Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Guide: Who Pays, Attends, & More!
Are you planning a wedding rehearsal dinner or just curious what to expect? Our ultimate guide to rehearsal dinners includes everything from who pays, who needs to be invited, what to wear, and how to decorate!
Planning the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner: Questions Answered
Planning a wedding rehearsal dinner doesn’t have to be complicated! Make sure you choose a great location, consider your budget as you plan, and invite all the wedding couple’s favorite people. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about rehearsal dinner planning and etiquette!
1) What is a Rehearsal Dinner?
A rehearsal dinner is a celebration right before the wedding. It’s called a rehearsal dinner because it takes place on the same day that everyone rehearses their roles for the wedding ceremony. The rehearsal usually involves bridesmaids and groomsmen practicing the timing of when to walk down the aisle and where to stand near the couple. After the rehearsal, everyone has a nice dinner together to celebrate!
2) Who to Invite to the Rehearsal Dinner
Everyone involved in the wedding ceremony typically attends the rehearsal to ensure they know what to do on the big day. Generally, all of the people at the rehearsal should also be invited to the rehearsal dinner.
The first group you need to invite to the rehearsal dinner is the wedding party. If you have the space, you should let them bring their wedding dates. Close family of the couple should also be invited - parents, siblings, etc. The flower girl and/or ring bearer will probably be at the ceremony rehearsal. If you're inviting the kids, make sure you count them as well as their parents in your numbers for dinner.
You may also want to extend an invite to the wedding officiant, especially if the officiant is someone who the bride and/or groom are close with like a religious leader they grew up with, a friend, or a family member. After these people, you can use your own judgement based on your budget and the space you have available. You may want to invite some extended family members or people who traveled long distances to attend the wedding.
3) Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner & Hosts?
The groom’s parents traditionally plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. Most often, this involves making a reservation at a nice restaurant and picking up the bill for the whole group. If the groom’s parents aren’t able to take care of the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s parents, or anyone else close to the couple should offer to take care of it. A group of close friends could also choose to pick up the bill and split it, so no one person is paying for everything.
4) When is the Rehearsal Dinner & When to Send Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
The rehearsal dinner is typically the night before the wedding. This timing is especially convenient to wedding party members who are coming from out of town and staying only for a few days. You’ll want to send out invitations as soon as you can after wedding invitations are sent out. It’s important to give guests as much time as you can to make sure they can fit the dinner into their schedule. You could even include the rehearsal dinner invitation in the main wedding invitation envelope!
5) What Happens at a Rehearsal Dinner?
The main event at a rehearsal dinner is the meal but there are a few other tasks that you can complete while you have everyone together. One common event at rehearsal dinner is toasts. Typically, the hosts of the rehearsal dinner will give their own toast, then the couple will give toasts since they most likely won’t do one at the wedding.
If a lot of friends and family want to give toasts at the wedding, you could choose to let some of them give toasts at the rehearsal dinner instead to cut down on wedding-day toasts. The rehearsal dinner is also a great time for the bride and groom to give gifts to your wedding party, parents, and anyone else.
6) Do You Need a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?
All aspects of the wedding are entirely up to the wedding couple. If they’d rather skip the rehearsal dinner, they’re welcome to do so. However, they should consider the rehearsal dinner an important event to consider. The rehearsal dinner is valuable because it gives the wedding party time to spend together before the wedding. It also gives the couple the opportunity to show their appreciation for everyone who is helping out with their big day!
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Wedding rehearsal dinner invitation designs vary from minimalistic to ornate. Just make sure you get them sent out with plenty of time for guests to plan on attending! Rehearsal dinner invitations should be sent out at least a couple months before the wedding, maybe even within the wedding invite. The easiest way to get the perfect rehearsal dinner invitations is to purchase a template online and customize it yourself! You could also order hand-made invitations if it fits into your budget. Below are some ideas!
1) “The Night Before” Rehearsal Dinner Invitation
Go simple with this minimalist rehearsal dinner invitation. This is an entirely editable template. Simply download the file and use the Templett website to edit and fill in important details. You don’t need to download special software, just use the website in your browser. You can choose to print these at home, have them professionally printed, or email them as a digital file.
2) Boho Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Template
This rehearsal dinner invitation template is made to fit a boho aesthetic. The design features pampas grass in beige and terracotta colors with two modern high-class fonts. Use the Templett website to customize the colors, design, and text. Then send this invitation out to all your rehearsal dinner guests!
3) Black Modern Rehearsal Dinner Invitation
This black-background rehearsal dinner invitation is sleek and minimalist. This is a great option if you have a contemporary sense of style. As with the other templates, simply download, customize, edit the details, and print!
Simple Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Decor
Your rehearsal dinner will likely be at a nice restaurant with its own decor. You may want to bring your own touches to customize the dinner space. A few extra details go a long way! Just make sure the decor will complement the restaurant’s decor as well as the bride and groom’s taste. Below are some simple decor additions that will enhance the rehearsal dinner. These ideas are all personalized for the bride and groom’s big day!
1) Acrylic Rehearsal Dinner Welcome Sign
Add this welcome sign to your rehearsal dinner entrance to greet your guests on their arrival. This customized, hand lettered, acrylic sign is handmade just for you. You can choose between clear, frosted, opaque, or painted acrylic. This sign also comes in different color options.
