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Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

The 5 W’s of Rehearsal Dinners

Cheering up

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.



Your rehearsal dinner guest list should include members of the wedding party and their dates, the wedding officiant and their date, and close family members (including parents, grandparents, and siblings). You should also invite your flower girl or ring bearer, and any other close child relatives who you feel are old enough to attend.

As for who hosts for the rehearsal dinner, it is customary for the groom’s family to host. However, times are changing and there’s no stigma against the bride’s family hosting, or the bride and groom hosting themselves.



The rehearsal dinner is a chance for the two families to get together before the wedding, familiarize themselves, and get comfortable with each other. It’s a celebration of the new additions to each family. It’s a time to relax, bond, and give toasts to the happy couple! It’s also a great time for the exchanging of gifts and for the couple to give their thanks.



Typically, the rehearsal dinner takes place the evening before the wedding. However, it could absolutely be a brunch or luncheon, if you’d prefer. Whatever you decide, it should be very close to your actual wedding date.



That’s up to you! But, the rehearsal dinner should be held somewhere with plenty of space for mingling and setting down gifts, as well as plenty of peace and quiet for toasts and conversation.



The rehearsal dinner is a tradition for good reason – it allows the families to have an intimate celebration together. When two families become one, it’s nice to set aside some time to honor that with great conversation and delicious food.


If you decide to have your rehearsal dinner in a private space rather than a restaurant or banquet hall, hire a Caterer, Bartender, and Wait Staff to work your event so that you can just focus on enjoying the company of your family.

Best of luck! We’re wishing you a lifetime of happiness.

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Practice makes perfect! While you have your bridal party and close family there for the ceremony rehearsal, treat them to a delicious dinner. It doesn't have to be anything too extravagant, but it should be an intimate event for you and your guests. Spend some quality time with those there since the next day will be a whirlwind of activity!

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!

Keep it Simple

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.

Rehearse your Dancing Skills

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.

Fill the Plates and Champagne Glasses

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.