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Planning a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

The wedding rehearsal dinner is a time shared by your closest friends and family. It is a getting-acquainted gathering for two groups of people who will become one along with you on your wedding day. It is also a time to express gratitude, relax and enjoy before the excitement of the wedding ceremony and reception begins.

The rehearsal dinner can be as informal as a backyard barbecue or as fancy as a dinner at a favorite restaurant. You can even choose something fun or unique like a party at a local amusement park, or a meal that celebrates an ethnic tradition that is meaningful to you. The dinner and festivities should not overshadow or mimic what you have planned for the wedding reception. The setting should be more intimate, and should be conducive to sharing personal toasts and holding conversations. Traditionally the groom’s family hosts and pays for the rehearsal dinner, however contemporary etiquette allows the couple to contribute as well.

Once you have selected your location, time and date, you will want to choose appropriate invitations. While some couples choose not to send invitations to the rehearsal dinner, you should not assume that your guests know intuitively that they are invited to the event. It is a courtesy to formally ask for their presence, and is helpful in determining the number of seats you will need to accommodate those who are attending. Generally, the guest list should include your bridal party, immediate family and the out of town guests. You may expand or contract the guest list to fit the nature of your wedding, however.

If you are seating guests formally for dinner, it is best to have a seating chart. By assigning places, you will motivate guests to mingle and get to know each other, and save shy guests from feeling out of place. Whereas toasts at the wedding reception should be limited to a short list of hosts and honor attendants, spontaneous messages are welcome and appropriate at a rehearsal dinner. You might also choose to show a slideshow with photos of the bride and groom and even the family members who are present, or create a display of portraits for your loved ones to enjoy.

Advantage Bridal has everything you need for your rehearsal dinner from invitations, place cards and holders to a complete collection of decorative accessories.