Your wedding has taken so much planning, it is easy to overlook the most important part of setting the tone for a great wedding. There’s less than 24 hours to go, relatives are arriving at the airport, the anticipation is growing. Now everyone is finally getting together. You want to be sure everything gets off to a great start. We need to talk about your Rehearsal Dinner.
What is a rehearsal dinner?
Traditionally, it is the dinner the night before the wedding. It can be a formal affair in a great restaurant or a casual affair at home. This is the time for speeches and toasts to the couple. It can often last for several hours after the food has been cleared away. A lot of your friends and relatives will be meeting for the first time. You want them to get along right?
What is the Etiquette for the rehearsal dinner?
Nowadays, a lot of couples are taking charge of their wedding and making their own rules. So don’t feel like you have stick to tradition. What probably matters most is that it meets your own expectations and that your guests will feel comfortable. Still, there are a few guidelines that you want to be aware of:
Send Invitations– immediate family, the wedding party, parents of the flower and ring bearers and out of town guests should all be included.
Greet your guests– the wedding night can be a blur, so this is your chance to welcome them as they arrive.
Dress Code– Formal or casual? Let your guests know in advance. Themes such as Hawaiian shirts or hoedown outfits are fun.
Announcements- review the schedule and include any last-minute details while you have everyone together.
Gifts– you may want to hand out gifts to your guests. You can give out a special gift to your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Speeches and Toasts– the parents can make a toast after dinner. The bride and groom can give a speech, then open the floor to others.
What to avoid at the Dinner?
This is such an important moment for setting the tone for your wedding. Here’s how to make sure it goes smoothly.
Keep the food light. It isn’t easy meeting the needs of a large crowd, but save the big feast for the wedding dinner.
No Drama– Keep things easy-going. I have been at weddings where some drama happened the night before and things got pretty… awkward. This is no time for politics or family drama.
Strict rule-If gifts and speeches will be too emotional, a private moment may be a better idea. Don’t forget to have someone take pictures. Especially if your paid photographer is only there for the big day.
Keep it Short and Simple- End the event by 10 pm. Your guests need to get home and be feeling well for the next day’s festivities.
Remember, at your rehearsal dinner, you will be surrounded by people who support and love you. That will be enough to make it a night you will never forget.