How to Plan the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner | Planning Ideas for Your Rehearsal Dinner

Your wedding gown or suit is hung up and ready to get worn. All the wedding planning is done, and loved ones have made their way to see you walk down the aisle. As everyone gathers in anticipation of the big event, hosting the perfect rehearsal dinner is a great way to get everyone together. 

The rehearsal dinner has several benefits. It is the chance to get family from both you and your partner’s side of the family mingling and the wedding party can get to know each other. Most importantly, it is a special time where your inner circle can gather to celebrate your upcoming union.

Your rehearsal dinner can be whatever you want it to be. A formal dinner at a fancy restaurant or celebrate with a pool party BBQ in the backyard. You get all the creative freedom for your rehearsal dinner. Let’s explore the best tips on planning the perfect rehearsal dinner!

The Budget

Traditionally, the groom’s parents will cover the costs of a rehearsal dinner, but times have changed. Many couples add it to the cost of the wedding as part of their expenses. When budgeting for your rehearsal dinner, consider the following:

  • Set the budget: How much do you intend to spend on the dinner?
  • Formality: A formal dinner will cost more than a casual one. It can affect the location and price per plate.
  • Guestlist: Most couples limit their rehearsal dinner to their wedding party and immediate family. If you wish to extend the invite to other loved ones, the cost of your dinner will increase.
  • Location and menu: Popular options are restaurants and hotels. When choosing the location, at the same time, select the menu and get the price per head. That way, you know the total cost and can set money aside for décor

The Venue

When choosing the venue to host the perfect rehearsal dinner, one of the deciding factors depends on the size of the event. You might want an intimate dinner in a small banquet room and extend the invite to a small group of people or plan to go all out and rent a hall.

Consider the location of the venue. Since the dinner takes place after the rehearsal, you want the venue to be close by for everyone’s convenience. Lastly, have you settled on a theme? If you want a rustic style rehearsal dinner, opt for a beautiful barn next to a vintage farmhouse. Maybe you want a secluded beach house for a boho-themed rehearsal dinner. Your opportunities are endless!

Finalize Your Invite List

Now that you have your budget, venue, and theme for your rehearsal venue, you can start that all-important invite list. Traditionally, you will have your immediate family, bridal party, and their plus one. Although, many couples invite their closest friends and out-of-town family members that have come to witness your big day. 

Couples might invite their officiant to their rehearsal dinner. To minimize your invite list, you can opt to have a close relative or friend officiate your wedding also.

Once you have the date, venue, and guest list, send out the formal invitations shortly after the wedding invitations. You want the wedding party to have the rehearsal fresh in their minds, so plan for the day before or the closest date to the wedding.

Plan the Décor 

Planning your décor for the rehearsal dinner goes hand in hand with your theme and venue. Switch things up and choose a theme and décor that is opposite to the wedding. If you are having a magnificent wedding with all the bells and whistles of formality, opt for a more relaxed and informal rehearsal dinner on the beach or poolside. 

You can change the color scheme, flowers, and décor. It will surprise all your guests on the wedding day when they see something completely different. Keep the floral arrangements and décor for a farewell morning brunch with your nearest and dearest after the celebrations.

Activities for Your Rehearsal Dinner

Planning some activities for the rehearsal dinner is a great way to bring everyone together. Plan and prepare the activities, prizes, and games in advance. Don’t be shy! Ask the bridal party and/or groomsmen to help with the preparations.

  • Trivia game: Set up questions and answers about the couple in advance, such as where they met, who is the better cook, and who is the goofy one in the relationship. Arrange the guests into small groups, and if they know the answer, they must clink their glasses together. The winning group gets a prize such as a $5 Starbucks gift card or crown to wear for the rest of the night.
  • Slideshow: Arrange a slideshow with pictures of the happy couples. Use embarrassing childhood photos or awkward preteen looks for a nostalgic moment that your loved ones will smile over.
  • Conversation starter: Truth or lie is a great ice breaker your loved ones will enjoy. Each guest must tell a story, and everyone must guess if it is a lie or the truth. You get to learn something new (or not) about your nearest and dearest. If you have a big rehearsal dinner planned, each table can play with those at the same table, so it doesn’t take up too much time.

The Perfect Rehearsal Dinner

Your wedding will happen soon after the rehearsal dinner, so it is important to take a moment with your loved ones. Introduce people to each other, speak to everyone individually, and share a special moment with your guests. These are the people who love and support you the most – make the most of your rehearsal dinner to connect with them.

Plan the perfect rehearsal dinner with your favorite people, good food, and drinks. Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the moment. You are about to say “I do” in a beautiful ceremony – why not kick off the celebrations to thank the ones who are there for you on your big day!