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The Night Before “I Do”

With all the craziness leading up to weddings, a lot of people tend to overlook or forget about the rehearsal dinner until after the wedding planning is completely done. Once the rehearsal dinner is on the radar many questions arise…we want to help you answer a few of the common questions regarding the night before “I Do!”

When do we have the rehearsal dinner? Most couples have the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding directly following the rehearsal (ceremony run-through). Every now and then a couple will decide to do a late lunch rehearsal dinner and then head to the rehearsal. Just depends on what your schedule is like.

When should we send out rehearsal dinner invitations? We recommend sending out rehearsal dinner invitations 30-60 days before the event. Most wedding invitations will go out 8-10 weeks before the wedding (56-70 days). So the rehearsal dinner invitations are a good way to follow the wedding invitations so that couples/families invited to both can plan to be there the night before as well. We do not recommend putting rehearsal dinner information in the wedding invitation suite. Even though the rehearsal dinner is part of the wedding weekend…. they are two separate events with two separate guest lists.

Who should be invited to the rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner guest list can include:

Couple getting married Immediate family

Wedding party & their dates/spouses Officiant and spouse

Or it can be a larger event:

Couple getting married Immediate family *Extended family *All out of town wedding guests (or at least those in town the night before)

Wedding party & their dates/spouses Officiant and spouse

Who pays for the rehearsal dinner? Typically, the groom’s parents organize (and pay for) the rehearsal dinner. This allows the groom’s mother to show that she knows how to throw a party too! Some couples have started paying for their own rehearsal dinners…especially if the bride and groom’s parents are paying for the wedding.

When should we start planning our rehearsal dinner? As soon as you can! Generally, rehearsal dinners are booked at least three to six months in advance. Some places will give you a discount for booking really early and others will not allow you to book large parties until a designated time before the event (example: we only take large party reservations 2 months out from the date).

I am having cake at the reception, should we have cake at the rehearsal dinner, too? You don’t have to but you certainly can! There really isn’t a rule about this. Rehearsal dinners can be a great place to showcase what you and your significant other love…pie, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, etc.!

Should our rehearsal dinner be formal? You don’t want your rehearsal dinner to exceed the formality of your wedding.

Rehearsal Dinner Do’s:

Do have toasts: The rehearsal dinner is great place to allow people to give toasts. Most people limit the wedding reception toasts to Maid of Honor, Best Man and Father of the Bride. So the rehearsal dinner is great time to allow Parents of the Groom, family members and your wedding party a chance to tell the couple how special they are to them (or share embarrassing stories…those are always fun)!

Do hand out gifts: This is a great time to distribute thank you gifts to the bridesmaids, groomsmen and other people involved in helping your wedding day become a reality.

Do allow performances: Readings, Poems, Songs, Stories, Games, etc. This is a time to have fun and relax with everyone before the big day. (We had a family plan a whole singing production for the bride and groom. It was a complete surprise and made the night so memorable.)

Do allow presentations: A lot of couples chose to have videos/pictures from the bride and groom’s lives. This is always fun for guests to watch and enjoy during dinner and toasts.

Sometimes rehearsal dinner planning can be a headache...especially after planning an entire wedding. MK Event Boutique offers rehearsal dinner planning (Stressed out Mother of the Groom? Shoot us an email!) & rehearsal dinner planning is included in our Full Service Wedding Planning Package! Interested? Email us today:

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