Wedding Planning - The Rehearsal Dinner
Months of planning are behind you now. That mile-long wedding to-do list can be set aside. These are just a few reasons why many couples eagerly look forward to the rehearsal dinner, as it marks the end of the pre-wedding hustle and bustle, and offers a wonderful opportunity to finally relax and unwind before the big day.
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is held immediately following the ceremony rehearsal on the eve of the wedding. Tradition has also usually led the hosting responsibilities to the groom’s parents, however, there aren’t any hard and fast rules about who can host the occasion. The bride and groom, close friends or other immediate family members of the bride may host if they wish to.
The rehearsal dinner is usually set in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. For certain guests, this may be their first opportunity to meet each other and become acquainted. The intimate tone of the dinner will usually have everyone at ease and mingling freely amongst one another, eager to get acquainted. The perfect setting for this dinner could include the host and hostess’ home, a favorite restaurant or a hotel. If those hosting wish to hold the dinner in their home, it might be a good idea for them to have it catered, as this would allow them to enjoy their guests and the happy to-be-weds, rather than spend the entire evening running in and out of the kitchen. If the dinner will be held at a restaurant or hotel, reservations should be made with plenty of time in advance and scheduled at a time that will easily coordinate into place following the ceremony rehearsal. A good idea is to contact the clergy and ask how long the ceremony rehearsal typically runs. Reservations for the dinner can then be made accordingly.
The guest list should include the officiant, parents of the bride and groom, grandparents of the bride and groom, the attendants and their spouses or significant others. Many brides and grooms also extend an invitation to close out-of-town family members or friends. This opportunity will allow you both to spend an extra, memorable evening with guests who have come from out-of-town, especially if you will both be heading off for your honeymoon immediately after the wedding. Informal, written invitations are certainly one of the best ways for those hosting the dinner to get the details passed along to the guests. A phone call is also appropriate as long as all the important details are discussed when calling. Be specific about the time, the location and directions to the dinner.
During the rehearsal dinner, the father of the groom or whomever is hosting the get-together will traditionally make a toast to the bride and groom, followed by a few words to thank the guests that attended and/or any other sentiments he may feel is appropriate. Following his toast, any other guests may wish to make a toast to the couple as well. The dinner is also a perfect time for the bride and groom to give out their attendant’s gifts if they have not already done so.
The evening will be a wonderful time of laughter, toasting, reminiscing and talking with those who are nearest and dearest in your lives. Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the good times on film to enjoy in the years to come. Most importantly, relax, enjoy yourselves and be sure to let the dinner wind down at a reasonable hour so that everyone present, especially the bride and groom, will receive adequate rest before the big day.