Rehearsal dinner: the night before the big day! It’s an evening of anticipation, celebration and good eats! With the rehearsal behind you, all you can really do is bask in the excitement and enjoy the gathering of family and friends. It’s a simultaneous exhale of relief and a gasp for air as your wedding day butterflies really set in! In our years in the business, we’ve seen rehearsal dinners that are extravaganzas and rehearsal dinners that are intimate, candlelit affairs. Whatever style rehearsal dinner you opt for, there are a few must-have details to consider:
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #1: Your VIPs
First and foremost, your rehearsal dinner is a time to gather with your loved ones and spend quality time together before the big event. In terms of the guest list, at a minimum, it is your immediate family plus your wedding party. At maximum, well, it’s up to you. The key is for you to feel completely surrounded by your support system as the sun sets on your single life.
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #2: Pandemic Preparations
It’s not ideal, we know, but gathering to celebrate a wedding during a pandemic requires some specific preparations. Consult your local restrictions and consider the specifics of anyone who may be traveling to your wedding weekend, and with that information, you’ll be better prepared to decide what level of social distancing your event requires. Fortunately, personalized face masks, custom single-use hand sanitizer wipes and social distancing signs are all available. Coordinate your germ prevention items with your rehearsal dinner style and it will add a layer of personalization while it serves its purpose!
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #3: Fab Food
Rehearsal dinners can be as casual as a BBQ buffet or as formal as a multi-course meal. It’s up to you! Of course, you want the rehearsal dinner menu to be distinctly different than your wedding reception menu, but otherwise, the choice is yours. It’s a good idea to survey your guests for any food allergies in advance to make sure you can accommodate them. If you or your betrothed are particularly fond of a unique cuisine, the rehearsal dinner is a great time to indulge your favorites!
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #4: Personalized Party Supplies
Any party is elevated by a curated selection of personalized party supplies, and your rehearsal dinner is no exception. Here at For Your Party, we have tons of designs that are rehearsal dinner specific, including a favorite design: Almost Married. Custom napkins, personalized frosted cups and cute straw tags are all great options.
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #5: Plenty of Pics
You have long since secured your wedding photographer, but don’t forget how much you’ll want great photos from your rehearsal dinner. Some photographers may give you the option to add your rehearsal dinner to your photography package, which is a great option. Another way to keep the photos flowing is by providing a photo booth or selfie station. Of course, claiming a hashtag to crowdsource your rehearsal dinner photos is a great idea, too. You may also have a friend or relative who is an up-and-coming photographer that you could hire for the night for a lighter price point than your sought-after wedding day photography team. Whatever you choose, lay the groundwork for plenty of fab photos of your rehearsal dinner gathering!
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #6: Fun Favors
It’s always a special touch when a rehearsal dinner provides a fun party favor. An affordable and classic option is personalized rehearsal dinner matches. Scatter your unique matches in the facilities and within your table décor to make sure your guests have ample opportunities to pocket a memorable memento of your wedding eve. Upgrade your match favor by adding a hand poured candle from a local maker, or go a different direction and provide individual champagne bottles with a personalized tag.
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #7: Tasteful Toasts
Speaking of champagne, toasts are a major part of rehearsal dinner decorum. Whether you follow a traditional order of toasts, or you simply want to open the floor for anyone who feels moved to speak, it’s a good idea to have some pre-planning done. Make sure the first person to speak sets a tone for the night with a well prepared and tasteful toast! Traditionally, the host (usually the groom’s father/parents) will kick things off, but if that isn’t how you’d like your evening to go, then simply make the plans that will reflect what you have in mind. Insuring that the toasts are tasty is also important, whether that be by providing your favorite champagne, or having custom cocktails served after dessert.
Rehearsal Dinner Must-Have #8: An Early Night!
In recent years, more and more marrying couples are celebrating their bachelor and bachelorette parties a few weeks or months before the wedding ceremony. This is a major plus for brides and grooms who want to be at their best on their wedding day. Of course, this is not always an option. If your wedding party is planning to have a bachelor/bachelorette party after the rehearsal dinner, do yourself a favor and plan to at least try to get in bed early enough that your eyes don’t betray you on your wedding day!
Rehearsal dinners are one of our favorite events. Celebrating a major life milestone but with the laid back freedom that the wedding day often doesn’t afford you— rehearsal dinner may end up being some of your favorite moments of your wedding weekend!