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The How-To Lounge: Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

When it comes to your rehearsal dinner, anything goes. Some couples opt for a casual, laid back event for the night before their wedding while others have an almost mini wedding for their rehearsal. With so many options out there, many people ask if there are "rules" to planning the event so I am back to give you rehearsal dinner etiquette tips.

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  • The great part of the rehearsal dinner is that there are no rules
  • Typically the groom's family hosts and pays for the rehearsal dinner, which makes this night much less stressful for the bride
  • Just like every other party leading up to your wedding, the rehearsal dinner must have invitations so your guests know who is included and expected to attend
  • The rehearsal dinner acts as a great meet and greet forum for family members and friends to mingle and get to know each other before the big day
  • Typically, your guest list consists of immediate family and the wedding party. Couples often extend the invitation to out of town guests, but if you are having a destination wedding, more times than not every guest is invited to the rehearsal dinner
  • If you keep the dinner small, some couples coordinate a meeting place for friends and extended family to meet after dinner
  • Since the maid of honor and best man speeches are saved for the wedding day, the rehearsal dinner is when your bridal party, friends, and family members toast, and in some cases roast, you and the groom
  • The rehearsal is the best time to give your bridesmaids and groomsmen their thank you gifts for being a part of your wedding
  • It is always a nice gesture for the bride and groom to say a little something to their guests at the rehearsal dinner. It doesn't need to be anything profound, even a simple thank you and mention of your excitement for the next day would suffice

Since the rehearsal dinner is held the night before your wedding, it is important to keep the drinking to a minimum. The next day is sure to be a long one, so make sure to get adequate beauty sleep!


A_Kat A_Kat 10 years
I love that you posted this! I have SO many weddings this summer! Thank you!
summer-roberts summer-roberts 10 years
I agree with you nycgirl about not wanting to book their whole weekend. I wonder if the reason behind that is partially because your guests have spent a lot of money traveling for your big day and perhaps it is to save them money. On the other side it would cost the host more money.
nycgirl nycgirl 10 years
I am having a destination wedding... invite ALL guests? We are choosing not to do that bc we're hoping they would take the time to enjoy the romantic resort instead of booking up their entire weekend..
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