How to throw a Rehearsal dinner

Mar 27, 2014 | Planning
When family and friends are travelling to your wedding, it's often practical to have a rehearsal dinner to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing on the day itself. There are endless amounts of guides and information on how to plan you wedding but just how do you plan your rehearsal dinner? We've got the perfect example to help us through the process from Jordan Brittley... 1.  What is a wedding rehearsal? A wedding rehearsal is a practice or 'dry run' of the wedding ceremony itself. This allows people who have travelled from afar who are a part of the bridal party (or perhaps haven't had time to focus on their role) feel more confident about what their role is on the wedding day. Bridesmaids, ushers, best men, readers, parents and sometimes even the officiant and flower girls should attend and ask any questions they need to. You can walk through the ceremony procession, go through timings and make sure all of the bridal party know their responsibilities. Bring along your programs and copies of any readings on hand for people to follow along. Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-2 Jordan Brittley Photography Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-14 Jordan Brittley Photography 2.  Decide on what you want to have - It's time to relax, you've done what you can for the wedding and you should be good to go. With everyone arriving in town to attend your wedding day, it's time to get your cocktail dress on and attend dinner if you've chosen a restaurant, or get your bikini on if you've chosen a BBQ/picnic. Whatever it is, make sure you enjoy this last day before the wedding! Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-12 Jordan Brittley Photography How to plan a rehearsal dinner Jordan Brittley Photography 3.  What style should you go for? So you've chosen the overall type of rehearsal dinner you want and now you just want to refine the style. Making it complement the wedding style can help with costs as you can just add on stationery, props and other styling pieces. Bride Ellen tells us why she chose her rehearsal dinner venue: "We picked the St Louis Country Club for the rehearsal dinner because we knew the food would be excellent. The room we choose to hold the dinner in had a very French feel with soft colors, beautiful furnishings, and French doors overlooking the lawn." Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-37 Jordan Brittley Photography Minted wedding stationery Jordan Brittley Photography 4.  Who attends the rehearsal dinner? The bride and groom, parents, the officiant/vicar/priest (if applicable), the bridal party (including any children) and anyone making a reading at the ceremony (and their plus-ones). You might want to include other family members (such as grandparents or aunts and uncles) and close friends, for example. Many couples invite guests who have travelled to attend the wedding too, making the dinner into a welcoming party. Invitations are not required, but it's a good idea to send them if more than just family will be attending; and the host should mail them right after the wedding invitations go out. The invitations are not as formal as those for a wedding but can reflect its tone. They will give your guests an idea of what to expect too as they may not have attended a rehearsal dinner before. Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-9 Jordan Brittley Photography Blue and white dress Jordan Brittley Photography 5.  The toasts - Keep the rehearsal toasts spontaneous and short. The full toasts can be left for the wedding itself. In this intimate and casual setting, guests will often feel comfortable sharing their memories of the couple and wishing them well. If the groom's parents are hosting, his father might begin by welcoming all the guests and offering a toast to the bride and groom. The father of the bride can stand next, followed by the attendants and any other guests who want to speak. During the toasts, the bride and groom have a chance to say a few words of thanks to all of the people taking part in the wedding. If you're a bride that's thinking about making a speech at her own wedding and are not sure about it, perhaps the rehearsal dinner is the perfect chance to make it! This is also a great time for the bride and groom to present gifts to the members of the wedding party (and perhaps the parents) to thank them for their support. From Ellen: "My favorite part of the rehearsal dinner was the relaxed, intimate feeling. I loved having a night to bring both sides together and really connect as a whole family." Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-24 Jordan Brittley Photography Rehearsal dinner Jordan Brittley Photography 6.  Make the rehearsal dinner personal - This is a chance to remember how you met, the places you've been and why you're together. From Ellen: "We are planning on honeymooning in France and thought it would be the perfect theme for our rehearsal dinner. Our menu included two signature drinks, a Kir Royal and French 75, escargot puffs, coquille St. Jacques, and of course crème brulee. As a nod to the France/travel theme and a great favor for our out of town guests we used luggage tags for our menu/place cards. We also hired a lounge singer to provide classic French music during cocktails and dinner and really bring the theme to life." Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-27 Jordan Brittley Photography Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-13 Jordan Brittley Photography Jordan Brittley Rehearsal Dinner-33 Jordan Brittley Photography Vendor details Photography: Jordan Brittley | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Save The Date: Minted | Earrings: Kate Spade | Hair/Makeup: Blown Away St Louis | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Dress: Tadashi Shoji | Luggage Tags: Love Travels Favors | Band: The Poor People of Paris | Florist: Ken Meisner | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: St Louis Country Club 

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