There’s no doubt about it, planning a wedding is a significant undertaking, and it can bring with it a substantial amount of stress, raised blood pressure, and desperate arranging and rearranging until everything is perfect. With so much to consider – from the venue to the décor to the flowers and the food – you may feel like you have enough on your metaphorical plate without having to plan the rehearsal dinner too.
However, if you’ve committed yourselves to having one, it’s a good idea to do a little homework and familiarize yourselves with the do’s and don’ts of this special occasion. After all, the rehearsal dinner could be the first time many of your relatives are meeting each other, so it’s important that it all goes smoothly and according to plan.
With that aim in mind, read on for some top tips on what to do – and what to avoid – when planning your rehearsal dinner. But first, if you’re wondering why you should even have one in the first place, let’s unpack some of the main benefits of throwing a rehearsal dinner.
The Benefits Of A Rehearsal Dinner
While at first glance a rehearsal dinner may seem like an unnecessary source of additional stress, in fact, this kind of ‘practice’ event can make your actual wedding day much less intimidating – not just for you but for members of your wedding party.
After all, some of your bridesmaids or groomsmen may never have assumed the role before, and they may be feeling a little nervous about getting something wrong. Even your parents may be feeling somewhat tense, particularly if they’re not used to being the centre of attention at such a momentous event.
Holding a rehearsal dinner gives you and your families the chance to come together and get better acquainted, give your wedding ceremony a ‘practice run’, and share a delicious meal and perhaps even some games or traditional entertainments. In fact, it can turn into a valuable bonding exercise, helping to forge a deeper connection between your relatives on both sides, not to mention your close friends.
Finally, another important advantage of throwing a rehearsal dinner is that it gives your nearest and dearest the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. They may even be able to make some helpful suggestions that can contribute to making your wedding day go as smoothly as possible. Now that’s surely as good a reason as any to plan this extra event!
If you’re convinced, let’s move on to the do’s and don’ts of planning the perfect rehearsal dinner, so you will know exactly how to plan your special dinner to make it a big success.
DO Pick The Perfect Theme
If you’ve seen rehearsal dinners depicted in movies or TV shows, you probably have a preconceived notion of this event as being very formal, with an elaborate dinner, black-tie dress code, and gleaming silverware.
However, the truth is that your rehearsal dinner can be as fancy or as relaxed as you want it to be. If you want to have a rehearsal barbecue, a brunch, or a cocktail party, it’s entirely up to you. Just make sure you work out the finer details of the theme and setting – including the dress code – well in advance, so you can include the information on your invitations. Your guests will feel more comfortable if they know exactly what kind of theme and dress code they should expect, so they can choose the right attire.
DON’T Delay In Booking The Venue
Just like with your wedding venue, it’s important to book the location for your rehearsal dinner well in advance, particularly if it’s a very popular spot. You don’t want to miss out on your preferred venue because you were tardy in ringing up and securing a date and time.
When it comes to choosing the ideal location, you may want to consider choosing somewhere close to the place where you will be holding the actual wedding. This will allow your out-of-town guests to become more familiar with the area, so they won’t run the risk of getting lost on the big day.
DO Send The Invitations Well in Advance
Once you have secured the venue for your rehearsal dinner, you should send out the invites right away, to make sure all your guests are made aware of the occasion in good time. Who you invite is, of course, entirely up to you, but essential guests include the entire wedding party, your immediate family, officiates, and, of course, any ‘plus ones’ of your special guests. Don’t forget to include any younger members of the wedding party – such as flower girls or ring bearers – and their families.
When it comes to choosing the perfect rehearsal dinner invitations, you can make the whole process much simpler and more convenient (not to mention environmentally friendly) by sending stunning email invites with the help of Greenvelope.
Not only can you choose from an array of stunning designs but you will also benefit from a range of helpful features, including RSVP tracking, auto reminders, and survey questions so you can lock down your guests’ dietary preferences. Planning your rehearsal dinner just got a lot easier!
DON’T Forget The Gifts
We all know that when someone gets married, we should give them a useful or sentimental gift to help them start their new lives together. However, when you’re the ones getting married, it’s also a lovely gesture to give your wedding party some gifts, to thank them for all the time, effort and love they are showing you by being such an important part of your special day.
Everyone, from your best man and maid of honor, to your flower girls and ring bearers, should be presented with a token of your appreciation at the rehearsal dinner.
DO Enjoy The Toasts
As well as bringing both families together to rehearse the ceremony, and giving you the chance to present gifts to your wedding party, the rehearsal dinner is also an opportunity for some special toasts and speeches.
Traditionally, the fathers of the bride and groom will both make a toast at this event. However, anyone else who wants to make a speech should feel free to do so. For instance, the bridesmaids may want to share some heart-warming memories about their bestie, and the groom himself can stand up and make a toast if he wishes – as can his blushing bride-to-be.
DON’T Let The Dinner Run On Too Long
Finally, if you are holding your rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, it’s a good idea not to let it finish too late.
After all, a number of your guests may have travelled in from out of town, and they are likely to be tired after their journey. You may also have children in attendance – your flower girls and ring bearers – who shouldn’t be up too long past their bedtime.
Perhaps most importantly, while the next day is going to be undeniably magical, it will also be long, emotional and exhausting, so it’s crucial that you all get to bed early before the big event. You will surely want to enjoy some restorative beauty sleep before preparing to take part in one of the most significant and unforgettable days of your lives!