The rehearsal dinner is the dinner on the night preceding the wedding, regardless of when the ‘wedding ceremony rehearsal’ is held. It has become a common tradition in weddings, but the couple is not obligated to host it if they do not want to. But if skipped, the couple would lose the wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family.
The rules of planning a rehearsal dinner are not clearly defined. The absence of guidelines gives flexibility to the planning effort. This flexibility is what makes the rehearsal dinner planning a fun challenge.
Rehearsal dinner is typically a night of relaxation with family and friends in a casual atmosphere with no set agenda and no dos and don’ts dictated by tradition. Its purpose is to thank all those friends and relatives who are actively involved in the marriage ceremony.
The first question in planning a rehearsal dinner is who will be invited to it? The answer is all those close friends and relatives associated with the wedding ceremony except those who live far away. These include parents, grandparents, siblings, and their spouses, children of the bride and groom from a previous marriage if they are not too young, spouses of the parents (if they are remarried), and bridesmaids and groomsmen. But the list of invitees does not end there. The couple is free to invite any others they like.
The next question is what is to be done during the rehearsal dinner. First a meeting should be held at the site of the ceremony where the logistics of the ceremony would be run through. This should be followed by sojourn to a restaurant, hotel, or catering hall where everyone would partake of a delicious meal together. The whole atmosphere should be a relaxed one.
Opportunity for offering informal toasts to the couple is provided. Guests would be encouraged to offer words of wisdom to the couple. While the meal is in progress, the couple would thank all the guests for their love and continuing support. They may further show their appreciation by presenting them wedding gifts to show your thanks for their support of your big day.
Planning a rehearsal dinner and paying its expenses are generally the responsibility of the parents of the groom. However, if the future bride and groom are both well off, they can take on the responsibility of organizing the rehearsal dinner. In the latter case, they can display their talents, personalities, and tastes to the guests.