Modern Etiquette Series: The Perfect Rehearsal Dinner

For most people, their wedding day is a once in a lifetime event where all their loved ones, family and friends are in the same place at the same time. They fly in from all corners of the globe all in celebration of your love. Yet the newlyweds are likely to be spread so thin it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get in much quality time.
rehearsal dinenr If you’re not settling for a few minutes of obligatory face-time and quick pleasantries at the reception, the rehearsal dinner could be your saving grace. Think you’re required to have a simple sit down dinner with a stuffy pre-fixed menu? Expand your horizons. These intimate engagements have changed since your parents said ‘I do’ and are now easier than ever to make your own. Below we’ve modernized the rehearsal dinner “rules” and even give a few ideas to help put your personal spin on the party before the big party.

WHO plans and pays?

Used to be that the groom’s parents automatically footed the bill for a rehearsal dinner. Today, more couples are paying for their own celebrations or splitting the total cost between both families. In the case of an LGBT wedding ceremony, there may be two grooms or none at all. Another reason to take inventory of who has the willingness and resources to pay. One piece of tradition that remains strong is the acceptability of letting someone else plan the soiree entirely. It’ll be one less thing for the happy couple to worry about, so if someone volunteers, let them take over!

WHAT are the activities?

You get to choose how you’ll catch up with honored guests. Most rehearsals include a meal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do a dinner. Brunch rehearsals or cocktail hours are a totally acceptable spin on tradition. Some other ideas may include:
  • Extra Entertainment – Plan a murder mystery dinner, sign everyone up for a cooking class, create a fun taco bar or plan a picnic or outdoor barbecue. You can also plan a variety of party or lawn games to encourage mingling.
  • Honoring Family Traditions – Plan the menu and entertainment around your cultural customs. It’s especially nice if you weren’t able to fully incorporate both the bride and groom’s heritage into the wedding ceremony.
  • Giving Speeches – They’re a sweet part of any special wedding reception, but can eat into your time on the dance floor. Offer to let a few folks profess their love the day before to cut down the time spent on speeches.
One other option is to split the party into two groups. If your in-laws want a more traditional dinner, and the couple wants something with a bit more personality, have them split off for a time and come together at the end of the event.

WHEN should I extend the invites?

Give guests about four to six weeks lead-time. This will help when booking travel. If you know you want a guest at your rehearsal dinner, slip a little note in their wedding invitation so they can plan head.

WHERE will it take place?

If you’re absolutely in love with your full service wedding venue in Dallas, why not show it off early? Staff will be happy to help plan the entire rehearsal from food to festivities. You can also host the event at a relative’s house, book a private room at your favorite restaurant or even set up in a public park. Really, any place that can accommodate your party is fair game.

WHY have a rehearsal dinner at all?

Good question. For some couples, the rehearsal dinner is an added expense and extra stressor they simply don’t want to mess with. If you’re unsure about throwing one, talk to all the parents and see if anyone will be upset about skipping out. On the other hand, the rehearsal dinner can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with out-of-town guests you may not get to spend much time with at the wedding. It’s also a more intimate way to let your loved ones know you’re happy they’ve come to witness the start of your forever.

HOW many guests do we include?

Tradition calls for both sets of parents, your wedding party and their dates to be included. However, some couples may choose to invite out of town guests, other family and long-time friends. Others open the invitation to everyone on the wedding roster. The choice is really yours and depends on the amount of space and resources you have to accommodate. The takeaway: when it comes to planning, it’s your rehearsal and your rules. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and also make sure it represents you as a couple. However you choose to celebrate, make sure to soak up every moment of love from your community as you embark on this new chapter. To learn more about Dallas Palms, our pricing options and other event details, please schedule an appointment with us by emailing or calling 972-416-1416. We are looking forward to talking to you.