4 Steps to Planning a Fantastic Rehearsal Dinner

photo courtesy of Fizelwink Photography

photo courtesy of Fizelwink Photography

The rehearsal dinner is a fun and relaxed evening to enjoy with friends and family who have come in for the wedding and to most importantly celebrate the arrival of your big day. Here are some basic steps to help you plan a fantastic rehearsal dinner.

1. Setting a Time and a Place
The first thing to recognize is that the rehearsal dinner doesn’t even have to be a dinner at all. While the evening just before the wedding day is the typical time, some couples may opt for another night earlier in the week to help space out events and decrease stress. Others might choose to make it a rehearsal brunch on the morning of the wedding. There are all kinds of options.

Depending on where the wedding is being held will most likely determine the location of the dinner. Some locations will invite you to host the dinner on site. At other times, families may choose to host the dinner at a hotel where guests are staying or at a local restaurant.

2. Inviting Guests
Usually, the groom’s family takes charge of the rehearsal dinner, paying for the dinner and setting up plans. Though this certainly does not have to be the case, be sure to sit down with your new in-laws and your fiancé to discuss who to invite if it is.

The rehearsal dinner typically includes all the people who will be at the actual rehearsal along with any relatives you wish to invite. This will include the bridal party, your parents and family, any children in the wedding and their parents as well as the officiant and any musicians, ushers etc. Sometimes couples also take this opportunity to include and connect with out-of-town guests who may have just arrived.

3. Picking Out Bridal Party Presents
A popular tradition involves gifts for the groomsmen and the bridesmaids in the wedding. These small tokens are typically given at the rehearsal dinner and represent the groom and bride’s appreciation for their bridal party’s love and support.

A standard for the bridesmaid gifts is a piece of jewelry that might even be worn on the wedding day. Simple pendants with an initial or other personalized touch can be nice. Bracelets are another neat idea. One fun trend is to find rings where the metal is twisted into a knot to thank the ladies for helping you “tie the knot” on your big day.

Groomsmen gifts are often very creative and fun. This is a great chance for the groom’s goofy personality to show as he thanks his best guys. Cool groomsmen gifts can range from sporting equipment to personalized mugs or pocket knives.

Some weddings will have all the men in the bridal party wear super hero t-shirts beneath their suits. If the groom and his buddies are into comics, these can be a great gift with different characters picked for each man. Or if sports are their shared passion, a similar gift can come in the form of favorite team shirts.

4. Take on the Toasts
After dinner, the rehearsal gathering presents a perfect time to say a special thank you to all the people and family whose love and hard work are making your wedding possible. The father of the groom is often asked to give a toast, and the bride and groom may also write toasts to their loved ones.

Post toasts is often an excellent time to give everyone a final rundown of the following day’s events and other logistical announcements while you have the attention of your family and friends.

With these steps, you are on your way to planning a wonderful evening to celebrate with your close loved ones.

by Jessica Socheski is a writer and social media fan who loves researching wedding trends. You can find her on Twitter.