How Do You Structure a Rehearsal Dinner?

Out of all other wedding traditions, the best one is planning. From seating arrangements to catering, wedding attire, wedding bouquet, bartender, DJ, decor, etc. Planning for a wedding is pretty tiresome; you two must be so exhausted from all the planning. Now it’s time you two get relaxed and have some little quality time with those who care about you.

A dinner to relax, enjoy and cherish your love for each other with your loved ones. According to an old tradition, the rehearsal dinner used to be arranged by the groom’s parents. It was given to honor the parents and guests of the bride. But now it’s more of the couple thing; they decide who’s invited and what to serve at dinner, etc.

What Is a Rehearsal Dinner?

What Is a Rehearsal Dinner

A rehearsal dinner is a practice dinner held right before your wedding. It allows you and your families to have fun and family time alone. It is usually held the night before the wedding. Where all the immediate family members and your closest friends sit together. In this way, everyone can enjoy the spirit of your lovely union. The families get together and practice all wedding traditions like raising a toast, dinner, aisle on the walk, first dance, etc.

It’s like an unofficial meetup of a couple’s closest ones before the big day.

The History of the Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner table

It’s hard to find the exact evolution of the rehearsal dinners. But it gained more popularity in the 1950s as weddings became commercialized. In the older times, marriages used to be about the intimate family and the parents of the bride and groom. Due to social media awareness, wedding planning is one of the most expensive and challenging jobs. People like to flaunt and share every detail of their life with their followers. A rehearsal dinner is for the bride and groom’s family and close friends, where they all celebrate.

Who Attends the Rehearsal Dinner?

Who Attends the Rehearsal Dinner

The immediate family and close friends are crucial to the rehearsal dinner. Invite your bridal party, i-e, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and their spouses. Also, the ring bearer, flower girl, and their parents. Along with the officiant and their spouse.

Apart from your parents and grandparents, ushers and readers are invited to the rehearsal dinner. Everyone at the rehearsal dinner must be invited to the wedding too. Generally, it’s preferred to invite only those people who are very close to the bride and groom. But it’s ultimately the bride and groom’s job to decide who will get an invitation to the rehearsal dinner.

What Time Should the Wedding Rehearsal Start?

Wedding Rehearsal table decorations

Inviting only immediate family members, close friends, and some guests from out of town is advisable to attend your wedding.

Inform guests around four to six weeks before planning your rehearsal dinner, so they can easily manage to accompany your dinner.

If you’re planning a weekend wedding like, Saturday, or Sunday, prepare your rehearsal dinner before the wedding date. This way, you and your partner can enjoy the jokes, music, dance, delicious dinner, etc.

It’s a way for the couple to thank all the guests who eagerly participated and helped the bride and groom on their big day.

Don’t make it too late; you or your partner must stay late. Remember, tomorrow will be a wedding, and to run everything smoothly, you must have a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t always have to be dinner; it could be a family lunch or a brunch. The primary aim of the bride and groom is to get together and thank everyone. The couple gets to enjoy various traditions like a video of a couple, speeches by friends, gifts for guests, etc.

Best Place for the Rehearsal Dinner

Best Place for the Rehearsal Dinner

Where you want to give your rehearsal dinner depends upon your budget and your guest lists. If it’s an intimate event, consider it in the backyard of your home. You could thank all your friends and family for showing their support and helping you out with all the wedding chores. If it’s a vast number, then go for a venue where you and your significant other would bear the costs equally.

Usually, the couple decides to have the rehearsal dinner at a place somewhat related to their relationship.

A place that gave them a beautiful memory. A place where they could sit with their loved ones and could cherish all the moments.

Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?

According to tradition, if the couple is heterosexual, the groom’s parents would pay for the rehearsal dinner. Another name for the rehearsal dinner is the groom’s dinner. But now weddings are much more modernized, and the bride and groom pay for all expenses equally. After all, an average US couple spent 1900 $ on rehearsal dinners solely.

Steps for Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner venue

It’s the time when you see who truly loves you and how happy they are for you. Have it in an enclosed space with only your loved ones and your other half, cherishing your union. Where you share jokes, practice wedding toast, eat yummy dinner, and enjoy a mini marriage before the big day. But how you’re going to plan it? We’ve got some essential etiquette and some creative ideas to follow for your rehearsal dinner.

  1. Decide the host:

According to tradition, the groom’s parents host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. That is why it’s also called the groom’s dinner. Times are changed; today, the bride and groom split the costs; thus, its hosted by the parents of both bride and groom. Decide whatever suits your situation and is feasible for you.

  1. Chose a theme:

Just like the wedding, there is also a theme to be followed for the rehearsal dinner. Choose any theme that goes well with your budget or something related to you. Plan your rehearsal dinner at your backyard barbecue, in a small cafe, or at a beachside party with your loved ones.

