Rehearsal dinner etiquette… What are we responsible to provide?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1779 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@dv3849:  In the US rehearsal dinners are exactly that, dinner. You could choose to serve a buffet or sit-down dinner but it should be meal size. Providing alcohol is a personal choice. They are traditionally used to feed those in your wedding after the rehearsal to thank them for their time and support during the planning process. Modern brides have tended towards using them as a ‘welcome dinner’ for out of state/town guests. This is a nice gesture but will also quickly get expensive.

Post # 4
428 posts
Helper bee

The rule: If you hold a rehearsal, you are required to provide the attendees with a meal.

That’s the extent of your obligation. If you don’t have a rehearsal, you don’t have to do anything. If you do have a rehearsal, any meal is sufficient – plenty of ordered pizza and sodas would do the job.

If you go beyond that, you are in no way required to pay for hotel rooms/cab rides, though arranging transportation can be appreciated if it is needed.


Post # 5
3280 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

My FI’s parents just booked our rehersal dinner yesterday. Typically the groom’s parents plan it but if they don’t want to it’s fine to do yourself. We are having everyone involved in the wedding (wedding party + dates, officiant, parents, grandparents, ushers +dates, RB + family, and FG +family) come to a nice dinner at a restaurant after the rehersal. Usually they are provided a full meal, but they can buy their own alcoholic drinks. If you want to pay for them you can but it’s not mandatory. You also don’t have to pay for transportation or hotels. 

Post # 6
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Dinner & non-alcoholic drinks for those you invite.

It doesn’t have to be fancy.. we are providing pizzas & soda, maybe beer.

Post # 7
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

We provided food, soda, and dessert!

Post # 8
4441 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@dv3849:  I think a dinner cruise would be awesome!

For our reherasal dinner guests provided their own transportation and hotel rooms.  We provided the meal including drinks (alcohol or otherwise), appetizers, main course, tip, etc.  We were at a pizza parlor so dessert wasn’t discussed.  Some people went out after the rehearsal to local bars and they bought their own drinks at that point because I’d gone home and to bed!

Post # 9
5697 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I don’t understand why a rehearsal dinner wuld involve hotel rooms?

You should provide dinner of some sort, whether it’s a restaurant, dinner cruise, pizza hosted at home etc… Also, your rehearsal typically consists of more than just the bridal party, all the family that is involved in the wedding and walking you down the aisle, the officiant, etc… And in that case you should be providing everyone with dinner. Don’t have a rehearsal with a big group then run off to do something fun with your bp and leave everyone hanging

Post # 10
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

I live in the US and we re expected to provide some kind of meal.  My MIL and I made big pans of lasagna and a big mixed salad with garlic bread on the side.  We also set out a bottle of wine, a bottle of vodka, and a few mixers for people to drink.  I’m not sure what the norm for a rehearsal dinner is in Canada though.

Post # 11
1584 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@dv3849:  For our rehearsal, we ordered in a few pizzas, made a couple salads, and provided wine, beer and soft drinks. We only had about 10-12 people there.

Post # 12
818 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

We had our rehearsal dinner at a sports bar/pizza place.  We had quite a few out of town guests so we invited them as well.  We provided pizza, several appetizers and pitchers of beer and soda.  If anyone wanted a mixed drink, they were free to buy it themselves from the bar.  We did not pay for hotels or transportation.

Post # 13
922 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I’ve only been to 1 rehearsal dinner, and it included a full dinner, but we had to buy our own cocktails.

For my rehearsal dinner, my in-laws have booked a room at a local restaurant and is inviting everyone that is here from out of town. A little more than I would do if I was hosting, but I’m not, so she can do what she wants.

Post # 14
919 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

You’re only responsible for feeding your guests. I think a cruise would be awesome! We had our rehearsal at a restaurant. Food and any drinks ordered from the waiter was on us, although one of DH’s groomsmen kept buying rounds for everyone from the bar. They found their own transportation. Since a few of our wedding party was out of town, we did provide hotel rooms for them for two nights but that was just somethng we wanted to do for them!

Post # 15
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@dv3849:  We’re having a small destination wedding. Most of our guests will have to drive about 7 hours to be there, and a few are flying in, so we want to take good care of them. We’re hosting everyone (29 people) for dinner at a nice restaurant, and providing beer and wine. 

Post # 16
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@dv3849:  I only know rehearsal dinners to consist of dinners. The dinners can really be anything. The only ones I’ve attended have been at restaurants, but you can also cater food or make the food yourself and host it at home.

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