You and your fiancé have worked so hard to put together your special day, which is why we recommend keeping the rehearsal dinner simple and fun. The dinner should be a time where you can sit down and enjoy the evening with each other and all of your loved ones. Follow the eight steps below for your *nearly* effortless rehearsal dinner.
1. Decide Who Your Host Is and Put Together Your Budget
While most wedding couples have family step in to take on the rehearsal dinner hosting duties, some brides and grooms host the dinner themselves as another extension of their wedding. Whoever is chosen to host the rehearsal dinner should be somewhat involved in the planning process as they are typically the ones paying for the evening's bill. Make sure to discuss the rehearsal dinners complete budget including the event space, catering and event decor before beginning the rest of the planning process.
2. Create Your Guest List
After you have your host and a rehearsal dinner budget set, it is time to compile your guest list. When compiling the list remember this is typically a smaller group than your wedding reception and the event should be reserved for your closest family and friends. Consider inviting your immediate family, wedding party, officiant and, potentially, any out of town guests that you and your fiancé don't get to see as often as you'd like.
3. Decide on the Style of the Evening
Now it is time to decide on the overall style and vibe of your wedding rehearsal dinner. Some wedding couples choose to match their wedding design, in order to the same decor pieces for both events, while others opt in for a more relaxed and casual aesthetic.
4. Book Your Venue
When choosing your venue make sure it matches the overall aesthetic and vibe you are wanting to create for the night. Consider choosing one of your favorite restaurants, a beautiful rooftop, the beach, a meaningful park, somebody's home, or wherever you feel most comfortable and excited to celebrate. Be sure that the location is easily accessible from your wedding rehearsal location, especially if you are inviting a lot of out-of-town guests with limited access to transportation.
5. Hire Your Vendors
Depending on your venue selection, this step might be non-applicable for some of our wedding couples. With some venues, you will need to source audio visual needs, flowers and catering while others may have everything you need in-house. For example, hotel event spaces and restaurants make for the easiest planning since everything is typically handled through the venue specifically.
6. Send Out Invitations
When sending out your rehearsal dinner invitations you have two options: send them as an individual invitation or send them in the same envelope with your wedding invitations. To avoid any confusion for your guests, it is best to leave your rehearsal dinner information off of your wedding website, as not all wedding guests are invited to this pre-wedding event.
7. Invite a Few Friends and Family Members to Make Toasts
After you have invited your guests, it's important to choose those who will be making toasts at the rehearsal dinner. Typically, the host(s) the event will want to make a speech but you may also want to ask a few of your closest family and friends to make a toast of their own. Some wedding couples also take this opportunity to thank their family and wedding party for their support throughout the entire relationship and wedding planning process.
8. Confirm your Final Timelines and RSVP's
With everything else taken care of, the last thing to do is to confirm your final timelines and double check you have received all guest RSVP's. Follow up with anyone who hasn't responded by the final response deadline and provide all final numbers to your venue and vendors. After that, it's time to prep for your rehearsal dinner and big day. Enjoy!