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Inspiration Detail | Rehearsed and Ready

Rehearsed and Ready

The décor has been selected, the arrangements made and all the plans set in motion. Now is the time to savor each moment as the wedding weekend unfolds with family and close friends. The rehearsal dinner is often the first scheduled event of the weekend. Depending upon the guest list, budget and wishes of the hosts, the rehearsal dinner can be anything from a formal sit-down affair to a casual outdoor barbeque.

WHO SHOULD HOST
Traditionally, the groom’s parents are the hosts of the rehearsal dinner. However, given that many couples are paying for their own weddings, the dinner can be hosted by both set of parents, grandparents or close friends and family. It is recommended that the host of this event confer with the wedding couple regarding the theme, menu, decorations and location. This assures that the event does not conflict with any of the wedding plans. The cost of a rehearsal dinner can vary widely as there are several factors to consider. Some factors include the size of the wedding party, the size of the families, the venue for the dinner as well as the menu chosen for the event.

WHEN TO SCHEDULE
Rehearsal dinners often follow the ceremony rehearsal the evening before the wedding. However, the rehearsal event can be a brunch or lunch and is most often found to be a casual and informal event. If it is a dinner event, it is recommended that the festivities conclude relatively early in the evening to allow the bride and groom, wedding party and family members an opportunity to relax and unwind before the wedding day.

WHOM TO INVITE
Depending upon the budget and capacity of the venue, the hosts of the rehearsal dinner decide the number of guests to invite. The bride and groom, wedding party, parents of the couple, officiant and spouse, readers and their guests must be invited to the dinner. However, you may also wish to include out-of-town guests and close friends to make the event more of a welcoming party for them. Written invitations are not required; however, it is a good idea to send invitations when the guest list includes more than family. Unless all wedding guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner, no information regarding the rehearsal event should be placed on your wedding website.

SETTING THE TONE
Rehearsal dinners can be a terrific way to give guests a warm and welcoming experience for the weekend festivities. It can be a plated gourmet dinner, a tasty backyard barbeque or anything in between. It is often a great time for out-of-town guests to visit with family and spend time with the bride and groom before the big day. Stumped on what type of dinner to host? Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Backyard Barbeque
Hosted at a family member’s home or acreage, this option is relaxed, budget friendly and perfect for couples with large families and small children. To make things easy and enjoyable, consider including yard games, setting up a self-serve beverage stand or hosting a bonfire for roasting marshmallows.  

Food Truck
If your ceremony is at an outdoor location such as a public park, it is a welcome change of pace to hire a food truck to arrive after the rehearsal. Prepackaged dinners are a fun way to treat guests and this option is perfect for a rehearsal dinner that includes the wedding party only. Bring some refreshments for the rehearsal and picnic blankets for guests to relax on the lawn and enjoy their dinner picnic style.

Restaurant
For small rehearsal dinners, hosting the meal at a restaurant is ideal for the parents of the couple. This option minimizes any stress or mess the evening prior to the wedding. Either allow guests to select their meals off a limited-selection menu or ask them to RSVP with their favorite option. It is always recommended to include a note on the dinner invitation addressing dress code.

Reception Venue
Many reception venues offer a discounted rate when you also host your rehearsal dinner at their facility. Some locations have both large and small areas to accommodate any size guest list. This option is truly ideal if you are both getting married and hosting your reception at the same venue site. Consider an “appetizer only” menu as an alternative to a full meal to slim down your rehearsal dinner costs while still providing a fun and relaxed evening for guests.

PROPER PROTOCOL
Toasts are often a large part of the evening and can sometimes even be spontaneous. In this casual setting, guests feel more comfortable sharing memories, stories and well wishes for the couple. If the groom’s parents are hosting, the groom’s father will often greet guests and offer a toast to the bride and groom. The father of the bride can toast next, followed by any of the attendants or guests who wish to speak. The bride and groom also have the opportunity to greet guests, to say a few words of thanks and to present any gifts to the members of the wedding party in thanks for their support. 

POTENTIAL SCHEDULE
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Rehearsal
6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Travel to Venue
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Cocktail Hour
7:45 p.m. – Toasts and Dinner

The best advice is to always focus on your guests’ comfort while showing appreciation for their time commitment. Your wedding day is about your vows and celebrating with friends and family, but your rehearsal dinner should honor the loved ones present who may have made a long drive or difficult flight to celebrate and support your marriage. Treat your guests to an evening of fun entertainment, tasty food and refreshing beverages to kick off a weekend that they will never forget. |NWD|