Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! Rehearsal dinners are nothing to stress over. In fact, the entire point of them is to relax with your new, bigger family! Here are the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) of rehearsal dinners.
While not always required, a rehearsal dinner is still a great tradition to uphold in the wedding process. Not only is it good to have a run through of the actual big event, but it’s also a great opportunity to spend time with your closest friends and family. The wedding will be on a schedule and the reception will be filled with many more people, so the rehearsal will be your last chance to relax and enjoy the company of the people you’ve chosen to play a part in your big day. Planning for the actual wedding is already stressful enough, so don’t fret too much over the rehearsal. Here are some helpful tips so that your Rehearsal Dinner is the perfect start to your wedding events!
Because most of your budget will need to go to the wedding, you will want to keep your rehearsal dinner as simple as possible. Keep the guest list to the wedding party and closest family members. You may also consider inviting any guests that are traveling from out of town for the wedding and will be in town the night of the rehearsal. Send out separate invitations for the dinner and you can send them out around the same time you send the wedding invitations. If your rehearsal dinner is held in the same location as your wedding and reception, then most of the decorations will be the same, but if the rehearsal is somewhere else, then keep the decorations simple. Some nice floral arrangements or balloon sculptures would be a great way to dress up the room or serve as centerpieces for your tables.
Turn your rehearsal dinner into a real event by providing live entertainment. There are a variety of options to choose from. You can turn your rehearsal dinner into a dance party by booking a cover band, dance band or DJ to get the guests on the dance floor. Everyone will appreciate the chance to let loose the night before the wedding. Or, for a more relaxed elegant dinner, provide entertainment that will serve as easy listening background music. Hire a classical ensemble, jazz band, guitarist or a strolling violinist. Another fun idea would be to hire a comedian to perform while the guests eat dinner or after dinner. The family and friends could put together some information about the bride and groom and give it to the performer in advance so that he or she can write some jokes to poke fun at the happy couple. Be careful though, make sure someone approves the jokes in advance so the dinner does not turn uncomfortable.
Of course, the most important part of a rehearsal dinner is...the dinner! Not all rehearsal dinners have to be a three course, sit-down meal, but food will definitely need to be provided. You can set up a buffet for guests to build their own meals or you could just have waiters walk around serving hors d'oeuvres while everyone mixes and mingles. Regardless of what you choose, you may want to consider hiring a caterer to help you plan the menu and prepare and serve the food.
One of the purposes of a rehearsal dinner is for the bride and groom to thank those that helped with the wedding planning and execution. It is also a time for those helpers to toast the happy couple and wish them well before the wedding day. Of course, to make those toasts, you’ll need to make sure the glasses are overflowing with champagne. Hire a bartender to serve not only champagne, but a variety of cocktails and wine. Or to make things more interesting, hire a flair bartender! Your guests can be entertained by juggling, flipping and magic tricks while also enjoying professionally mixed drinks!
While the rehearsal dinner is meant to be a simple, stress free addition to the hectic wedding event, the planning may still feel a little daunting. If you had a wedding planner help with the wedding, then perhaps the rehearsal can be just an additional task. If not, then hopefully these tips will help you take care of everything yourself. You can find everything you need on GigSalad, your one stop shop for planning a great rehearsal dinner.