Make Your Rehearsal Dinner a Blast!
By Gwen Lewis
The rehearsal dinner has become an important tradition in multi-day modern weddings, serving as one part of what becomes a larger wedding story. The rehearsal dinner is a special time, usually the evening before the wedding, that brings all of the closest and important people to the bride and groom together in one place. The happy couple typically uses this time to honor their wedding party, gifting them with food, drink, and special tokens of appreciation.
Because it is such a unique time with friends and family, the bride and groom can provide special touches to make this a memorable occasion.
Focus on Local
A rehearsal dinner can be as informal or as fancy as the bride and groom desire. Because wedding traditions are generally no longer hard-and-fast, the decisions and payment for the rehearsal dinner can fall to the groom’s family, the bride’s family, a combination of friends and family, or to the bride and groom themselves.
Whether the venue is an elegant and relaxed backyard barbecue or a more formal gathering in a fancier restaurant, focus the rehearsal dinner on what can be found locally. Caterers and specialty restaurants often offer locally-sourced food made into elegant cuisine, which is fresh and customized to your event. Bring a personal touch to your rehearsal dinner by focusing on what the smaller local businesses can offer, supporting the community and local economy while giving your friends and family and taste of what your city has to offer.
Include Your Stories
A rehearsal dinner – like the wedding itself – can be full of meaningful moments and memories created from the stories already shared by the special couple. Include a dish made from an old family recipe, then include the recipe as part of a gift to each participant at the rehearsal dinner. Or create a unique playlist of music that can be part of the background during the rehearsal dinner; then give guests print outs of the song specifics and why each one is special to the two getting married.
It is essential to remember that toasts are not just for the wedding reception. The rehearsal dinner is a fabulous time and place for members of the wedding party to relax, get to know one another, and tell those funny stories about the happy couple that can otherwise get left behind. Encourage members of the family and wedding to make toasts so that everyone present can share in the stories, memories, and resulting laughter.
Make it Fun
There is a lot of stress surrounding a wedding for all people involved. Give everyone a break and consider making the rehearsal dinner a fun and relaxed event so that everyone can blow off some steam. For many weddings and other special events can be time-intensive; for others, not at all! Rehearsal dinner should be fun for both kinds of guests.
While rehearsal dinners are certainly not required, they can take many forms, such as picnics or barbecues with outdoor games, bonfires on the beach, potlucks, catered house parties, wine tastings, pool parties, and a day at the closest amusement park. The point of a rehearsal dinner is to get everybody together after rehearsing for the big wedding event – why not have some fun with it?
Images and meals courtesy of 24 carrots.