2) Personalized Rehearsal Dinner Napkin Tag
An easy way to elevate your rehearsal dinner is by adding napkin tags to your place settings! These high quality tags are personalized with your information, printed, and shipped to you. They are available in 8 different colors with 3 lines of customizable text and information.
3) Custom Pet Rehearsal Dinner Cocktail Napkins
Did you know you can have your pet printed on custom rehearsal dinner cocktail napkins? This is an adorable way to Incorporate your fur baby into your wedding details. Choose from a selection of napkin and ink color options to customize these napkins to fit your event colors.
4) “The Perfect Blend” Coffee Bag Rehearsal Dinner Favor
You and your future spouse are “the perfect blend” so why not give your guests a nice blend of coffee? These personalized coffee favor bags are are a cute and affordable wedding rehearsal dinner favor. These baggies don’t include the coffee but they are easily resealable, airtight, grease-proof, and hold 2 ounces of your favorite coffee blend.
What to Wear to the Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner is typically a semi-formal event. If you’re the bride or groom, feel free to dress up as much as you want! If you’re a guest, make sure you look nice enough for photos without outshining the wedding couple.
Rehearsal Dinner Dresses for the Bride
If you’re a bride wondering what to wear to your rehearsal dinner, don’t be afraid to go bold! Wear anything that makes you feel great, will look good in photos with your loved ones, and lets you stand out as the guest of honor. Whether you like long dresses or short, pick a dress that suits your style without outshining your wedding dress.
1) Mermaid Style Rehearsal Dinner Dress
This pencil mermaid gown is a beautiful and elegant option for your rehearsal dinner. We love the form-fitting shape of this dress. This dress features delicate spaghetti straps, a sweetheart neckline, a v-back, and hits at mid-calf. The gathered material at the bottom of the skirt adds a dramatic touch to this gorgeous dress!
2) Puffed Sleeve Rehearsal Dinner Dress
Looking to really make a statement with your rehearsal dinner dress? Check out this short yet dramatic white mini dress! This dress features an organza skirt, a draped taffeta bodice, and large romantic bows on the sleeves. If you have a playful sense of style you’ll love this fun and feminine option.
3) White Bridesmaid Dresses for Rehearsal Dinner
If you’re having trouble finding a formal dress option for your rehearsal dinner, why not try a white bridesmaid dress? You are the bride so you’ll want to wear something nice for your rehearsal dinner. Bridesmaid dresses are made from high-quality fabrics, come in many different cuts and styles, and are made to suit upscale events. Choose from our wide selection of affordable and classic white bridesmaid dresses to find an options that suits your style!
What to Wear to the Rehearsal Dinner as a Guest
A general rule of thumb for rehearsal dinner is semi-formal attire. You can wear anything from dress pants, a nice skirt, to a long dress as long as it’s appropriate for the venue! Most rehearsal dinners take place at fine dining restaurant. You’ll want to wear something you feel confident in, can sit comfortably in, and is fitting for the venue.
Helpful tips for choosing your rehearsal dinner outfit:
1) Consider Location: If the rehearsal dinner is at a fancy restaurant, make sure you won’t look underdressed. If it's at a more casual place, you could wear a short dress or something more relaxed.
2) Don’t Outshine the Bride: Wear something nice but not flashy. The couple are the stars of the show so don’t wear something overly bright, sparkly, or bold.
3) Consider a Little Black Dress: A little black dress is appropriate for almost any occasion. Black is a debated option for the wedding, but it’s perfect for the rehearsal dinner!
4) Pick a Nice Fabric: Silk, satin, velvet, and chiffon are all great options for the rehearsal dinner. You’ll be surprised how much a high-quality fabric can elevate your outfit.
5) Don’t Forget Accessories: Accessories are another way to improve your rehearsal dinner outfit. If your outfit is basic on its own, a nice necklace or belt could create your look.
6) Avoid Jeans: You want to look semi-formal for the rehearsal dinner, so jeans won’t work. Unless you really elevate your jeans, they aren’t appropriate for this event!
7) Consult the Invitation: there might be a dress code included in the details of the event. If the invitation says formal, be sure to dress appropriately.
8) Don’t Wear White: Like at the actual wedding, you don’t want to distract from the bride. Since the bride will probably wear white to the rehearsal dinner, you should avoid it so she can stand out.
How to Plan a Memorable Rehearsal Dinner
Planning the wedding rehearsal dinner is a big responsibility, but it can be fun! Before you get started, have an open conversation with the wedding couple about the dinner plans, ideas, guest list, and budget. The best ways to make the rehearsal dinner memorable are by choosing a unique theme and venue!
The theme could be as simple as matching the color palette and aesthetic of the wedding. You could also incorporate the bride and groom's culture or favorite hobbies into their rehearsal dinner. As for the venue, you could choose a restaurant that is meaningful to the couple, a non-traditional outdoor venue like the beach or a poolside, or a rooftop bar with an unforgettable view.
Use your creativity to combine the bride and groom’s favorite foods, drinks, and places into a night they won’t forget!