Rehearsal dinners are one of many wedding traditions. It is about so much more than coming together to celebrate and coordinate the details of the big day. According to tradition, it holds a deeper meaning for the family.
What is a Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is a gathering of close family and the wedding party that is held the evening prior to the wedding day. It is more commonly being held a couple days prior to the wedding ceremony to allow more time between the two separate events. The rehearsal dinner is centered around celebrating the joining of two families. This is an opportunity to meet family and greet your guests. We can get caught up in the wedding planning process and lose sight of the family and the actual celebration. The rehearsal dinner is the time to relax and celebrate with the family. Take advantage of its value.
What Happens During a Rehearsal Dinner?
The rehearsal dinner usually involves a formal dinner, dessert, cocktails and some important speeches. After the cocktails are served, the groom’s father will kick off the speeches and stand to offer a special toast to his son and future daughter-in-law. The mother of the groom also offers a toast and speech to her son and future daughter-in-law. The groom will follow with a heartfelt toast to his bride and deliver a special thank you to his parents and the guests. It is also an opportunity for the bride to make a toast and thank the hosts and her guests in attendance. Toasting ceremonies are attention grabbers and set the stage for the next event. You may choose to distribute wedding party gifts, and gifts to the parents. It is also the opportunity for brides and grooms to present their wedding gifts to each other. After the last toast is made and gifts are distributed, it is a good time for announcements.
This is the time to make announcements about the wedding day. It is the perfect opportunity to focus on questions and answers, especially when it comes to your wedding party. Make sure your wedding party is aware of where they need to go, what they need to bring, and all the details they need to know to be organized for the wedding day. Make general announcements for guests about planned wedding day activities, and details related to transportation, such as pick up location and times for transportation to and from the ceremony.
Who Hosts the Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally, the groom's family will plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner party. However, couples and family members are commonly sharing the cost of the event, especially when a large rehearsal dinner is being planned. It is tradition that the groom’s parents host the party, and get all of the creative credit for planning the event. While most of the wedding details belong to the bride, this is the opportunity for the groom’s parents to have direction over the planning. If you and your partner are hosting your own rehearsal dinner, you will naturally be in charge of planning your own event.
At a minimum, the guest list for your rehearsal dinner should be your immediate family, the wedding party and their significant other. It is common courtesy to invite the officiant and their significant other to the rehearsal dinner. If you are planning a larger function, transform the dinner into a welcome celebration and include family or friends that traveled a distance to be present on your wedding day. It is a personal decision to allow your guests to bring children to the rehearsal dinner, and will probably rely heavily on the atmosphere of your chosen venue.
Choosing a Venue
A rehearsal dinner venue can be anywhere on the spectrum from casual garden party to formal ballroom. Budget will likely be a factor when planning the event. If the budget demands it, stick to an exclusive group, and plan a smaller dessert party or cocktails with the out of town guests on a different night prior to the wedding day to show appreciation. Book a venue early, and send out invitations to the rehearsal dinner shortly after the wedding invitations. Do not forget to add the dress code to the invitations. Crystal Ballroom Lake Mary is an all-inclusive event and wedding venue with a dedicated design team to create your rehearsal dinner and wedding. Work with in-house designers, planners, food managers, and connect with Crystal Ballroom vendors to create a flawless event.