Last Updated on May 17, 2022
When planning for a wedding, you are not just preparing yourself for the big day, you are also preparing for a host of pre-wedding events that, as per tradition, are also important and require special attention. One of those events is the rehearsal dinner. This article will look at what the rehearsal dinner is, who to invite, whether it is necessary, the traditions surrounding it, and some top tips on what to do and what not to do!
What is a rehearsal dinner?
At its core, a rehearsal dinner is a small get-together with close family and those associated with and involved in the wedding. It typically takes place after the final rehearsal the night before the wedding and is an intimate affair where family on both the bride and grooms side can meet and catch up. It is a tradition that is mainly celebrated in the United States, but couples worldwide have adapted it to suit their celebrations in some way.
Is a rehearsal dinner necessary?
Technically speaking, no, it is not essential to have a rehearsal dinner. However, planning a wedding is a lot of work, and having a little get-together with those closest to you the night before the ceremony can be a very nice touch. Similarly, many people will feel uncomfortable not inviting people to the rehearsal dinner that are invited to the wedding. However, one should remember that the dinner is only for those actively involved in the ceremony or close family to bond further and toast the couple!
Who to Invite? And how to Invite them!
As a general rule, the rehearsal dinner is exclusively for those closest to you involved in the wedding ceremony. Another traditional rule of thumb is to invite the priest or officiant that is officiating your ceremony to the dinner. Similarly, grandparents and siblings can be invited, even if they are not involved in the ceremony. It would be best to invite any guests who have travelled long distances for the wedding as a courtesy.
If you invite the flower girl or ring bearer, be sure to invite their parents too if they are not already involved. Ultimately, who to invite will be entirely up to the bride and groom, but the above suggestions are the familiar traditions and guidelines on who should be there.
As for how to invite them, an invitation is always a nice touch; however, having a WhatsApp group or something similar is a much more efficient way of conveying ideas or plans to people in one place. It takes the pain out of creating invites, hoping that people get them, and waiting for a response. It is advisable to send out invitations or make a dinner group about 4-5 weeks before the night of the dinner. This is so that people can get the necessary time away from work and make plans as required.
Rehearsal Dinner Traditions
As is the case with most wedding-related events, some traditions are attached to the rehearsal dinner and knowing them will make it easier for you to understand what to do and what not to do.
- Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner was paid for by the grooms’ parents exclusively; however, as time as gone on, both sets of parents typically chip in to pay for the dinner.
- In terms of venues, the place you choose should depend on the size of the wedding itself and how many people are involved in the ceremony. Traditionally, a nice restaurant is good enough to hold enough people involved.
- At a rehearsal dinner, it is often custom for the bride and groom to make a speech and thank everyone for their help in making the setup a success.
- Another common tradition is for the bride and groom to give each of the attendees a little gift as a thank you for their help and consideration.
- This is not a tradition but rather a set of one or two tips. Try and keep the dinner short and sweet. By no means does it have to be a quick affair, but keep in mind that the next day will be long and possibly stressful; you don’t need any sore heads going into the biggest day of your life! Similarly, keep it stress-free! The rehearsal dinner should be a comfortable event where close associates and family can let their hair down and enjoy the moment. So be sure to keep worries at the door and enjoy the intimate evening with your nearest and dearest.