The rehearsal dinner is one element of the wedding planning that can be confusing for the future bride and groom. Questions such as do we really have to have a rehearsal dinner, what do we do at the rehearsal dinner, who pays for the rehearsal dinner, who is invited to the rehearsal dinner and do we have to invite out of town guests are planning questions that remain unanswered for many couples. While the rehearsal dinner may just seem like another expense and another task that needs to be completed, it’s important to not skip out on this wonderful opportunity to get together with close friends and family members for a night of relaxation in a casual atmosphere before the wedding. This article is intended to answer some of the questions surrounding the planning of a rehearsal dinner and to provide the couple with some necessary information to help them plan a successful rehearsal dinner.
While a rehearsal dinner is not necessary, it is a good opportunity to get together with close friends and family members to thank them all for their participation and assistance during the planning of the wedding as well as their participation in the actual wedding itself. The rehearsal dinner gives the couple the chance to extend their thanks to everyone who has been involved with the wedding planning or who has simply supported them in their efforts. The rehearsal dinner can also be the opportunity to relax and unwind before the wedding. The couple is able to put aside their concerns over their upcoming nuptials and enjoy the time with family and friends. The rehearsal dinner has become a common tradition in weddings but the couple is not obligated to host a rehearsal dinner if they choose not to do so.
The typical activities involved in a rehearsal dinner include meeting at the site of the ceremony to run through the logistics of the ceremony and then gathering at a particular location, a restaurant, catering hall or even a friend’s house, to enjoy a meal together. During the dinner the couple usually takes the opportunity to thank all their guests for their love and support and may choose to honor their wedding party with gifts at this time. There are also usually a series of informal toasts at the rehearsal dinner. The parents of the couple will also usually thank the guests and offer a toast to the couple. Any of the guests at the rehearsal dinner are also free to offer a toast or a few words of wisdom to the couple. While the wedding is shrouded in traditions and expectations, the rehearsal dinner is typically a relaxed atmosphere with no set agendas.
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The subject of who pays for the rehearsal dinner is another confusing topic. Tradition holds that the parents of the groom assume the financial responsibility of the rehearsal dinner but more and more couples are opting to bear the burden of the rehearsal dinner on their own. There are a couple of factors that are contributing to this changing trend. First the medium ages of couples getting married is on the rise and couples who marry at a later age are typically more financially established and capable of affording to finance the rehearsal dinner themselves. In addition the responsibility of paying for the rehearsal dinner is typically accompanied by the responsibility of planning the rehearsal dinner and many couples are unwilling to relinquish the planning responsibilities. The couple wants to ensure that the rehearsal dinner reflects their personalities and tastes and therefore assumes all responsibilities for planning the rehearsal dinner.
Although the original intent for the rehearsal dinner was to include those who are actively involved in the ceremony, the couple is free to invite any other guests that they choose to join them in the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the couple to thank everyone who has supported them throughout their wedding planning and also to just relax and have a good time with friends and family outside of the formality that often surrounds a wedding. With this in mind it is appropriate to invite anyone that you want to share in this sentiment. The couple may also wish to include out of town guest in the rehearsal dinner in order to thank them for making the trip to be with them on their wedding day. While including out of town guests is a wonderful gesture, it is important to understand that the couple is not obligated to do so. If it would be too financially cumbersome to include all of the out of town guests, the couple could consider hosting a smaller event such as an evening of drinks and appetizers for this larger group. Although everyone participating in the ceremony should be included in the rehearsal dinner the guest list is not restricted to these individuals and the couple can choose to include anyone they wish.
Planning a rehearsal dinner can seem daunting as the rules are not clearly defined but it is this flexibility that makes planning a rehearsal dinner such a fun challenge. From the invitation list to the activities the couple is under no obligations to adhere to any strict guidelines in planning their rehearsal dinner. Although planning a rehearsal dinner is not obligatory, many couples opt to do so because it is such a wonderful opportunity to thank their loved ones for their continued support.
That’s how things stand right now. Keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest wedding news.