The Rehearsal Dinner is a special part of the wedding weekend. All of your planning and hard work is complete and you can finally allow yourself to breathe, relax, and be fully present with the close friends and family who are joining in on your big day. It should be relaxing, stress-free, and and a time to soak it all in before the whirlwind of the main event. For some couples, it is also the first opportunity for family members and guests to meet and spend time together.
To make sure your Rehearsal Dinner is all that it should be, we have put together a list of important things to consider when selecting a rehearsal dinner venue so you can make sure it is the perfect spot for you and your guests!
The first thing you should do is determine how much money you have to spend on the rehearsal dinner. This will help you determine how many guests you are able to invite, the venue you are able to select, and the type of rehearsal dinner you are able to have. Traditionally, the groom’s parents host this event, but as more couples are paying for the wedding themselves, the rehearsal dinner is factored into the overall wedding budget.
You will want to choose a location that is not far from the wedding venue, to make travel time minimal for your guests after the ceremony rehearsal.
The sky is the limit on the type of theme you can choose for your rehearsal dinner. Have you always envisioned a seaside clambake? A nautical style dinner cruise? A beachfront luau? A rustic-Italian feast in a wine cellar? Feel free to get creative and have fun with it! Choosing a theme will help you narrow down your venue search. Whichever style rehearsal dinner you decide on, we recommend choosing a venue with a private room or space so that your event has an intimate feel and is also disruption-free during toasts.
The rehearsal dinner guest list typically includes immediate family, the bridal party and their dates, and the officiant. A private dining room in a restaurant is a great option for intimate groups. For Destination weddings, or weddings with a large amount of out-of-towners, we recommend hosting an intimate rehearsal dinner followed by a Welcome Reception for out-of-town guests immediately after. This gives you the ability to still enjoy a nice, relaxed dinner with your immediate family and bridal party. If possible, host both of these events in the same space to make things simple and easier on you. Many venues are able to do a quick turn-around of the space after the dinner to give you more of a “mix and mingle” atmosphere for the welcome reception. A welcome reception typically consists of light appetizers, a dessert station, and hosted wine/beer.