Tips For Planning a Rehearsal Dinner
There may not be a better time to celebrate than the night before you marry the love of your life. Rehearsal dinners can be held in a private restaurant room, a family home, a charming hotel bar, or a more traditional wedding venue. You have a ton of creative freedom with this celebration. While this is exciting, it can also seem overwhelming. To reduce your stress, the wedding experts at Knowles Hospitality have compiled a list of tips to help you plan a successful rehearsal dinner!
1. Keep the Invitations Informal
There is no need to get too fancy with the invitations. You won’t want to upstage your wedding day invites, and it’s always nice to save on costs where you can. Online invitations or phone calls are great options. Do make sure to include key information like location, time, RSVP information, and attire guidelines. You should inform your guests about all of this at least four to six weeks prior to the rehearsal dinner date.
2. Start the Dinner Early
Ensure that your guests will not be too tired on your big day. One advisable schedule is to hold your ceremony rehearsal for 4:00 pm, budget 30-45 minutes for practice, and 15 minutes for transportation to the dinner venue. Then, the meal can begin around 6:00 pm. The festivities will probably end by 9:00 pm, leaving your guests enough time to rest up. Alternatively, some couples decide to hold the rehearsal dinner two nights before the wedding, to allow for more R&R time.
3. Find a Convenient Location
Proximity and convenience is key when you’re picking out the right location. When you’re shopping for places, start by looking for spots near your venue. We recommend that the venue be no more than 20 miles from the hotel where out-of-town guests are staying. Overall, you and your guests will not want to travel any more than 45 minutes from your venue to your rehearsal dinner.
4. Provide Transportation
To minimize troubles for your guests in getting to the dinner, consider providing transportation. Potential options include staffing drivers or booking a shuttle bus to transport the entire invite list. This part of the planning is mostly for practical reasons, but could also add to the night’s festivities! For example, the bus could be a party bus with music or cocktails to kickstart the evening’s celebrations.
5. Get Personal with the Menu
The rehearsal dinner is a great way to get creative and personal with the dishes you serve to your guests. You could serve the cuisine you enjoyed together on your first official date, or the meal you ate on proposal night. These are great ways to give your guests some insight into who you are as a couple. To minimize costs, consider limiting the menu just to cocktails and appetizers.
6. Plan for Speeches
Toasts on the actual wedding day are made by the maid-of-honor and best man. The rehearsal dinner is a great place to open the floor for other loved ones to make sentimental speeches toward the engaged couple. It could be a good idea to get a microphone, so everyone can hear, or hire an emcee that can keep things organized.
7. Prepare Gifts
Being part of a wedding party can require a good amount of responsibility, so it’s nice to use the rehearsal dinner to thank them with a little gift. Prepare these packages beforehand so you can hand them out at dinner. Gift ideas include engraved flasks, personalized getting-ready robes, matching charm bracelets, or personalized cuff links!
8. Finish Last Minute Preparations for the Wedding Day
Use dinner as a time to get everything prepped for the wedding day. Since everyone is in the same room, you could use this time to issue last-minute reminders to your wedding party. You could make a list beforehand of things like necessities to bring, or reminders about where to be and when. This night is a time of celebration, but it could also be the last chance to ensure your big day is smooth sailing.
Plan with the Wedding Experts at Knowles Hospitality!
Planning a rehearsal dinner requires a balance between practicality and fun. This dinner is a special time to celebrate in a more intimate way with your loved ones, but should not be the main attraction of your wedding weekend. To kickstart your planning, dial (973) 731-5600 for professional, individualized guidance from the Knowles Hospitality wedding experts!