Top 10 Tips To Host Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette in 2024

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

Getting wed-locked soon?

Many Congratulations!

Undeniably, there are certain things that you need to take care of for hosting a memorable wedding, including rehearsal dinner.

So, if you’re wondering how and where to host a rehearsal dinner, then read this post. In this post, we shall discuss everything about rehearsal dinner etiquette.

Let’s get started…

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Your wedding celebration will likely begin with a rehearsal dinner, regardless of whether you’re planning a big fat wedding or want to keep things relatively simple.

Rehearsal dinners are typically held during the wedding weekend. Traditionally, the parents of the groom prepare and host a party the night before the wedding, following the rehearsal for the wedding ceremony. Everyone in the immediate relatives, members of the wedding party, and out-of-town relatives are invited to the ceremony. However, the couple does play a crucial role in it. After all, it is their life’s biggest event.

It is absolutely up to you how you want your dinner rehearsal to be. Some couples prefer hosting elaborate rehearsal dinners complete with a designated venue, themed decorations, and a menu designed especially for the occasion, while others just want to keep things simple.

What exactly is a Rehearsal Dinner?

Rehearsal dinners are the events held during the wedding weekend. It is attended by the families of the bride and groom, members of the bridal party, close friends, and out-of-town guests. Traditional rehearsal dinners are hosted by the groom’s family. However, if the groom’s family declines to host, the bride’s family can take charge of it.

The bride’s parents can arrange for a suitable location for the supper if it is taking place in the bride’s hometown or vice versa. If the groom’s family organizes the party, they’ll be the in-charge of finding the location. It is also customary for the two sets of parents to split the bill, together with the bride and groom.

It doesn’t matter how you want to celebrate the occasion; it’s always good to be creative. Being creative will help you plan your event the right way and enjoy it to the fullest.

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquettes

Dinner rehearsals are important occasions that are organized during the wedding weekend. You need to follow certain protocols in order to host the event properly.

Below is the list concerning this traditional pre-wedding rite to help you make the event memorable. Take a look…

The Location

The location where you’ll host the rehearsal dinner plays a crucial role. Traditionally, the groom’s parents used to organize rehearsal dinners. However, today either side of the party can organize the event.

The Location

Whether your parents decide to organize the party or the bride’s side takes charge of it – the rehearsal dinner location should be booked as soon as the wedding and wedding rehearsal dates have been set. You may book a private room at a restaurant or book a space at a private club to host the event. Make sure the place you book offers food.

A home-hosted meal with catering is another common choice. Both parties can even club to host the event. For instance, the groom’s family may give their home, yard, or beach for the rehearsal dinner, while the bride’s family covers the costs of food and drink.

A nice seating area will be required to have your immediate family, guests, and bridal party mingle in comfort and enjoy thoroughly.

Aside from that, make sure your rehearsal dinner location is not too far. Don’t make your guests travel too much to attend your rehearsal dinner. If, in case, the location is too far, make sure to arrange for your guests’ transportation.

The Cost

Now, one of the most crucial questions to answer when planning a rehearsal dinner is who will pay for it. Traditionally, the groom’s family plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. However, it is absolutely up to the couple to decide who is going to foot the bill. Who so ever foots the bill, it is essential that you decide this in advance. Knowing it in advance will help you have a clear picture, and you’ll be able to spend within your budget.

The Cost

The Guest List

As said earlier, dinner rehearsals are important occasions. You’ll need to invite close family members, friends, and bridal party members to the event. You can even invite the officiant, any readers, and the ushers to the wedding rehearsal supper. Aside from that, you may also consider inviting the ring bearer and flower girl. It is absolutely up to the couple who they want to invite to the event.

The idea is to make the whole event memorable. Having your loved ones by your side to celebrate your special occasion will surely make the event unforgettable for all.

Also Read: How To Make A Wedding Guest List

The Invites

Notifying your guests for the rehearsal dinner is yet another important aspect. The rules for inviting guests to a rehearsal dinner are less stringent than those for a wedding.

The Invites

You don’t need to send formal printed invites. You can consider sending a formal email to all the guests you intend to have at the event. A formal invitation sent through the mail is the norm for formal events. If you’re hosting an informal event, consider making calls to all your guests.

