The rehearsal dinner is a chance for the bride and groom’s families and friends to meet and socialize in a relaxed, non-formal setting. It’s also a way to build excitement amid the wedding
planning for the wedding-day celebration.
Breaking from tradition, many rehearsal dinners no longer immediately follow the ceremony rehearsal. A rehearsal brunch or luncheon can be a well-timed and welcome alternative. If you choose to theme your rehearsal dinner, it should reflect your interests and style, whether it’s at a formal sit-down dinner in a fine restaurant or a casual backyard barbecue.
This celebration requires planning and should set a contrast to your reception. Tradition states that the rehearsal dinner is usually “by-invitation-only” and for family members, the wedding party, officiant, and close out-of-town friends. However, you may decide that you want everyone who can attend to be invited.
Traditionally, the groom and his family pay for the rehearsal dinner. But many bridal couples bear the entire expense or at least any required deposits. Assistance from one or both families is now becoming more popular in wedding planning. If finances are limited, out-of-town guests and single guests with your attendants can be excluded.
However it’s paid for, the groom and his family traditionally guides the dinner’s main event — toasts made to you and your groom. The best man often acts as master of ceremonies, calling upon people to make toasts and on the rest to “raise a glass.” Music or entertainment can enhance your guests’ enjoyment. You also can present gifts to parents and members of your bridal party during the rehearsal dinner, as well as serve the groom’s cake.
And of course, your rehearsal dinner should be pleasurable and hassle-free. Remember, there are no firm rules.