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Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner: Step-by-Step Guide and Tips

Posted in: Wedding Planning
Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner: Step-by-Step Guide and Tips

Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner: Step-by-Step Guide and Tips

As a bride, wedding planning takes time. The dress, the venue, the guest list, the food – the list is never ending! Not only do you have to plan the wedding day itself, but you also have to plan the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding celebratory event that allows the bride’s and groom’s close family members and friends to meet and get to know each other before the wedding day. With months of planning and anticipation until the big day, the rehearsal dinner is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones in an intimate and comfortable setting. Don’t know where to start? Follow this step-by-step guide with the tips you need to know when planning your rehearsal dinner:

1- The Venue

The first priority in planning your rehearsal dinner is choosing and booking the venue. It is best to secure a venue at least 3-4 months before the date. When deciding on a venue, take these factors into consideration:

  • What is the size of your guest list?  If you have a large guest list, you should probably choose a venue with enough space to host all guests comfortably.
  • What style and atmosphere do you want?
  • Are you looking for casual or elegant?
  • Are you looking for large and grand, or small and intimate?

Ensure that your venue matches the atmosphere you are trying to create. You want both your guests and you to feel happy and relaxed. So, whether you prefer a restaurant, event facility, or your own home, choose a venue that makes sense for YOU.

2- The Date

The date of the rehearsal dinner is normally the night before the wedding day, some time (adding “some time” or “right” slows the sentence down, it sort of jumped and I had to reread it for it to make sense) after the rehearsal of the wedding ceremony. We recommend that you host the event early to give your guests enough time to rest and prepare for the wedding day. Every wedding is different, so you should choose to host the rehearsal dinner on the day and time that fits your wedding schedule.

3- The Guest List

Traditionally, you should always invite the parents, immediate family members, the wedding party and their spouses or dates, flower girls and ring bearers and their parents, as well as the officiant and his or her spouse. In addition, the guest list might be longer if you include distant family members, friends and out-of-town guests.

4- The Style & Setting

The style and setting of the rehearsal dinner should complement, but not outshine, the formality and significance of the wedding ceremony and reception. The rehearsal dinner is usually more informal and intimate than the wedding day reception. Many rehearsal dinners are hosted in restaurants and event facilities, while others may be held at the home of the bride, groom, or family member. The style really depends on the budget and size of the guest list.  Whether formal or casual, big or small, the atmosphere should reflect the style of the bride and groom.

5- The Menu

The rehearsal dinner menu should reflect the type of venue, size of the guest list, and style of the dinner. Menu possibilities include a buffet, a-la-carte, or hors d’oeuvres. Give yourself enough time to discuss and negotiate the costs of the menu in advance of placing the order.

6- The Invitations

Written invitations for the rehearsal dinner are not a must-have, but a nice-to-have. They should be mailed no later than the wedding invitations so that guests can coordinate their schedules and travel plans accordingly. This is especially important for out-of-town guests. The invitations should reflect the style of the dinner. For a fancier event with a longer guest list, formal written invitations are expected. For a casual or more intimate event with a smaller guest list, you can either call the guests directly or send online invitations. It is very important to inform your guests of what to expect, where the location is, and how to dress appropriately. Before the invitations are mailed out, ensure that you set timely RSVPs so that you can plan according to the total guest attendance. For the rehearsal dinner, plan to offer moments for socializing between guests, a gift offering for the bridal party, groom party, and parents of the bride and groom, and a toast as the dinner comes to an end. Plan for the rehearsal dinner to reflect YOUR personality and style. After all, your wedding should be all about you. The Roof Garden Galveston is an elegant event facility for wedding events and private parties. To learn about the Roof Garden’s venue facilities for your rehearsal dinner, click here.

About Roof Garden

The Roof Garden is a charming, vintage wedding venue and sophisticated corporate/private event facility located in the heart of The Strand overlooking Galveston’s Historic National Landmark District. Our elegant, signature Galveston architecture creates a warm, inviting atmosphere your guests are sure to enjoy.  Learn more about our venue and view facility photos to understand the true essence of the Roof Garden.