The Timeline To Send Invites

It is crucial that you notify all your guests very much on time. Whether you host a formal event or an informal one, sending invites on time is crucial.

As a rule of thumb, you must inform your guests at least four to six weeks in advance. Sending invites on time will give your guests enough time to prepare for the event. Of course, they’ll need to take off from work or book their tickets (in case they’re out-of-town guests). Whatever the case, communicating this information to your guests on time is essential to avoid any important invites.

The Day

Another important question that couples ask is when to host the rehearsal dinner. Well, rehearsal meals are typically held on the evening before a Saturday wedding, after the ceremony has been practiced. You can even plan to host it on the Thursday, Friday, or Saturday before the big day. The thing is that these events are held during the wedding weekend.

The Day

The Style

Couples can choose to host any type of dinner, from a formal sit-down dinner to the buffet, a casual beach party to a picnic. It is always good to host it in style so that your guests can enjoy the whole thing thoroughly.

In order to make the rehearsal dinner feel like a natural part of the wedding and the rest of the weekend, you can choose to adhere to a specific theme.

NOTE: One thing to keep in mind is that the rehearsal should not be more elaborate than the actual wedding.


Top 10 Tips To Host A Stunning Rehearsal Dinner

Whether you want to host a lavish rehearsal dinner or a simple one, here are the tips to follow to host a lovely rehearsal dinner:

1. Choose a host

Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner. However, if they decline to do so, the bride’s family or the couple itself chooses to foot the bills. But it is essential to have clarity about who is going to foot the bill in advance. In fact, both the groom’s parents and the bride’s parents can choose to chip in equally for dinner. Make sure to consult with both your partner and the bride’s parents to figure out what to do.

2. Decide on the budget

Whether you’re planning to host a simple event or an elaborate one, deciding the budget in advance is crucial. If you’re not hosting the event the traditional way in which the groom’s parents foot the bill, ask both sets of parents to chip it equally.

3. Pick the right theme

Your rehearsal dinner is an important occasion; hence, it is critical to pick the right theme for the event. Having a themed rehearsal dinner is a great way to set the tone for the entire wedding weekend. Of course, you don’t need to copy the wedding theme for your dinner party. You can choose to add some elements of your wedding theme to your dinner party. Choose a theme that reflects your personality effectively.

4. Type of the event

Choosing the type of the event is very important. Doing so will help you plan accordingly. You can choose to host a family event or plan an elaborate one having too many guests. A family event could be a pool party, a picnic, or a small get-together with your loved ones. While for elaborate events, you’ll have to arrange for the right location, such as a restaurant. Whatever type you choose, make sure it reflects who you two are.

5. Choose the location

Once you have your dinner dates with you, it is crucial to start finding the right location for the event. Choosing the right location will be primarily influenced by your budget for the event. You can choose to host the dinner at your backyard (if budget is a constraint), or in a lavish restaurant (if you’ve enough budget). Whatever you choose, make sure it is not too far for your guests. And if it is, make sure to arrange for their transportation.

Choose the location.

6. Send invites

As said earlier, you don’t need to send printed invites for rehearsal dinners. You are free to send a formal email or make a call to all your guests who you intend to have at the event. All you have to make sure is to make a list of attendees in advance. You can invite your close family members, relatives, close friends, members of the bridal party, your officiant, any reader, the flower girl, and the ring bearer. Aside from that, inviting out-of-town guests to join in on the fun is a nice gesture.

7. Get the menu sorted

Sorting out your rehearsal dinner menu is essential. Whether you plan a simple dinner at home or want to host a lavish dinner at a restaurant or a banquet hall, collaborating with a caterer can help significantly. If collaborating with a caterer seems impossible, you can ask your close family member and relatives to take care of the food. You can even have a food truck at the event spot to serve your guests.

Get the menu sorted.

