add a dose of fun to the night!
3. Wedding Party Gifts
If you’re planning to give your wedding party presents to thank them for being part of your big day, your rehearsal dinner is the perfect time to do this. It allows you to share a sweet moment with each of your loved ones to give them a personalized gift. Your wedding day can get very hectic, so the rehearsal dinner is a great time to do this.
4. Start a Bonfire
A bonfire can be a great addition to the night- light it up once everyone’s finished eating. If it’s a cooler night, make sure to provide your guests with blankets so you can comfortably sit around the fire chatting. You can also offer a s’mores station as a sweet treat to cap off the night.
5. Incorporate a Grazing Table
Food will be at the centre of the event, and a grazing table is a fun, aesthetically pleasing alternative to passed appetizers. Fill it with everyone’s favourite foods, from meats and cheeses, to olives, spreads, grapes, crackers, and even mini sandwiches. This works really well if you’re throwing more of a cocktail style dinner, or in advance of a sit down meal.
6. Pick a Theme
Themes can be a total hit, when they’re done right. A theme party that encapsulates you and your partner is an excellent way to kick off your wedding weekend! Get inspired by films or eras you love, your wedding’s location, or trips you’ve taken. You could do anything from a retro 70s theme, to a western bash, to an Italy-inspired celebration. Ask your guests to dress on theme and make sure your decor hits the mark!
7. Make it an Experience
There are plenty of ways to make your rehearsal dinner interactive and provide entertainment. Your guests are sure to appreciate the experience! Think: a tarot card reader, DIY cocktail station, or a portrait artist. These activities set the tone of the event and encourage conversation among guests!
8. Highlight a Special Treat
Leave your guests with a sweet taste in their mouth by ending the night with a special treat. A gourmet cotton candy bar is one option, as is a fiesta-themed churro bar, where guests can dunk and decorate their own churros in their choice of glaze and toppings. An ice cream sandwich bar will also always be a hit!
We hope this cleared up any questions you had about wedding rehearsal dinners and gave you some inspiration!
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