A Guide to Planning the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner

As the excitement of your wedding day draws near, one essential event on the pre-wedding agenda that often takes a back seat is the rehearsal dinner. This intimate gathering provides an opportunity for the bridal party, close family, and friends to come together in a more relaxed setting before the big day. Planning a rehearsal dinner involves thoughtful consideration to ensure it compliments the overall wedding experience (and never overshadows it) and creates cherished memories for everyone involved.

Selecting the Venue & Guest List:

To choose the right venue, consider a location that reflects the couple’s personality and compliments the wedding theme. Whether it’s another event venue or hotel, a favorite local restaurant, or even a backyard barbecue, the venue sets the tone for the evening. Ensure the venue is conveniently located for the bridal party and out-of-town guests to minimize travel stress.

Speaking of guests, you should compile a guest list that includes immediate family, the bridal party, and any of their plus ones. The rehearsal dinner is an intimate affair, so keep the guest count manageable for a more personal atmosphere. Once the guest list is finalized, send out invitations about 2 months in advance. Your wedding invitations must arrive first, before the rehearsal dinner invitations, so plan accordingly.

Personal Touches and Decor:

Adding personal touches to the rehearsal dinner enhances its significance. Consider incorporating elements that tie back to the couple’s journey, such as framed photos, a slideshow of memorable moments playing during cocktail hour, or a guestbook for attendees to share their well-wishes. Choose decor that is cohesive with the wedding theme but doesn’t spoil any surprises. Thoughtful details like personalized place cards or small keepsake favors can elevate the experience for everyone present.

Entertainment and Toasts:

While the rehearsal dinner is a time for celebration, it’s also an opportunity for heartfelt toasts and speeches. Consider inviting close friends and family members to share their thoughts and well-wishes for the couple. We always recommend having your Best Man and Maid or Matron of Honor, start off the evening of toasts at the rehearsal dinner, rather than at the wedding. The goal is to create an environment where everyone feels connected and joyfully anticipates the upcoming wedding day.

In the whirlwind of wedding preparations, the rehearsal dinner stands out as a unique opportunity to share laughter, stories, and anticipation with those closest to you. By carefully planning the venue, guest list, decor, and entertainment, you can craft a rehearsal dinner that not only sets the stage for the wedding day but also becomes a cherished memory for all involved. Our last tip is to make sure you add on rehearsal dinner coverage with your photographer and videographer to capture these speeches and memories well! If you need help crafting the perfect rehearsal dinner to your wedding, contact us! 

Photos by Lindsay Campbell Photography

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Thoughtfully planning your first day of forever.