While a rehearsal dinner is not mandatory, it can be a wonderful way to begin your wedding festivities. It will give your families and close friends the chance to meet and get acquainted.
The groom’s parents traditionally host the rehearsal dinner. They should send the invitations and include the immediate family of the bride and groom, your clergy person or officiant and their spouse, and the entire wedding party and their spouses or special guests. If you have friends from out of town who have already arrived, they should be invited to attend as well.
It is a good idea to provide place cards for your guests since this is probably the first time many of them will be meeting. “Titles” after the names may be helpful, such as Maryanne Jones-Maid of Honor. Plan your seating so that your guests will enjoy themselves and hopefully meet new people. The bride and groom should be seated at a focal table with their immediate families.
The location for your rehearsal dinner can be just about anywhere. Sometimes the parent’s home is large enough to accommodate the group. An outdoor barbecue or a theme party is always fun to do. If you have your rehearsal dinner in a restaurant you should consider a limited menu to keep the meal timely as well as cut costs.
The rehearsal dinner is traditionally the time for the father of the groom to make his formal toast to the couple. It is also the perfect time to give out attendant gifts, and thank both sets of parents for all they have done for you.
Be sure to plan your dinner early enough to allow for a good nights sleep since it is typically the night before your wedding. You will want to be fresh and alert and feeling your best the next day!