Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Basics

Today, we are giving you the rundown on everything you need to know about a rehearsal dinner. Whether you are planning one or attending one, these are important details to know. Rehearsal dinners are typically held the night before a wedding. This is when the two families gather for dinner to enjoy each other’s company before the chaos of the wedding begins. This is an important night. It is the beginning to the wedding. But, since this is not actually the wedding, it is a great opportunity for the bride, the groom, and their families to relax and enjoy themselves together, as the family they will soon be. Although, we cannot start the party without other important details such as who’s hosting, who to invite, where to have it, how to invite guests, when to send invitations, etc. Luckily, we have all the answers you need to all of these questions.


Don’t let the name fool you — it’s not just a rehearsal. Here’s everything you need to know about this prewedding extravaganza.

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What It Is

The rehearsal dinner is traditionally held the night before the wedding, most often a Friday, and usually starts at about seven P.M. This leaves time for attendants who can’t take the day off to get out of work to attend the rehearsal itself at around five thirty, and get to the dinner. For a Sunday or holiday wedding, you have more options. Since the rehearsal dinner has become more of a celebration in its own right than just a formality, some couples are holding the event two nights prior to the wedding. This way, there’s more time to relax, recuperate, and get ready for the main event. If most attendants won’t be arriving until late on the eve of your wedding, a breakfast celebration the morning of the wedding is also acceptable (as is skipping the rehearsal meal altogether!).

What It’s For

The dinner is a great opportunity for your two families to get to know each other before the wedding day (if they don’t already know each other well) in a not-too-hectic setting. Take advantage of the relaxed environment — come wedding night, you’ll most likely be pulled in too many directions to put in any real quality time with anyone. The ultimate goal here is to relieve some prewedding tension and make everyone invited feel comfortable with the impending nuptials while not upstaging the big event.

Who Hosts

Traditionally, the groom’s family organizes and pays for this fete, but you two might take matters into your own hands, or both sets of parents may choose to do the honors together. While you as the honored couple may have input on the overall direction, if the groom’s family hosts, you should really try to let his mom and dad be the creative directors of the evening. If, on the other hand, you are hosting, you get to choose the location and style, so you’ll want to give yourselves enough time to scout venues in order to book one four to six months in advance.

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