There aren’t many do’s and don’ts for rehearsal dinners as far as planning is concerned. There are a lot of subjects that need to be addressed and how to handle them.
1. If you are wanting a small rehearsal dinner there are a couple of ways to do just that. Your rehearsal dinner can be for just immediate family. Immediate family would be the bride’s and groom’s parents and grandparents, the bride’s and groom’s brothers and sisters and their spouses.
Another way to do a small rehearsal dinner is to have family and wedding party. Again, this would include: grandparents, parents and the wedding party and spouses of the wedding party. If brothers and sisters are not part of the wedding party, you don’t have to include them, but out of respect, you should.
Aunts and Uncles do not count as immediate family and although they may want to be part of the rehearsal dinner, most will understand if they are not invited. If you are having a large rehearsal dinner, then Aunts and Uncles would be invited. But if you invite one, you need to invite them all.
Remember, no matter how you decide to do your rehearsal dinner, you need to invite the spouse of anyone you are inviting. Children of rehearsal dinner guests do not have to be invited and most guests would understand if their children are not invited. You may want to consider allowing infants depending on the age.
2. Foods are an important part of the rehearsal dinner. Try to compromise and cater foods that everyone will like. The entre does not have to be everyone’s favorite, but it should be something everyone will like.
3. Drinks are something to keep in mind also. Limit the amount of alcohol served. A glass or two of wine or beer is normally okay, but you don’t want to have an open bar if everyone is driving after the dinner. This is an added responsibility you are undertaking at a time when it is very busy in your life. The more alcohol served, the more stress will be added.
Weddings are not a time to be stressed, they are a time to enjoy and celebrate.
4. If you want to socialize and pre-celebrate do it after the rehearsal dinner. It is understandable you want to visit with all your guests (destination weddings and lodging) but it doesn’t have to be at the rehearsal dinner. Visit with family and friends after the rehearsal at a location where everyone can join in the fun. It doesn’t have to be formal, in can be very informal and relaxed.
5. Set a start and end time for the rehearsal dinner. This is the night before your wedding, you will need your sleep. The wedding day itself is a long and busy day. If you don’t have a start and end time for dinner, the night could grow rather long. If people want to continue to celebrate, go else where and continue the party. Once the party moves to a different location than where rehearsal dinner was at, the bride and groom are under no obligation to stay out late.
The last two ideas are a perfect way to handle a small rehearsal dinner and still mingle with family and friends that were not invited to the dinner. If cost is an issue, you have effectively found a solution; small rehearsal dinner and then a gathering after dinner for everyone to attend. This also gives people who may be tired from travel a way to politely excuse themselves to get a much needed nights sleep.