7 Things To Think About When Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner

rehearsal dinner

The average rehearsal dinners makes up about 5% of the total wedding budget.

Did you know that the average cost of a rehearsal dinner is $1,153?  Since, the average cost of a wedding is around $26,000, the average rehearsal dinner comprises about 4% to 5% of the wedding budget. I think this is a good rule of thumb when budgeting for your rehearsal dinner. However, it is not written in stone. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you want. But with that being said, this is a good place to make some cuts to your wedding budget since the rehearsal dinner shouldn’t overshadow the wedding anyway.

This week, I wanted to give you a simple guide for planning your rehearsal dinner. Here are seven aspects that you need to think about.

 

Who is going to host the rehearsal dinner?

Traditionally, it is usually the groom’s parents who host the dinner. I do not suggest breaking from this tradition if at all possible. However, sometimes there are circumstances that prevent this from being possible. Here are some alternative suggestions:

  • The bride and the groom themselves
  • Other family members or friends
  • A well respected member of the community (a church member for example)

In my opinion, a wedding that is extremely formal should have a casual rehearsal dinner. If you are going to go to the trouble of pulling out all the stops to make your wedding glamorous, then you don’t want the rehearsal dinner to overshadow the big day in the slightest.

Casual or Formal?

If your wedding is going to have a casual feel, then you really need to be careful not to overdo the big day. A formal rehearsal dinner before an informal wedding can work when you have a small and intimate gathering for your dinner. On the other hand, if you are inviting a large group of people, it would be easy to overdo it and outdo the wedding itself.

Have you sent out the invitations? 

Some people in the wedding industry argue that sending out invitations for the rehearsal dinner isn’t necessary. I agree with this in cases where the dinner is going to be very informal. But if your dinner is going to be formal, you need to send them out. Be sure to include the spouses of your guests when you send your invitations out.

Who do you invite to the rehearsal dinner?

This is something else that is not written in stone. With the economy struggling and wedding budgets trimming, many brides and grooms are choosing to keep the rehearsal dinner small. Many couples are choosing to only invite immediate family members (parents of the brides and grooms) while others are electing to keep it between themselves, the groomsmen, and the bridesmaids. However, it is a good practice to invite the officiant and his/her spouse. But inviting guests from out of town is not really necessary. Children can definitely be excluded from the dinner.

But, others prefer to make it a more grand affair. This is also perfectly acceptable. You can invite your entire guest list if you please. This is not normally done, but it is your wedding. If you are making the dinner a large affair, don’t forget about your photographer and your videographer.

Where are you going to have the rehearsal dinner?

You have plenty of options here. One option is to have a formal sit down dinner at a nice restaurant. If you have the budget for it and are going to invite out of town guests, this is a great choice. If you want a more informal choice, then have the dinner either at your home or at someone else’s house. This gives you the option of showing pictures and home movies from the earlier lives of the bride and groom. Or if you want something in the middle, have the rehearsal dinner at the place you went on your first date (not McDonalds though). This will create a good opportunity for reminiscing and storytelling.

Full meal or not?

You have plenty of options here. One option is to have a formal sit down dinner at a nice restaurant. If you have the budget for it and are going to invite out of town guests, this is a great choice. If you want a more informal choice, then have the dinner either at your home or at someone else’s house. This gives you the option of showing pictures and home movies from the earlier lives of the bride and groom. Or if you want something in the middle, have the rehearsal dinner at the place you went on your first date (not McDonalds though). This will create a good opportunity for reminiscing and storytelling.

If you are going to serve a full meal, then the menu should be different from your wedding menu. This is another great place to trim your budget if necessary. It is perfectly acceptable to do an appetizers only event as opposed to a full dinner menu. That is a great option if you want to invite out of town guests and keep your expenses trimmed at the same time.

Decor

Yellow ostrich feather centerpieceWhen it come to the decor of your rehearsal dinner, do not overshadow your wedding. Many brides choose to go with a completely different theme for their dinner in order to set it apart from the wedding. Others like for their rehearsal dinner to foreshadow their wedding. If you choose to foreshadow, you need to think smaller. Here are some tips for doing that

Let’s say that you are going to have over twenty ostrich feather centerpieces at your wedding. Don’t set up an ostrich feather centerpiece at every table. Instead, set up one or two somewhere like your hors d’oeuvre table. Don’t deck out the entire location with them.

Use flameless candles instead of regular candles. They are more versatile and you use them in different ways at your rehearsal dinners. Place them with smaller arrangements at your rehearsal dinner and larger ones at your wedding. You may want to use smaller centerpieces at the dinner with a similar style and color scheme as the larger ones at your wedding.

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