The sense of relief and relaxation at the rehearsal dinner helps to make it special. You’ve been to the church or ceremony venue. You’ve been “on stage” and all the actors know where they are to stand and what they are to do and when they are to do it. Your costumes are ready. You know your lines. The decorations are due the next day and someone will see to them. Now it is time to relax and enjoy the good company of family and friends at your rehearsal dinner. As one consultant terms it, “The rehearsal dinner is the perfect informal foil to the formal wedding day.”
With good food and conversation, some toasts and some surprises, you can have your rehearsal dinner wherever you wish. Traditionally it was hosted and paid for by the groom’s parents, but as with many wedding related activities, traditions change.
- The invitation list for the rehearsal dinner includes the “must haves” – the wedding party and their spouses, all parents and the officiant plus his or her spouse. If your budget allows you may include some “maybes”. Some couples include out of town wedding guests if the numbers work. Remember, it is about thanking those who help to make the wedding day special.
- While they aren’t required, assigned seats at the dinner are helpful. Guests don’t have to wonder where to sit and with whom, and you can assure that everyone feels welcome and relaxed. It also insures that some guests are not left alone at a table.
Here are some budget saving ideas for that informal gathering.
- Hold the dinner at home instead of a restaurant.
- Serve a more relaxed menu like pasta instead of a formal meat course like the one planned for the next day at the wedding reception.
- Serve wine and beer instead of cocktails.
- Serve home baked desserts instead of the chef prepared goodies being served at the reception.
- If the dinner is at a home, and the weather is nice, move it outside and think about using paper plates and plastic utensils instead of china and silver.
- This is a perfect time to give favors to all in attendance. They should be seen as a way of saying thank you. Likewise with toasts. A toast is about caring and it should be shared not just directed at the bride and groom. A rehearsal dinner is all about saying thank you.
One other thought: You don’t have to have a rehearsal “dinner”. You can have a rehearsal brunch, or lunch or breakfast. Organize your rehearsal day any way you wish. If a morning rehearsal works better for the church, for you and your families and attendants, do it and follow it with a picnic lunch.