Rehearsal Dinner Tips

When it comes to planning the rehearsal dinner the bride and groom generally have a lot of questions, such as who hosts? Who do we invite? what should the decorations look like? when should the invitations be sent out? and etc. Below we have taken the questions that are frequently asked to help you when it comes time to start planning.

Who hosts the dinner?
The rehearsal dinner is customarily hosted by the groom’s family.


What should the style of the rehearsal dinner be?
The last thing you want to do is take away or compete with the wedding reception. Pick a style or theme for the rehearsal dinner that is in contrast to the style of the reception.

Who should be invited?
The invitees should include the wedding party, allowing them to each bring a plus one guest, it should also include any out of town guests and close family members. The officiant should also be included on the list.

What should the structure of the night look like?

  • The night usually starts off with a cocktail reception that lasts from 30 minutes to 1 hour. This allows time for the actual rehearsal attendees to get there while the out of town guests or any other guests arrive.
  • Next dinner is served.
  • After dinner a speech from the groom’s father, welcoming his new daughter-in-law into the family. Welcoming the bride’s family and making any appropriate introductions. This is also a good time for any speeches from the groom’s family members that may be close to the groom such as an uncle, godparents, etc. (For the toasts champagne can be poured or guests may use their regular drink).
  • It is also important for the bride and groom to do a public thank you to their wedding party at the rehearsal, it is also a good time to hand out any gifts you have for the wedding party.
  • Once the speeches are complete, it is time for dessert and social time.

What types of drinks should be served?
It is appropriate to host some type of beverage service. This can be either a full-hosted bar, hosted beer and wine or just wine served with dinner. Don’t forget about the children that may be invited to the rehearsal make sure there is a non-alcoholic option.

Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo is an example of a unique location.

Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo is an example of a unique location.

Where should the dinner be held?
There are a lot of great and unique locations for the rehearsal dinner. Pick a place that is close to the actual rehearsal, or a place that the bride and groom love. It is nice if the restaurant has a private room just for your event.

When should the invitations be sent out?
Invitations should be sent out 4 weeks before the dinner. They should always be sent out after the wedding invitations and never with the wedding invitations.

Extra Tips

  • If children are in attendance make sure there is a “child- friendly” option. Have those meals served during the salad course or as soon as the buffet is opened.
  • If the rehearsal dinner is the night before the wedding, remember to wrap it up early so everyone can rest for the big day!

Photo Credit to Amy Cunningham Photography