Rehearsal dinners have truly morphed over the years. They used to simply be a nice dinner post rehearsal the day before the main event! These days, however, it seems like rehearsal dinners can be a big big deal. Whether you’re hosting a huge soiree or an intimate gathering, a full blown catered dinner or simply a cocktail party, we’ve got you covered. Check out our rehearsal dinner planning tips and advice below!

The Guest List

First and foremost, you will want to decide who is invited to your rehearsal dinner. Typically you don’t want to invite your whole wedding guest list. You invite anyone involved in your actual wedding rehearsal and their dates. This includes family, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and sometimes even your officiant! We would consider these your “must invite” guest list.

It’s also courteous to invite any close out of town guests, but definitely not necessary or expected. One of our suggestions for handling out of town guests is hosting a short cocktail hour before or after your dinner at the main guest hotel or a bar nearby. That way the out-of-towners feel included and you can keep a more intimate rehearsal dinner vibe. Really though, the guest list is totally up to you. Your wedding guests probably won’t be upset if they’re not invited to your rehearsal dinner.

Where to Host

Picking out a fabulous restaurant or choosing an amazing caterer has got to pretty high on your rehearsal dinner to do list. This event is truly kicking off your wedding weekend! First decide if you want to host it in a restaurant or a separate venue. Have a fave go to dinner spot? Ask if they would accommodate your party. Have a killer backyard? Look into having caterers over to yours for dinner under the stars. Fell in love with a small venue that couldn’t host your full guest count? Check out if they are available for your rehearsal dinner. There are tons of different options when it comes to venues.

What to Eat

This is probably our favorite part of the rehearsal dinner planning process. What could be better than the food aspect of your dinner? It’s the main event! If you opt for a rehearsal dinner hosted at a restaurant, you’re all set. Just make sure you talk with the venue about the menu. Will it be a fixed menu or will you have your guests order off of the regular menu on your dime. Either way is totally fine! If it’s fixed, we suggest asking them if they can do some of your faves. It is kicking off your weekend, after all! Usually places are super accommodating.

Don’t Forget…

  • … to plan this event! Don’t leave it until the last minute.
  • … to send out invites. People won’t know to just show up to this even if they’re part of the rehearsal.
  • … to use this as a way to thank those closest to your for all of the support they have given you not only throughout the planning process but throughout your lives!
  • … to plan a few words. The couple typically kicks off the rehearsal dinner by saying a few words. Like we said above, thank everyone there and make any last minute announcements about the wedding day!
  • … to bring any bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts that you don’t want to dole out on the wedding day.