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Rehearsal Dinner Party Planning Guide


More and more, wedding celebrations are stretching across entire weekends, beginning with the rehearsal dinner, the night before the wedding.  The rehearsal dinner, often hosted by the groom's parents, is the perfect way to start off your celebrating.  


Here are some basics to help you plan the perfect Rehearsal Dinner!


Who should you invite?


Oktoberfest Theme Caricature InvitationYou certainly don't need to invite all of your wedding guests to the rehearsal dinner.  You should invite any out of town guests, family, close friends and your wedding party.  It's especially nice for out-of-towners who don't have other plans during the weekend. 


Keep in mind, you shouldn't invite anyone to the rehearsal dinner who is NOT invited to the wedding. 


You will want to send out invitations for the rehearsal dinner (and other weekend events) shortly after mailing the wedding invitation.  Your wedding invitation will most likely be formal, so your rehearsal dinner invitation should be fun!  Choose from a theme invitation if you're having a theme for your rehearsal dinner or have a fabulous one of a kind caricature created!


Where should it be held?


The rehearsal dinner can be held anywhere, but I would suggest choosing a venue that is convenient for your guests.  If your guests are staying at a hotel, see if the hotel has a restaurant or catering facility.  Your guests will just need to walk down to the party, instead of having to rent a car and try to follow directions.  If you're having it away from the hotel, you might want to check with the hotel to see if they offer shuttle services for your guests. 


The rehearsal dinner can also be held at your favorite restaurant or a place that serves food distinct to your area.  If you're having a wedding near the water, then have your rehearsal dinner at a fun seafood restaurant.  Your guests, especially will appreciate the change to enjoy some local food.


What about decorations?


You can have a lot of fun with rehearsal dinner decorations!  The decorations can be about the bride and groom or based on the location of your event.  Since the event is more casual, it's a good time to have some fun and use decorations that you would not want at the wedding.  Here are some ideas:


Theme Decoration Ideas


       If you're getting married around a holiday, theme the rehearsal dinner to the holiday.  Have a Patriotic theme barbecue for a 4th of July wedding.  Centerpieces can be mini cutouts of the bride and groom as Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty.

       If you're getting married near the beach, have seashells and sand buckets on the tables.

       Having an out of town wedding?  If you're in San Francisco, have cable car toys as centerpieces.  If you're in St. Louis, have a mini replica of the St. Louis arch with the couple's name added.

       Do the bride and groom have a favorite snack?  Make that into a centerpiece.  Giant cookie bouquets are fun and will be enjoyed by all! 


Bride and Groom Theme Decoration Ideas


       Create a centerpiece with photos of the bride and groom

       Name each table after a place the bride and groom have visited, or are important to the couple.


What entertainment should we have?


You don't need much entertainment at a rehearsal dinner.  Your family and friends will be so excited to see each other, that they will want plenty of time to talk.  The dinner IS, however, a great time to roast the bride and groom.  Ask your wedding party ahead of time if anyone would like to speak.  Since it's a casual event, they can share some fun stories about the bride and groom without all the pressure of speaking at a wedding.  Just be sure to set some guidelines ahead of time.  Grandma Sarah doesn't need to hear about ALL  the details of your bachelor and bachelorette party!


Video slideshows are also becoming more and more popular at rehearsal dinners.  Start with pictures of the bride and groom growing up, then have pictures of them with family and friends and finish off with photos of the couple together.  Trust me, your guests will love it and you'll keep the video for years.


Do we need favors?


There is no need to have favors at the rehearsal dinner, especially if you're having favors at the wedding.  You might want to have some candy at each place or have a small gift that represents the city where the wedding is being held.  Don't get too extravagant though, there is no need.


A personalized mint tin is a small favor that certainly says thanks for coming.  Your guests will love it!


Anything else?


You bet!  The bride and groom should definitely use the rehearsal dinner as a time to thank all their guests for coming from out of town and to especially thank whoever is hosting the rehearsal dinner.  It's a must!


Most importantly, have fun!  The weekend planning is done and now it is time to relax and enjoy your guests and your wedding!


Wedding and Wedding Events Planning and Decorating Ideas from


Wedding Planning Guide

Bridal Shower Planning Guide

Bachelor and Bachelorette Party Planning Guide

Rehearsal Dinner Planning Guide



Wedding Decorating411

Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party Decorating411

Theme Decorating411

Wedding and Bridal Shower Favors from WeddingStar


Creations For You!

Wedding and Bridal Shower Creations For You!


Great Bridal Shower and Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Themes



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