Wedding Planning

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette 101

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette 101

Need help figuring out this whole rehearsal dinner thing? We have all the answers to your rehearsal dinner etiquette questions.






Who should host the rehearsal dinner?


Traditionally, the parents of the groom host the rehearsal dinner. However, if they are unable, the bride’s parents, other relatives (on either side), or friends of the couple could take over hosting duties.




Who is invited to the rehearsal dinner?


The guest list for this event varies depending upon different circumstances and the preference of the hosts.  The people that must be invited are the wedding party members and their spouses or partners (plus one invites are not required for single bridesmaids and groomsmen), immediate family members of the bride and groom, and the officiant and their spouse.


However, some hosts choose to let this list grow to out-of-town guests, plus ones for all, and extended family. Keep in mind that the host determines the guest list for this event.




When should the event take place?


Preferably, the event should take place after the rehearsal, although it doesn’t have to be directly after.  If the venue is only able to do the rehearsal in the morning on the day before the wedding, you could certainly opt to do a brunch, but there’s also no reason not to hold the rehearsal dinner that evening.




Where should the rehearsal dinner be? What should the decor and details look like?


The host can choose any venue they’d like, from a state park to a swanky hotel, so long as the rehearsal dinner is less formal than the wedding (the exception would be if the bride’s parents are hosting both the wedding and the rehearsal dinner). The goal is not to outshine the main event.  The decor and details should also reflect that. If the wedding is very basic and features little decor, the rehearsal dinner should not be filled with tons of floral centerpieces and extravagant details.


Travel distance from the rehearsal at the wedding venue should also be considered when selecting the space for the dinner. The wedding party members will already be tired and they have a big day tomorrow. People should be able to get home or to their accommodations in a timely manner.




What is the order of the toasts?


Although there are also several toasts at the wedding, many of the family toasts are done at the rehearsal dinner. As always, the host of the evening (traditionally the father of the groom) kicks off the toasts.  Once he is done, the bride’s family generally follows. Wedding party members certainly can give toasts, but particularly if there will be toasts at the reception, they might want to wait. Usually, toasts at the rehearsal dinner are family members that might want a more intimate setting for their well wishes than the larger event the next day.  But again, anyone at the rehearsal dinner can give a toast.  When the toasts wind down, the couple concludes the evening with a thank you to their hosts and parents.




Do people bring gifts?


Nope. Although sometimes the couple might choose to pass out their wedding party gifts here rather than the next day.




Photography   |   Katie Grace Photography