Ahhh, the rehearsal day has come! This is not just a time to practice for the upcoming wedding day. It is an occasion to gather with those closest to you for an intimate, peaceful few hours over a nice meal and drinks.
There are, of course, several traditions surrounding the rehearsal dinner that many brides and grooms have questions about. This makes perfect sense, up until you are directly involved in planning the event, you might not have had any reason to come into contact with these unspoken “rules”! Here are the ones I am most often asked about:
1 – Who Hosts?
Traditionally – the groom or the grooms’ family traditionally pays for the rehearsal dinner since the brides’ family traditionally pays for the wedding. Modern take – in today’s times, most anything goes and the bride and groom may even host the rehearsal dinner themselves
2 – Who Attends?
Traditionally – Anyone involved in the wedding ceremony (and their dates) should be invited to attend the rehearsal dinner. Modern take – you may want to include other close family members, like grandparents to the rehearsal dinner. Some couples even extend the guest list to out of town guests, making the rehearsal dinner more of a welcome party!
3 – What Do We Serve?
Traditionally – There are really no hard and fast rules on food served at the rehearsal dinner but you do want to stay away from anything close to your wedding day fare. If your wedding cuisine features a 5 course sit down dinner, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual BBQ buffet. Or if you are serving pork and chicken for the wedding meal, consider a seafood entree for the rehearsal dinner. Modern take – the rehearsal dinner doesn’t have to be a dinner! Some couples now choose to have a brunch or lunch ahead of the wedding day so they have more time the evening before to get ready. Just be sure there is still enough time blocked out to actually rehearse the wedding.
4 – Who Gives a Toast?
Traditionally – the first toast is given by the father of the host (groom) welcoming everyone, after this the father of the bride will often give the next toast. Unlike the wedding reception, during the rehearsal dinner after the key toasts are made the floor is opened up to anyone else wanting to make a tribute. Another difference is that some toasts (like that of the best man) can lean more towards roasting since this is a more intimate gathering than the wedding day. Modern take – Mothers, grandmothers, sisters – women should all feel welcome to make a toast too, just because tradition has men starting doesn’t mean your amazing passionate well-spoken mama can’t give the toast!
What do you think? Do you have more questions about the dress rehearsal or rehearsal dinner? I’m happy to help! Did you know I have wedding photography collections that include the rehearsal? I can also work with you on a custom package or provide coverage at my a la carte rate – just ask!
Happy Wedding Planning!
With Grit & Grace~
Sarah Keenan, Wedding Photographer