The rehearsal dinner is a wonderful time to fellowship with your loved ones the evening before the wedding day. It’s an opportunity for the bride and groom to say “thank you!” to all those who have given of their time and energy toward the wedding day. It’s also a time when those in the wedding party can get better acquainted.
Although there is no set ‘requirement’ to hold a rehearsal dinner, there are few justifications for not holding a dinner. Everyone has to eat anyway, so why not spend the time together and enjoy each others’ company?
Inviting your guests is as easy as including an invitation card in your wedding invitation. It can even be something as simple as a postcard printed from your home computer. Some couples prefer to send out a separate invite, but if cost is a concern, it is perfectly fine to include it when mailing your wedding invitations.
The planning of the rehearsal dinner usually falls to the groom’s mother. This gives her a chance to be included in the wedding festivities. In addition, it’s a way she can show her love and affection for her son and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
Many couples nowadays are footing the bill for all of the costs associated with their wedding, and therefore, the rehearsal dinner would be included in their initial budget. However, if the couple tends toward traditional practices, then the groom’s parents would normally pay for the dinner. Sometimes, both sets of parents decide to host the dinner together.
On this special eve of their wedding day, the bride and groom can use this time to toast their families, loved ones and bridal party. Oft times, others will also offer toasts as well. Now and then, this is a time of teasing the bride and groom, but it is (usually) done in good taste. Depending on the time of the dinner and whether or not young children are in attendance, you might include games or other activities such as pool or a home-movie. This evening can made even more special by giving your bridesmaids and bridegrooms the gifts you and your spouse have lovingly selected for them.
The question is often asked, “Do I have to invite out-of-town guests?” These days, families are, many times, far apart and have to travel to special events. Travel may include a few nights’ stay as well. While it is not “required” for you to invite those coming in from out of town, it would be considered a pleasant gesture. If you do decide not to invite them, you could include a list of your favorite restaurants in the area so they can make easy choices in a city/town that is unfamiliar to them.
If cost is an issue, set up a potluck and barbecue in the back yard! The dinner can be informal and fun and you’ll still have the chance to say “thank you” to all of the people who helped to make your wedding day a cherished one.