What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do at Your Rehearsal Dinner

A rehearsal dinner is a must to make sure everyone knows their roles and places during the wedding ceremony. However, rehearsal dinners are also a small celebration in and of itself with just your wedding party, parents, and a few others. Here’s what you should (and should not!) do to make your rehearsal dinner fun, memorable, and effective.

Rehearsal Dinner

DO Follow a Schedule

Create and print a schedule, and then make sure everyone gets a copy. While staying on track during your rehearsal dinner may not be as critical as on your wedding day, a schedule can be a great way to let your wedding party know what to expect so you can get the rehearsing out of the way and start celebrating.

DON’T Plan an Extravagant Rehearsal Dinner

Your rehearsal dinner can be as casual as you want it to be, even (and especially) if your wedding is formal. Everyone’s nerves are a little on edge about the wedding and having another formal event to dress up for right beforehand can be stressful. Keep it low key so everyone can relax and rest up for the big day.

DO Make Plans for Childcare or Request No Children Present

If you prefer not to have children (other than those who are in the wedding) present at your rehearsal dinner, add a note in your invitation so your wedding party can arrange for childcare. Or, if you plan to have children present, hire a sitter or two and invest in some fun activities for the actual rehearsal. Children can then rejoin their parents at dinner.

DON’T Forget to Ask Your Photographer to Come 

Your rehearsal may not be your wedding, but it’s still part of your celebration. Ask your photographer to include photographing your rehearsal dinner as part of your wedding photography package. If it’s out of your budget or your rehearsal is very casual, you may be able to put a friend in charge of taking photos. 

DO Account for Out-of-Town Guests

Guests coming in from out of town are going to be a little more harried than your in-town guests. Go the extra mile to make sure they’re happy with their accommodations or to arrange transportation for them. If they’re a little late to rehearsal, don’t sweat it.

DON’T Send Invitations That Outshine Your Wedding Invitations

You’ll need to send out rehearsal dinner invitations after your wedding invitations and it’s important that they don’t upstage your wedding invites. This is another great reason to keep your rehearsal dinner casual.

DO Account for Plus Ones

Your bridesmaids and groomsmen are likely going to want to bring their spouses to your rehearsal dinner. When budgeting for food and choosing a venue, make sure to account for the plus ones. If you account only for your bridal party, you may choose a venue that is too small or blow your budget on food.

DON’T Forget Gifts and a Thank You Speech

The rehearsal dinner is about your wedding party and thanking them for being a part of this momentous occasion in your life. You and your spouse-to-be should come prepared with toast speeches and your gifts to your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Book Your Rehearsal Dinner Venue Today

Need a venue for your rehearsal dinner? The Essex Room is a classic New England wedding venue that overlooks beautiful coastal salt marshes in the heart of Essex, Massachusetts. Contact us to learn more at (508) 335-7656.