When it comes to planning your rehearsal Dinner there are so many options and there really are no “rights” or “wrongs” – some people keep it small while others invite everyone attending the wedding. As you plan, here are some helpful hints:
First things first, decide on the size and style of your rehearsal – choosing a venue and knowing the formality will help with this a lot. If you’re having a sit down meal at a fancy restaurant, you’ll want to keep things small but if you’re taking over a casual restaurant or planning a yard party, inviting everyone isn’t so tough! It was important to me and my family to invite the majority of our wedding guests to the rehearsal – so we knew a small, formal restaurant wasn’t in the cards!
If you’re having trouble narrowing down your guest list, it’s helpful to think of people in groups: Bridal Party, immediate family and grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, close friends, distant friends, and beyond. It’s hard not to be able to invite everyone, but by grouping people this way no one gets singled out. My husband and I have over 20 cousins which was more than our venue could accommodate. We made the tough choice not to invite them but they all went out to dinner together and got to catch up so everyone had a great time!
If you’re planning on having a smaller rehearsal dinner but still want to see everyone the night before your wedding, pick a local restaurant or bar and let all your wedding guests know that you’ll be heading that way once your rehearsal dinner wraps up. A great place to put these details is on your wedding website. This way you can still see everyone and relax with friends and family before any wedding jitters set in!
If you want to invite everyone but you’re daunted by the thought, don’t worry! You can plan a pot-luck, cocktail party, or backyard BBQ. Get your guests involved! If you have friends who loves to bake, ask them to bring dessert – delegate different dishes to different trusted people – there will be plenty of food and your guests will feel like they were a part of your big day! A casual rehearsal is a great way for everyone to relax and break the ice at an event that’s fun and doesn’t break the bank. My own rehearsal was very casual and I loved getting to mingle with all my friends and family rather than feeling like I was stuck in one seat all night.
If you aren’t able to invite all of your wedding guests to the rehearsal dinner, you should definitely give them a list of great restaurants in the area they can check out on their own! You can include this on your wedding website, in hotel welcome bags, or both! This way anyone arriving the day before your wedding will have a list of places they can go that are approved by you guys – the people they trust to show them a great time!
No matter the size and no matter the style, your rehearsal should be one more thing you love every minute of so remember to relax and enjoy it!