Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas and Etiquette Advice

Usually, a wedding rehearsal is done the night before the wedding and after the run-through, a wedding rehearsal dinner is held for everyone in the wedding entourage to get to know each other. This is also an opportunity for the bride and groom to thank everyone for their help and involvement in the preparation of the wedding. Looking for ideas? We’ve got some great wedding rehearsal dinner ideas you can use..

Ideas for Wedding Rehearsal Dinner: Cost and Venue

wedding rehearsal dinner

Outside wedding rehearsal dinner (photo by Matthew Paulson)


Tradition says that the rehearsal dinner expenses are shouldered by the groom’s family but this does not necessarily follow that the venue of the dinner is at the groom’s home. In fact, rehearsal dinners these days are paid for and planned by the bride and groom themselves as couples these days marry at a mature age, just at the right time that they are also financially stable, and they can even pick any venue for their rehearsal dinner.

In fact, you can have your rehearsal dinner at a posh restaurant, a night at the casino, a barbecue party or a fun day at a football stadium. You can have a barbecue bash and enjoy the grilling duties while mingling and taking time to know each other. You can also have the dinner catered and set it up in an outdoor garden-themed rehearsal dinner. This way the atmosphere is relaxed and of course, helps the interaction to be relaxed, natural and fun.

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas At Home

wedding rehearsal dinner ideas

Wedding rehearsal dinner table (photo by William Marlow)

Personally, a wedding rehearsal dinner at a spacious garden or an outdoor space at home is one good idea for a wedding rehearsal dinner. Venues that allow guests to walk around freely and have great activities is a good way to start conversations and allow the most interaction than just sitting at a restaurant table where not everyone can have a chance to participate.

Remember the wedding will have a reception that can be formal and stiff, so have your rehearsal dinner picnic-style. Also keep in mind that this should be informal.

This is also important if considering the question; how should I dress for a wedding rehearsal? – It’s always best to be prepared.

Set up tables in your backyard garden – or bring your guests to a picnic ground or a park or a baseball field where gatherings are allowed. Large and relaxed venues are good for such gatherings. For other wedding rehearsal dinner ideas, fun games are also good ways to have your guests enjoy themselves. You can have board games, fun card games or volleyball for your guests to enjoy.

Sam at - Wedding Planner

Wedding in the morning? We’ve got some simple wedding brunch menu ideas you can try.

“For wedding rehearsal dinner ideas; fun and simple is best. Especially if you are thinking about wedding rehearsal dinner ideas on a budget.”

Looking to save money? Check out these cheap wedding venue ideas that will help you.

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas: Etiquette

rehearsal dinner

Traditional wedding rehearsal dinner (photo by Helena Liu)

Like the wedding itself, there are also rules of etiquette involved in the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, the mother of the groom plans the dinner and the groom’s family shoulders the cost, so for brides, make sure that you have talked to your mother-in-law for the rehearsal dinner preparation. If she is okay with the idea of you planning and spending money for the event, then that is when you can start with all the preparations.

Remember that some mothers want to be ‘involved’ in the planning of their son’s wedding – so make sure you also have sought their opinion about it.

Invitations – do you really need to send them? If your rehearsal dinner is an informal party – a backyard barbecue party or a picnic style, no invitations are really needed but if you plan to have a large number of guests in a posh restaurant, then you might need to send them out.

As for toasting, an informal gathering can just have a spontaneous toasting. Friends and family often offer their toasts to the couple and the couple can answer them with a few words of thanks. You don’t have to have a very lengthy speech though. The couple can say good things about their spouse-to-be and of course, words of thanks are often the usual things that are said during the rehearsal dinner.

So, who should be invited to a wedding rehearsal dinner? when it comes to your guest list, you would normally have everyone in the wedding entourage come over, including the family of the groom and your family. Out of town guests would normally not be invited to come just for the rehearsal dinner but if guests are already in the neighborhood then you can extend the invitation to them as well.

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas: Budget

wedding rehearsal dinner

This is what happens at a wedding rehearsal dinner (photo by Ryan/Shannon Gutenkunst)

When it comes to wedding rehearsal dinner ideas; food need not be something so extravagant. A barbecue party or picnic is in fact a good idea, so don’t shed out a fortune for such a dinner. Party finger food, tea party, desserts – you can have homemade recipes for the day. You can even ask family members and close friends to bring in some of their specialty dishes. There are wedding rehearsal dinner menu ideas that are not too expensive and too formal.

If you can also share the cost with the groom’s family, then that should be talked about with your future in-laws as well.

Of course, you don’t have to spend the entire night partying as you’ll still be preparing for the bigger event the day after.

How about your wedding dinner rehearsals? Got any funny stories to share? Comment and let us know…

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