Plan An Amazing Rehearsal Dinner In 10 Easy Steps

Planning An Amazing Rehearsal Dinner When it comes to planning a great wedding, the rehearsal dinner is usually an afterthought. Because of this, rehearsal dinners are typically thrown together at the last moment without nearly …

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Tips

Planning An Amazing Rehearsal Dinner

When it comes to planning a great wedding, the rehearsal dinner is usually an afterthought. Because of this, rehearsal dinners are typically thrown together at the last moment without nearly as much thought and effort as the actual wedding ceremony.

However, the rehearsal dinner is essentially the kick-off to all your wedding festivities, so it’s something that you’ll definitely want to make an enjoyable experience for everyone! That said, we put together 15 easy steps that will help you plan an amazing rehearsal dinner.

1. Choose A Great Location For Your Rehearsal Dinner

Tips for wedding rehearsal dinner

First and foremost when it comes to having a great wedding rehearsal dinner is choosing a memorable and fun location.

There are a variety of factors you need to consider when choosing your wedding rehearsal dinner venue:

How much will it cost?

We’ll cover budgeting more in-depth later in this article, but for now, it stands to mention that you should make sure you have the necessary finances to pay for the location that you’re considering. If you’ve spent your entire budget on your wedding ceremony venue, then your options might be more limited.

Is there room to rehearse?

The ideal wedding rehearsal dinner location will have plenty of room for your wedding party to take the same exact formation that they’ll be in for the wedding ceremony. Practicing in a space that’s too small can result in some awkwardness during the actual ceremony, so make sure you have plenty of room!

Does it match your theme?

If you have a clear theme for your wedding rehearsal dinner, choose a venue that accentuates that theme. The closer you can match the location to your theme, the less you’ll have to spend on decorations and the more fun it will be for your guest.

2. Choose A Theme For Your For Your Rehearsal Dinner

If you haven’t already, the next order of business is to determine the theme for your wedding rehearsal dinner. When it comes to your theme, there are literally thousands of different directions you can go. However, the best themes will be suitable for a variety of ages, work with your budget, and making a lasting impression on your guests.

Here are just a few of the top wedding rehearsal themes you might consider using:

A Picnic Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 

If you’re not looking to splurge on another expensive venue, why not have your wedding rehearsal dinner at a local park? Pack a few baskets full of drinks, sandwiches, and blankets, and have a fun and relaxed time with your friends and family. Even if it rains, most parks have pavilions large enough to house a large number of guests.

A Luau Themed Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 

Another theme perfect for the outdoors.  All you need are a few tiki torches, leis, and some traditional Hawaiian grub! If done right, this can be a very budget-friendly option.

A Traditional Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 

If you’re interested in something more formal, you can always have a traditional wedding rehearsal dinner. Many venues allow rehearsals to be held at the venue the night before and might have a side room available suited for the rehearsal dinner. If not, you can always search for restaurants in your area that have a room you could rent out for the rehearsal and dinner.

A Pop-Culture Themed Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 

Is there a TV show, movie, or book that you and your spouse-to-be are obsessed with? Consider making it the theme of your wedding rehearsal dinner! Going this route opens up the door for tons of unique decorations, and is bound to be more memorable than a lot of other options.

3. Figure Out Your Rehearsal Dinner Budget

One of the most important things to determine in your rehearsal dinner planning process is how much your budget is! In order to determine this, you’ll need to communicate with whoever plans on paying for the festivities.

Traditionally, the groom’s family will pay for the wedding rehearsal dinner. But every family is different, so you never know what people think they’re signed up for unless you just come out and ask them.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the budgetary parameters you have to work within, the rest of your job becomes a lot easier!

4. Plan The Food For Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 

After paying for all of the food for the wedding reception itself, it can be frustrating to realize that people expect to be fed at the wedding rehearsal dinners as well.

However, if you want to avoid the same expenses you face when paying for the wedding reception food, there are a number of different routes you can take.

Let’s be honest, a lot of times home-cooked food is cheaper and tastier than catered food. Consider pulling together the savvy chefs of both sides of your family to prepare a few large dishes that everyone can eat. If you want to evenly disperse the workload, make it a potluck where everyone is responsible for bringing a dish!

5. Determine How Many People Will Be At Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Yet another important number to keep in mind is the number of people that you expect to attend the wedding rehearsal dinner.

When it comes to preparing food, It’s usually a good idea to overestimate the number of guests by at least a dozen. People are bound to show up with extras you didn’t plan for, such as plus-ones, spouses, and children.

You’ll also want to keep the number of guests you expect in mind when you’re choosing the location for your rehearsal dinner. Try to find a place that’s not too big and not too small, with a little room to expand if you have lots of extra guests.

6. Plan Wedding Party Gifts To Give At Your Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is the traditional time to give gifts to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure everything has been purchased, wrapped, and ready to distribute.

It’s in good taste to include a handwritten note with each gift thanking the members of your wedding party for their friendship and for being a part of the festivities.

If you’re not sure what gifts to give to your wedding party, there are plenty of lists like this one to help.

7. Plan Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Activities 

In addition to the rehearsing and the eating that will take place, it’s also a good idea to have a few fun activities planned for your guests! Playing a few games towards the beginning of the evening help to break the ice and encourage more conversation between everyone.

In addition to games, you should also plan on having time for speeches from members of the wedding party, and plan on sharing a few words yourself. You’ll also want to factor in time for setup, teardown, and giving gifts to your wedding party.

8. Set A Date And Time For Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Wedding rehearsal dinners are typically held the night before the wedding, however, it’s still important that you clearly communicate with everyone involved the time and location.

If for whatever reason, you’re not able to have the rehearsal dinner the night before, it’s important that you quickly determine an alternate date and time so that you can give everyone as much notice as possible.  This will allow your guests to get their travel and work arrangments in order so that they’ll be able to attend.

9. Don’t Forget To Rehearse At Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner! 

When it comes to your wedding rehearsal dinner, while it is essentially a big party with your friends and family, don’t forget that there is important work to be done!

Your goal should be to make it through your entire wedding procession at least two full times without any hitches before moving on.

In order to make this happen, it’s a good idea to have someone in charge that isn’t afraid to whip people into shape if they’re talking or goofing off. Providing them with a microphone can also be really helpful when it comes to keeping order.

10. Layout A Clear Gameplan For The Wedding Day At Your Rehearsal Dinner

Last but not least, use your wedding rehearsal dinner as a final opportunity to address everyone involved and make certain that they know when they need to be dressed and on location.

Whether you’re planning on doing photos with your wedding party before or after, make sure that everyone knows beforehand so that you won’t have to try and round everyone up the day of the wedding.

Thank you for reading, and best of luck with your wedding festivities!

This article was sponsored by Stokely Event Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They have an incredible venue that makes the perfect wedding rehearsal dinner venue! If you’d like to learn more about them, you can visit their website here.


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