There are questions regarding the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner, such as who pays, who attends, where it should be held, etc. Hopefully, we can put your mind at ease and answer a few of these questions!

First, a little history. The wedding rehearsal and dinner are a way to kick off the weekend’s festivities. After running through and rehearsing the ceremony, the dinner afterward is a way to merge the families. Officially, there is no origin or history of when rehearsal dinners began. Instead, according to TheKnot, “as weddings became more lavish[ed] and ornate, the need to have a ceremony rehearsal and gather essential friends and family memes became more critical.”

Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?

Cost, hosting, and planning of the rehearsal dinner customarily falls upon the groom’s family. This includes food and beverages, invitations, venue, etc. However, as we moved forward, that tradition has changed to sometimes couple’s parents jointly paying for the dinner, or, if the couple is funding the wedding, they may also take on the cost of the dinner.

Who Attends the Rehearsal Dinner?

Since the rehearsal dinner is a more intimate event, the attendees should not include every wedding guest. You will include all who are participating in your wedding, such as groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer, ushers, readers, parents, and grandparents. It is also a good idea to include out-of-town family members and friends who are in town for the wedding.

Where is the Rehearsal Dinner held?

The sky is the limit when it comes to where the rehearsal dinner can be held. It will mainly depend on the style and size of your event. A rehearsal dinner can be as simple as a backyard picnic or as elaborate as a banquet in a hotel or restaurant. For a smaller group, you could consider a private room at a restaurant or hotel. On the other hand, you can look at a more traditional wedding venue for a larger event.

Tips for a Successful Rehearsal Dinner:

  • Make a Schedule: It isn’t necessary to have a minute-by-minute schedule for the evening, but create a plan of different activities throughout the evening, such as speeches, presenting gifts, games, etc.
  • Toasts: The host of the event should start the evening off with a toast. This is also an opportunity for the couple to toast and thank their loved ones and those attending the event.
  • Make it Personal: Make it personal and make it comfortable. For some, this may be the first time some family members meet. Make it an environment where they can easily converse.
  • Games: Games are a huge hit! My mom put together a game for my brother’s rehearsal dinner, and it went fantastic. Instead of doing the “Newlywed” Game, she put together a “Not So Newlywed” Game using family members as the participants … we are still laughing about it many years later!

My big piece of advice is don’t stress about the rehearsal dinner! This is an opportunity for you to kick off the wedding festivities and ramp up the excitement. Relax and enjoy the food, family, friends, and conversations!

Resources: TheKnot and WeddingWire