First impressions matter. Your wedding day will be the best day of your life, but it’s important to not forget about the rehearsal dinner. Usually held the night before the ceremony, the rehearsal is the looking glass into the actual wedding. This time is great for mingling with the friends and family you might not get to spend with on your big day, due to all of the chaos. Here, we’ll explore the importance of a rehearsal dinner and how you should go about planning yours.
What Exactly is a Rehearsal Dinner?
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is a dinner or celebration held the night before a wedding. Most people getting married are doing it for the first time, so couples will use this as an opportunity to do a practice run of the ceremony with anyone who is involved. Hence, the “rehearsal” aspect of the phrase. This also counts as a wonderful chance to thank your close family members and wedding party for all the help and support they provided in the wedding, especially for those traveling from out-of-town.
With most weddings being held on a Saturday, rehearsal dinners are usually hosted on a Friday night. For weddings set on holidays or another day throughout the week, rehearsal dinners can be planned to meet the greatest number of schedules. Some even opt to host a brunch the morning-of to give all those invited a chance to make it.
Why Have It?
Your wedding day will be a blur. Between getting ready, the actual ceremony and the reception that follows, there is usually a tight schedule to be upheld. Some guests don’t even get the chance to talk to the bride and groom during the reception since they’ll be pulled in so many directions. A rehearsal dinner allows for the couple to relax with their guests before the big day.
We know that many things can go awry on your wedding day. Your rehearsal gives everyone the chance to practice their role in the ceremony. Practice makes perfect, and that is exactly what you want your day to be! Also, the rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity for the bride and groom’s family and friends to meet, mingle and get comfortable with each other before the rest of the weekend’s festivities.
Who Hosts It?
Although the rehearsal dinner is traditionally planned and paid for by the groom’s family, anyone can host it if they are willing. The engaged couple will be focused on the details of the wedding, so it is up to a family member, friend or member of the wedding party to plan this occasion. However, the rehearsal dinner must reflect the couple’s preference and taste.
It’s important to plan ahead as caterers and venues will possibly be booked up to six months in advance. Restaurants are a popular place to throw a rehearsal dinner; however, if you want the occasion to be more intimate, book a private space. Use the same caterer that will be used for the reception, since there is already an outstanding relationship between the company and the couple.
The Planning Process:
Step 1: Planning Your Budget
It is important to remember that the rehearsal dinner is only a small step leading up to the wedding. Let your budget be guided by the fact that this is not the main event, yet a time for a small group of your guests to mingle and have a good time. Don’t feel an immense amount of pressure when planning your budget. Instead, let this be a time for you to get creative with your resources on a smaller scale.
Step 2: The Guest List
The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to interact with those closest to you, so try to reflect that into your guest list. The must-invites include both the bride and groom’s immediate families; the wedding party and each of their spouses/significant other; and anybody else directly involved in the wedding.
Step 3: Book the Venue and Caterer
When it comes to booking the venue and caterer for your rehearsal dinner, the earlier the better. Explore all of the possible venues for your rehearsal to pick one that fits best with your budget and wedding plans. It is important to keep in mind guest parking and transportation when choosing a location for your rehearsal dinner. Don’t shop around for different vendors but use the same caterer and event rental company. If you live in the Knoxville area, Bradford Catered Events can help you achieve your ideal rehearsal dinner with our customizable menus and impeccable service.
Step 4: Invitations and RSVPs
When creating your rehearsal dinner invitations, keep it simple. You can send out the invitation alone or along with the wedding invitation. Some guests who can attend the wedding may not be able to make it to the rehearsal dinner. When the wedding is about two to three weeks away, follow up with the guests who haven’t RSVP’d yet.
Whatever catering option you may choose, let it be the option that is best fit for you, your budget and what you have envisioned for your rehearsal dinner. Bradford Catered Events offers set-up services, clean-up services and complete bar service. Let us aid you in achieving your ideal rehearsal dinner! With over 35 years of experience, customizable menus and multiple food service options, we make it easy to get everything you need in one place. To book Bradford for your wedding or event, give us a call at (865) 522-5552 or visit our website.