Food Options for Rehearsal Dinners

  • Burrito Bar
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Tortillas
  • Lasagna
  • Pizzas
  • Mexican Buffet Dinner
  • Taco Bar

Dessert Options for Rehearsal Dinners

Of course, no party is complete without desserts. Having desserts at your rehearsal dinner is imperative. You can have as many desserts at your party. Here are some of the best options you can opt for:

  • Cupcakes
  • Heart-shaped cookies
  • Pies
  • Pastries
  • Lemon Meringue Tart
  • S’mores Bar
  • Sundae Bar
  • Truffles and other miniature desserts
  • No Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake Tarts with Lemon

Cocktail Options for Rehearsal Dinners

Non-Alcoholic Beverages, such as

  • Fruit Juices
  • Sparkling Caramel Apple Punch
  • Apple Cider Autumn Sangria
  • Mango Fruit Crusher
  • Spiked Cranberry Spritzers
  • Pomegranate-Pear Sangrias

Alcoholic Beverages, such as

  • Pineapple Beer-Garitas
  • Rosemary-Cherry Limeade Vodka Slushy
  • Whisky Margaritas
  • Vodka
  • Mojito
  • Beer

PRO TIP: If the guest list ends up being quite big, though, you can keep costs down by providing simple meal options, such as just cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts.

8. Gifts

Giving gifts to the ones who arranged for your rehearsal dinners is customary. It is a great way to show your appreciation to your parents for everything they’ve done for you. Buy them a gift that is meaningful and that will serve as a reminder of the biggest day of your lives to them.

9. Send reminders

Make sure to send reminders to all your invitees. Aside from that, verify your guests have received clear instructions on where to go and when to arrive. It’s always good to remind guests the night before the ceremony of the schedule for the following day. You can make them a call and inform them about the time and location along with detailed directions. Also, if you’ve arranged for your guests’ transport, make sure to inform them of the pickup and drop points.

Send reminders.

10. Have fun

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event that you should enjoy thoroughly. There will be certain things that may not happen your way, which is okay. You don’t need to stress yourself out for something that didn’t turn out your way. Have fun with the people you care about, and show them how much you value their presence without worrying about anything else.

Wrapping it up…

It’s time to conclude rehearsal dinner etiquette. We hope these suggestions will aid you in planning an unforgettable rehearsal dinner. It’s important to remember that planning a wedding takes time and energy. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but with the aid of friends and family, the burden can be lightened, and the celebration can be enjoyed by all.


1. What is the role of the bride and groom in a rehearsal dinner?

A rehearsal dinner is organized for the soon-to-be wedlock couple. A couple is a bridge between the two families. They can help coordinate, organize, and plan the whole event. It is their duty to coordinate with both sets of parents and arrange things, such as timing, location, theme, etc., accordingly.

2. What are the various ways to send rehearsal dinner invites?

There are various ways you can send out dinner rehearsal invites to your guests, such as handwritten invites, emails, phone, WhatsApp messages, etc. It totally depends on the size and formality of the event.

3. What details should a rehearsal dinner have?

Your rehearsal invite must have the following:

  • The date of the event
  • The time of the event
  • The location of the party.

If you’re hosting your party in some other location other than your home, you’ll need to send detailed directions to your guests. Make sure you send invites four to six weeks ahead of time.

4. How can we keep our guests entertained at the event?

The dinner rehearsal is an opportunity for you to keep your guests entertained. The couple and their parents should introduce each other to their respective families at the beginning of the event.
You can keep your guests entertained with music, stories, jokes, and so on. The bride and groom can even give speeches, propose a toast to their parents and then to everyone else present, and so on.

Aside from that, the maid of honour and the best man can give a short speech or toast to the couple. You can even give your attendants presents along with thank you note!

5. What is the best time of the day to host a rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is often held the evening before the BIG DAY. For instance, if your wedding is scheduled for Saturday, your rehearsal dinner will be held on the evening of Friday. You can even choose to host the rehearsal dinner two days before the ceremony. It is totally up to you. All you need to consider is your and your guests’ comfort before deciding on the day.

The rehearsal dinners usually last for two to three hours. You can start your event around 5:30 in the evening and wrap up at around 7:30 o’clock in the evening. When the wedding is on a Sunday or holiday, you have greater flexibility.

Happy Wedding… 😊 😊