Boston Bridal Blog: Rehearsal Dinners 101

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in wedding planning that the rehearsal dinner gets overlooked — but if you think you can do without one, think again.  These dinners give the bride and groom a chance to spend quality time with their wedding party and immediate family. Most important, it serves as a thank you to everyone involved in your wedding. If you’re feeling (understandably) confused or you’re not even sure where to start, read on for the basics that’ll help you get off the ground.

Rehearsal dinners are a tradition, and traditionally the groom’s parents take on the role of host (I’ll take this opportunity to thank my in-laws for the fabulous rehearsal dinner they hosted for me.), but keep in mind that if they’re hosting, you may end up relinquishing some control and input about venue and menu choices. Share your thoughts with them ahead of time to avoid disagreements afterward. Think about what’s really important to you – say, location and menu – and agree to work on those details together. Your restaurant coordinator can also serve as the perfect go-between and help compromise the most important dinner details. If the groom’s parents don’t bring up the topic of hosting the event, don’t be afraid to ask them what their plans are. Keep in mind that nowadays, brides and grooms are taking on a good portion (if not all) of their wedding-related expenses. If no one offers to host the dinner, it’s the bride and groom’s responsibility.

The venue you select should be in line with your wedding. If you’re planning something formal, look for a private room at a nearby restaurant. If your wedding is more casual, an informal barbecue or buffet is a fun option. When choosing a location, keep your out-of-town guests in mind: chances are they’re staying near the  wedding venue, and having the rehearsal dinner nearby will make things easier for them, especially if they don’t know the area well.  Keeping things simple will allow them to enjoy a worry-free weekend.

The host needs to convey the necessary information to everyone invited and can do so in several ways, from formal invitations to simple phone calls. If the rehearsal dinner is a more casual event — say, a backyard cookout — an email invitation is also suitable.

Who to Invite
All members of your wedding party (maid of honor, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, flower girl, and ring bearer) should be invited, as well as parents of the bride and groom. Don’t forget others who have a role in your wedding: readers, greeters, program distributors, and the officiant. If budget permits, it’s  a nice gesture to include spouses and significant others, parents of small children, and any family members who may have traveled to attend your wedding.

Since rehearsal dinners are a way to show your appreciation to those involved with your big day, it’s also the perfect time to present them with a thank-you gift—whether it’s cufflinks for groomsmen or tickets to a Sox game for parents. At the end of the evening, consider making a short speech with your betrothed thanking parents and members of the party for participating in your special day.

At the end of the day, your rehearsal dinner should be fun, relaxing, and the chance to spend time with people closest to you. It also goes by fast, so don’t forget to enjoy every minute of it.

Check out the slideshow for rehearsal dinner venue ideas in the Boston area:

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