  1. Prefer a distinct location:

In every couple’s relationship timeline, there is always a first time. Like these, your first stare, first date, first kiss, etc., there is always a place where you saw and met the love of your life for

the first time. Prefer to choose a location for rehearsal dinner to confess your love in front of all of your guests.

candle holders for table decor
  1. Sort the guest list:

Either you or your spouse must make and finalize the guest’s lits. Who do you want to invite to your event? Make sure you think twice before asking anyone into your intimate event. Also include the bridal party (bridesmaids, officiant, and their respective partners). The flower girl and the ring bearer and their parents. Your friends and their respective dates etc.

  1. Set the time:

Usually, the rehearsal dinner is planned two days before the actual day of the wedding. If the marriage is on Sunday, the rehearsal dinner will be on Friday. Generally, the function lasts about 40-45 minutes, so plan your event accordingly. The most suitable time would be 5:30 so that gust could keep coming and you could officially start the dinner around 6, after the toasts, jokes, and dances. You can serve dinner later.

  1. Decide the menu:

You can quickly determine the menu if you decide to have your event at home or an intimate one. Still, if the number of your guests is enormous and you’ve decided to have dinner at a banquet hall or marquee, it would cost you loads. Plan some city specialty for the outsiders from other towns to attend your wedding. Let your guests enjoy your well-spent delicious meal and talk about it for years.

wedding foods
  1. Keep someone in charge:

Keep a friend of yours, your partner, or a mutual friend watching every guest. At the same time, you are all practicing the speeches and toasting. So keep some charge to pass on the mic. Remember there is very little time for the rehearsal. It’s all about having fun; keep enjoying the roasting and toasting. Cherish, and enjoy this moment, as it’ll never return. You, and your partner, can also write a speech, which you can say to each other once everyone is done with dinner.

  1. Be customized:

We don’t get married every day, so let’s make the best of it by celebrating your union a day before the wedding. While giving your rehearsal dinner, you can personalize the little things. Book a place that reminds you of each other. If you’re planning to gift your guests some giveaways, use a personalized memory of both of you.

  1. Gift your wedding party:

A rehearsal dinner is a perfect time to say anything or give away a gift to someone—especially a wearable item at the wedding. A rehearsal dinner is an ideal time to give away gifts to your guests. You can thank your friends, family, and parents for everything they’ve done for you.

gift for wedding party
  1. Any Last minute messages:

A rehearsal dinner is the best time to remind all the guests about any announcements. Anything they are supposed to bring to the wedding, anyone in charge of arranging your gifts, saving your wedding cake top tier, etc. You can also inform your guests about getting ready on time and reaching before the specific time, especially the bridal party or groomsmen. Inform them there if you’ve arranged some exceptional transportation service to pick up and drop your guests from the hotel to the venue.

  1. Plan games:

A rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding celebration between you and your closest ones. You can make this dinner more festive by hiring a local band or a karaoke machine for more fun. You can plan games, hire a palmist, dance, have a barbecue, etc.

It’s when the bride and groom thank everyone around them, how everyone helped them out in planning their wedding.

games for wedding party
  1. Rehearse:

Rehearsal dinner gives you a chance to rehearse everything you’ve planned for your big day. Many couples try their wedding attire and practice all chores before the big day. How about a little photo session with your wedding photographer? That will help you keep comfortable with your photographer in your wedding attire. It’ll also help you decide what to skip and plan for your wedding day.

  1. Keep it precise:

According to experts, the bride and groom must have a good night’s sleep before the big day. So it’s advised to organize your rehearsal dinner shortly and precisely. Avoid the chance of any mishap and plan it two days before the wedding. Whenever you plan it, plan it short.

wedding shoes
  1. Practice before the big day:

The primary aim of conducting a rehearsal dinner is to rehearse the original wedding. From toasts, speeches, walking the aisle, first dance, cutting the cake, etc.

It’s the best way where you as a couple can make any amendments before the big day arrives. After all, it’s your wedding, and you cannot let anything ruin your big day.

  1. Have fun:

It’s your day; you’ve done much to make the wedding smooth. After taking care of all chores like catering, DJ, videographer, vendors, etc., you two deserve a break. A break where you can sit and relax with your family and friends. Where your guests can express how much happy they are for your union. A day when you should relax and enjoy this moment with your loved ones. Make sure to be done with all last minutes preps and tricks, and enjoy your rehearsal dinner.

flowers centerpiece for table


Wedding planning isn’t about the wedding; it also covers your rehearsal dinner. Which people to invite, what foods to serve, what games to plan, and which band to cover? A chance to skip or add the speeches of toasts. It also allows you to interact with your loved ones. It will enable you to thank them for being part of your beautiful union. We hope our guide has helped you plan a rehearsal dinner for your big day. Are you getting married? How and where are you planning your rehearsal dinner? Let us know in the comments below. Happy wedding!

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