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  • Writer's pictureCordero Productions

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner

This is it: the last event before the big day!

The rehearsal dinner is the bridge that takes all the members of the big day from planning mode to party mode. Although the rehearsal dinner hasn't changed much over the decades, the expectations and execution of it have shifted over the years. In order to help you plan your perfect rehearsal dinner, Cordero Productions has put together the ultimate guide to help answer the most common questions and give you some theme ideas and outfit suggestions.

Common Questions

When does the Rehearsal Dinner Take Place?

Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner takes place after the ceremony rehearsal. After everyone has met with the officiant and wedding planner to iron out any last minute details, those involved meet to enjoy a meal and celebrate.

Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?

Traditionally, the side that is not helping pay for the wedding pays for the rehearsal dinner; however, more and more couples are either paying for the dinner themselves, or splitting the cost with both sides of the family. This could be considered a win-win situation as it allows for both families to feel involved as it gives them a significant role in the weeding weekend.

Who Should Be Invited?

The guest list for the rehearsal dinner is truly up to you. You may want to keep the rehearsal dinner small by only inviting family, the wedding party and their plus ones. Another option is to also invite your out-of-town guests, which will certainly be the case if you are planning a destination wedding. One of the pros to inviting a larger number of guests is that it can give you more quality time with them in a more casual environment than on the wedding day.

Are invitations Required?

If you decide to keep the dinner small, invitations are not required. Decide on the best method to let everyone know where they need to be and when. If you are going to have a larger dinner with lots of guests, the best and easiest method may be to send out invitations requesting that guests RSVP. Another great option that many couples are utilizing is to post the rehearsal dinner information on their wedding website. The important thing is that everyone you are inviting has the proper information they need - don't stress too much about how they receive it.

When Should the Invitations Be Sent?

If you do decide to send out invitations, they should be sent at least four(4) weeks before the rehearsal dinner. This will allow them to arrive after the wedding invitation, but with enough time for your guests to RSVP.

What Events Typically Happen at the Rehearsal Dinner?

Regardless of the format or theme you have chosen for your rehearsal dinner, there are some key elements that you need to include. After the meal or during the desert, the host (or hosts) should make a toast to the couple. Then, it's your turn to make a toast to thank everyone for all that they've done to help the wedding day come together. During this time, you can also also feel free to hand out wedding party and parent gifts. Another great idea for this time is to open the floor to anyone else that may want to make a toast so those who aren't speaking at the reception have a chance to tell you how they feel. Lastly, before the event wraps up, make sure to make any special announcements or reminders for the wedding day.

Theme and Activity Ideas

Gone are the days when the family needed to host a formal, sit-down dinner. Couples today are opting for unconventional meals and even activities to kick off their wedding celebrations: brunch, a game night indoors, or even a winery tour are all fantastic ideas if a sit-down dinner isn't your style.

Look to the season and time of year that you are getting married for inspiration if an idea doesn't jump out at you right away.

Summer and spring are especially good times for outdoor inspiration

What to Wear for Your Rehearsal Dinner

No matter what you decide to do for your rehearsal dinner, we know you will want to look your best. Your outfit should match the formality of the dinner, but don't be afraid to choose something a little dressier, even for a casual event. This is your wedding weekend, so wear something that makes you feel your best.

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