Rehearsal dinners set the stage and the atmosphere for the events ahead, and are a perfect time to unwind with loved ones and recharge your batteries before the big day.
Your rehearsal dinner doesn’t need to compete with the wedding itself, but it can still be a delightful evening and prequel for the main event! Have a look through our handcrafted tips to make sure you start your wedding celebrations off with a bang.
What exactly is a rehearsal dinner?
Rehearsal dinners are a big part of the wedding tradition, and are usually held the evening before. These events are a wonderful way for your friends and family to spend some time together and leave everyone feeling more relaxed come the actual ceremony.
They often include a run through of the ceremony itself followed by a sit down meal, but yours can be anything you want it to be. Some couples choose to go without the meal and prefer cocktails and canapes, others might choose an actual rehearsal of the wedding meal itself! The main takeaway from the rehearsal dinner is that everyone has an enjoyable time and that you feel ready for the day of the wedding.
Four things to think about before the rehearsal
1. Decide on the venue
Do you want a decadent dinner in a deluxe hotel? Or would you prefer a smaller, intimate affair in a rustic setting? Think about what works best with the overall theme, and is logistically suitable. Your rehearsal dinner could take place in the same venue as the ceremony, or perhaps a classy restaurant nearby – it’s completely up to you.
2. Curate the guest list
It’s important to get this right. Of course, you should invite anyone who has a role in the ceremony – this includes the wedding party, the ring bearer and the parents of the happy couple. It’s always a nice gesture to invite the person officiating the wedding, and their partner if they have one. If you have extended friends and family who have come a long way for the occasion, it is thoughtful to invite them too.
3. Brief the speakers
Whether they’ve chosen what they’ll read or you’ve asked them for something specific, it’s important for each person to know what they’re reading and when. It’s also helpful to have backup copies of everything as well, just in case someone’s speech goes astray at the last minute!
4. Who will walk you down the aisle?
Don’t just assume that the person you’d like to walk you down the aisle will know you want them to. This is one of the most special roles in the ceremony and should be treated as such, and it means you get to see their face light up when you ask.
…and four things to think about during the rehearsal
5. Order of events
Everyone needs to know what they’re doing and when, to make sure that the ceremony runs smoothly. Practice walking down the aisle in the shoes you’re going to wear, and go through the ceremony in the order that it will happen. This includes saying your vows!
6. Keep an eye on the time
Although you want everyone to have a good time, make a note of how long everything takes, and give a little leeway here and there as you don’t want to end up having to rush things on the big day. If your rehearsal dinner is the night before, it’s also wise to make sure it ends fairly early. You don’t want any bleary eyes or sore heads the next morning!
7. Keep a token of the evening
There’ll be some special moments during the rehearsal that you’ll want to relive, so why not make sure it’s documented forever?! If you don’t have the budget or don’t want to book your wedding photographer for two days, you can ask your guests to take lots of photos and record the speeches. A simple alternative is to have disposable cameras – that way you get the fun of getting the film developed afterwards.
8. Remember to say thank you
This is the perfect time to show your gratitude to the people you love most. On the big day itself you’ll be pulled in all directions – so the rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to say thank you to the people who’ve helped you plan and prepare for the big day, and have come from far and wide to be there. If you’ve got the budget, it’s also a nice gesture to get the closest people to you a small token of your thanks. We’ve got some great ideas for gifts for your bridesmaids here.
There we have it, some simple tips to make sure you have a fun and stress free rehearsal dinner. Remember, you can tailor the event to your own tastes and you don’t have to follow tradition. Whether your idea of a fabulous event is a swanky sit down soiree or an informal drinks occasion, there’s no wrong way to have a rehearsal dinner.
If you’re still looking to find the perfect dress for your big day, why not book an appointment with Alta Costura? We’d love to make you feel beautiful on your special day.