Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Host the Perfect Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Since we have discussed the issue of holding a ceremony rehearsal and decided you do, in fact, need one - let’s move on to the fun stuff.

Historically the groom’s parents footed the bill for this post-wedding rehearsal meal, but since modern-day brides are tossing tradition to the wind-this is changing, too. As if the bride doesn’t have enough stress before the Big Day, she also has to weigh in on the Rehearsal Dinner... and if you are anything like me-you want that to be perfect.

Here are four tips to help you host the perfect rehearsal dinner.

Tip 1: Have Fun With It!
I’ve read that your rehearsal dinner and wedding reception should have a similar style and formality level - for example, if your wedding is ultra chic and formal, then your rehearsal dinner should set the stage by being more or less the same style. On some level I get that. On every other level-I think it is crap.

Think about it. If your rehearsal dinner is a miniature version of your wedding reception, how bored will your guests be on Day 2? And THAT is the Big Day. That is the important event. That is when you want everyone to step back and say “Wow!”

Instead, I say you should have fun with your rehearsal dinner.

My wedding was semi-formal and incorporated many aspects of my husband’s Italian heritage. We had guests coming to Texas from across the country-and Italy!-and wanted to share our culture with them. So, we hosted a Texas-style BBQ, complete with a line dance instructor and galvanized buckets of beer. It was a blast, the wedding party bonded and we really set the mood for the following day.

Tip #2: Plan with Care
Put the same attention to detail in your wedding rehearsal dinner that you put into your wedding. Be sure to create invitations and tell your guests how to dress. You will also want to plan time to formally speak to your guests, offer gifts to your wedding party and/or publicly thank your parents for their help. Shy away from serving too much alcohol. You want everyone looking fresh for your wedding.

Tip 2: Be Courteous
As I am sure you have been doing throughout your wedding planning process, remember to be courteous and think of your guests when planning your rehearsal dinner. In addition to your wedding party, officiant and immediate family members, consider inviting all out of town guests and other close family members who aren’t in the wedding. For example, my aunts were an enormous help to me throughout my planning and I thought it would be nice to include them in pre-wedding events.

Tip 3: Location Matters
Choose a restaurant that is close to your rehearsal location. You don’t want you-or your guests-to be forced to drive an hour for dinner, then drive another hour-or more-to get home. It isn’t gracious and your friends could resent it. You certainly don’t want those negative mood vibes carrying over to your wedding day.

Tip 4: Give it a Test Run
Okay. I know rehearsing your rehearsal just sounds silly but eat at the rehearsal dinner restaurant before the event and make sure you are on the same page with them. The worst mistake brides make when it comes to planning their rehearsal dinner is not taking it seriously enough. Be professional with your rehearsal dinner vendors and make sure they know your expectations.

The rehearsal dinner can be one of the most lighthearted aspects of your wedding weekend. Everyone should be in good spirits and you can relax with your closest friends before the stress of the wedding day hits. The rehearsal dinner truly sets the scene for the rest of your wedding, so take time to plan it with care, pay attention to details and give it the respect it deserves.

You’ll be glad you did.

What have you planned for your rehearsal dinner?

Photo courtesy of herzogbr


Renata Hill said...

One thing we did for our wedding rehearsal dinner, is provide wedding favors! Even though we were handing them out at our reception, we wanted to do them at both places :) We made the ones at our wedding rehearsal dinner much more formal - pictures frames that doubled as place card holders. They turned out way cute - I found the wedding favors on Way cute :)

Cherrye Moore said...

What a fabulous idea! I love it. It is just one more way you can show the people closest to you how much you appreciate them.