Wedding Wednesday! - Rehearsal Dinner Ettique

With my Flower Girl, Lottie

A big part of our wedding weekend, was our Wedding Rehearsal followed by our Rehearsal Dinner! Both events went off without a hitch, and provided so many memories. We hosted our wedding party and family at a local Italian Restaurant, Zbardhis. We mailed invitations prior, and included reminders in the hotel guest bags. We rented the entire outside patio, decided upon a menu with 3 options (beef, chicken, and vegetarian) complete with salad, dessert, and drinks (we included beer, wine, and liquor) We started off with a cocktail hour, move into dinner, and then into a toast, and passing out of gifts the Mister and I had for our wedding party and parents.

Now that I dabble in Wedding planning on the side, the Rehearsal and subsequent Dinner always raise a ton of questions. I will do my best to offer some wedding ettique advise to common asked questions below. ..

Who pays for the rehearsal dinner?
Traditionally this is a cost that the grooms family pays for. However, the couple needs to access their wedding budget, and requests of the family when making this decision. It is important that the couple be transparent in their conversations with family in their expectations and dreams for their dinner. Often times family will contribute, but will not cover the "extras" or the bride and grooms family will co-host.

How can the bride and groom help, if parents are hosting?
offer recommendations for places, time, and style. Offer names and addresses for the guest list.
Overall, be open to assisting as needed. 

When should you hose the rehearsal dinner?
Most people opt to have their dinner following the wedding rehearsal the day prior to the wedding. However, you have to choose a time that works for you. Sometimes a rehearsal lunch,   or dinner before you leave down, for detestation wedding, etc work best for a couple

Do I have to mail formal invitations for the Rehearsal Dinner?
This depends on the dinner itself and the feel of your wedding weekend. If it is a casual affair and does not request a headcount prior, then you aren't obligated to send official invitations. You will however, need to determine how you will let those you are inviting know prior. Evites, or emails work if you choose to go this route You will most likely need an RSVP so that you can provide a headcount to the caterer or restaurant.  If your dinner is a more formal affair then invitations are a must. You can include them in wedding invitations, mail them separately or include in hotel bags.

What are the rules for who to invite? Do I just invite relatives? wedding party? or do I need to invite out of town guests as well?
There are no rules. It is your day, invite who you like. I have seen the rull range on this..
  • Just the bride and groom and immediate families- to keep it intimate and keep costs down
  • Immediate families, and wedding party (including spouses) - after all they are an important part of your big day, and likely came into town early for the rehearsal 
  • All out of town guests- this can be a great option if it fits in the budget, as it will give you a chance to chat with guests and catch up before the big day! 
To toast or not to toast? Do the Bride and Groom need to give a toast? Can the MOH and Best Man toast at the Rehearsal dinner inside of the wedding? 
These are both great questions, and as like most questions - this answer will vary based on your dinner, and the feel you are going for. In most cases the parents and/or bride and groom will give a toast.
  • This is a great opportunity for parents to Congratulate the couple, and offer words of wisdom, thanks, etc. If tradition is being followed, and the grooms parents are hosting the dinner. This is the time for the Groom and his family to shine, and give a toast. They should welcome the family, and offer well wishes.
  • This is also a great time for the couple to thank those who have traveled to attend, or are taking part in their big day. 
  • Traditionally MOH and Best man speeches are given at the wedding reception, however there are exceptions to ever rule.
When toasted it is appropriate for the couple to toast back, following tradition the groom takes the lead here. He should tell his fiance that he loves her and is excited for the big day, thank the parents for all they have done, etc... At the wedding reception you are not expected to respond to toasts, but at the rehearsal you are. 

Do we need to have favors/gifts?
Just like the option for wedding favors this is up to the couple.
The rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity to distribute thank you gifts to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. (especially something that you may want them to wear/use at the wedding)

Do we need to have a slideshow, or video presentation?
this is a newer phenomenon. Video footage of with images and memories of the bride and grooms past to present can be a fun look back before looking to the future. 

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