How to Plan a Rehearsal Dinner

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

How to Plan a Rehearsal Dinner. It's customary for the parents of the groom to entertain the wedding party and the families with a dinner after the wedding rehearsal. This dinner can be hosted by anyone, however. The idea is to give everyone a chance to socialize and get acquainted before the big day.

Choose a theme and color scheme very different from that of the wedding.

Select a location, caterer and menu.

Make your guest list and include the wedding party, their spouses or dates, the families, the officiant and his or her spouse and out-of-town relatives.

Select and send invitations about four weeks before the dinner.

Plan flowers, decorations and music.

Prepare name tags and place cards to help people become more familiar with one another.

Prepare an icebreaker game or activity to encourage mingling and socializing.

Have the father of the groom, as the traditional host, offer a toast after dinner. He is followed by the father of the bride, the groom, perhaps the bride and any others who wish to make toasts.

Use this opportunity to give the attendants their gifts. The parents may present their gifts at this time, also.

End the party early to give everyone a chance to rest before the big day.


  • Prepare and practice toasts beforehand. Cover last-minute wedding instructions at the rehearsal; save the rehearsal dinner for fun. Consider having a theme party, a cookout, a pool party or some other nontraditional rehearsal dinner. It'll be more relaxed and more fun.

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