For some soon-to-be-married couples, the thought of planning a rehearsal dinner feels overwhelming. Couples need to decide where to have it, who will pay and who to invite.
The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to have a chance for everyone to come together and have a chance to A. rehearse before the big event and B. use this great opportunity for you to express your appreciation to your wedding party, your close friends and your dear family.
Understanding rehearsal dinner etiquette can be slightly challenging, especially if you have never partook in a rehearsal dinner. The actual rehearsal can be a bit stressful for everyone, so the dinner gives your guests a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Despite the fact that a rehearsal dinner is a more relaxed affair than the wedding, it does have its own set of assumed rules. Since the rehearsal dinner is usually a small and intimate gathering, your guests may be from a range of generations.
To keep everybody content, here are a small number of things to keep in mind concerning the rehearsal dinner.
Consult the Hosts
Conventionally, the rehearsal dinner is hosted by the parents of the groom, although it’s not uncommon for the bride and groom to take on that role. If the groom’s parents are hosting the dinner, chat about it with them to get a feel for their thoughts…do they see the dinner as a semi-formal or are they looking for something a bit more casual, such as a back yard BBQ? The hosts of the rehearsal dinner should have the maximum say in the specifics and format of the dinner.
Pick a Format
Guests and location of the dinner are always a factor, so you may want to consider including a cocktail hour or other sort of socialization time before the actual dinner. This gives those “late arrival” guests a chance to mingle and chat prior to eating. This also is a great way for the bride and groom to mingle and socialize with their closest family and friends – given that they’ll be so busy during the actual wedding.
Pick a Menu
You thought the dinner menu was finished when you finalized it for the wedding – but you were wrong! The dinner really depends on your budget, and your style. While the more formal faire is reserved for the wedding, rehearsal dinner etiquette isn’t very strict when it comes to menu planning. You can have it catered in your mom’s backyard, which will include set up, serving and clean up. If you are serving alcohol, be sure to include options for the non-alcoholic drinkers.
It’s so easy to get caught up with the rules and etiquette of weddings and dinners, don’t forget the real reason for all of this….to express your utmost appreciation to everyone present.
Take the time to savor it.