Because we plan so many rehearsal dinners at Club 1201, we thought we’d give you a few pointers on planning yours. Rehearsal dinners have evolved into full-blown extravaganzas, but you don’t need the stress.
Rehearsal dinners have evolved into full-blown events, but there’s no need to stress out about planning your own. You’ve got less than 24 hours until you and your betrothed tie the knot. Family and friends have all arrived. Only one thing can keep you from having a major anxiety attack—a really fun party. Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner was given the night before the wedding by the parents of the groom. Everyone in both families, in the wedding party, and from out of town was invited. The dinner was a more formal affair, but like everything else wedding-related, couples are making these pre-nuptial parties their own—rehearsal dinner agendas are sometimes much more casual, more intimate, or serve as another raucous party!
Now, as weddings have often turned into weekend affairs, the rehearsal dinner has become the grand kickoff to the festivities. Here are a few good ideas for how to plan a rehearsal dinner with our ultimate rehearsal dinner checklist.
Pick the Perfect Spot
Hosting the party in a unique location can also give the celebration a different feel. If you both are sports fans, stadiums usually rent out suites for occasions. Restaurants with private suites, like Club 1201, are a popular choice amongst most couples. Restaurants are a popular choice for good reason: The staff can handle every aspect of the evening, from cocktails to menu to music to flowers. These restaurants usually have an event coordinator that can work with you on every aspect of the dinner (from the menu to the beverages and decorations)—they usually have a catering service too, if you’d rather have the dinner somewhere else.
Create the Guest List
The rehearsal-dinner guest list typically includes close family members and anyone participating in the wedding ceremony (including the officiant), plus their spouses or dates. It’s also considerate to invite your out-of-town guests to the festivities. However, if you end up with a long list of people to include, you can keep costs down by serving only cocktails and hors d’oeuvres or desserts as opposed to a full meal.
Create the Menu
Your event coordinator will work with you to create a menu. Depending on the time of your wedding rehearsal, some couples decide to plan rehearsal brunch, allowing their guests a day in between the rehearsal and ceremony to relax. Each course might be paired with a wine, beer or cocktail. But if you end up with a long list of people to include, you can keep costs down by serving only cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Choose the Attire
Currently, the trend is keeping the rehearsal dinner a little more low-key and relaxed, helping to loosen up guests who are meeting for the first time and taking pressure off the couple. The dress code should probably come down a notch two from the wedding attire.