21 September 16  |  Wedding Events   |  

How to Plan Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

A wedding rehearsal dinner is a traditional event that lets the two families get acquainted in a more relaxed setting before the big day comes. The idea is to make everyone involved feel comfortable with each other on what can be a hectic occasion. It’s just one of the many wedding events a couple will need to plan for.

When To Hold Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

The wedding rehearsal dinner is normally held the night before the wedding, usually in the early evening after all participants have finished their workday. If your wedding is planned for a Sunday you have options with scheduling the dinner on the preceding Saturday. If attendees can’t make it on Friday evening you might consider a Saturday brunch rather than dinner. Some families opt to have it two days before the wedding to allow an additional day for preparation.

Who Should Host?

Traditionally the event is hosted by the groom’s family. The bride’s family or the couple’s friends may also host or contribute to the event depending on circumstances. The couple is really the guests of honor, so whoever’s hosting should make the plans but ensure that the dinner suits the tastes and style of the couple and the venue.

Who Should You Invite?

The rehearsal dinner should include everyone who will be involved with the ceremony. This includes the wedding party, their significant others and any immediate family or close friends. It’s also a courteous and appropriate gesture to invite the official who will perform the ceremony and their spouse.

What Kind of Dinner?

Family gathering at wedding rehearsal dinner.

The type of dinner and even the menu can be as formal or informal as you like, from a banquet to a pizza dinner. It shouldn’t overshadow the marriage ceremony to follow. It should be a less formal and relaxed occasion, so if you’re planning an informal ceremony make the wedding rehearsal dinner less formal. This includes the menu, the decoration, the attire and any extras like gift exchanges, music, dancing or alcohol. Some families have a “pre-wedding” cake tradition, also known as the “groom’s cake.” If sending invitations, be sure to inform guests what to expect.

Choosing a Location

The venue should be selected several months before the actual dinner, and after other details have been worked out. It really depends on the budget of the hosts, the size of the gathering and the level of formality expected. A backyard get-together or picnic area pavilion could be more appropriate than a rented hall. Other options might include restaurants or a fun beach party. Anything is appropriate if it makes the couple and their guests happy and comfortable.

If you need help planning either the rehearsal dinner or the entire wedding experience, Golden Ocala can provide for your needs. The benefits of planning your ceremony here include fine dining and luxurious facilities to accommodate all of your guests. We also provide wedding packages that cover your rehearsal dinner, professional photos, bridal showers and bachelor parties. Contact Julianne Cuomo, our Director of Celebrations, to start planning for your special day!