(Closed) Tell me about your rehearsal dinner!

posted 4 years ago in Logistics
Post # 2
10275 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

My in-laws hosted the rehearsal dinner. We did not invite out of town guests as that would have been almost the entire guest list! We invited grandparents, siblings, wedding party members, and everyone was allowed to bring a date.

We held it at the clubhouse in my in-laws neighborhood and catered dinner from a Mexican restaurant (I have no idea which one). It was simple and casual. 

Post # 3
1348 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - The Lodge at Little Seneca Creek

We’ll be having our rehearsal at our wedding venue the day before the wedding. Our wedding party is both of our immediate families, who have never met before. So our rehearsal dinner will just be us, our wedding party, and our parents. Although the majority of our guests are out-of-town, we won’t be inviting them because we really want it to be a time for our families to get to know each other better. My Fiance and I will be paying for this dinner, and we’ll be eating at a relatively nice Italian restaurant near our venue. (My Future In-Laws don’t have much money and have already contributed financially to our wedding in other ways.)

Post # 4
4904 posts
Honey bee

Well, the purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to thank the people directly involved in your wedding (anyone walking down the aisle and/or standing along side you) for taking more time out of their schedule to rehearse and be involved in your wedding.  If you aren’t having a rehearsal, then no rehearsal dinner required.  The only people required to be invited are those participating in the rehearsal and their significant others, though you can invite others if you wish but then it starts to get into second reception territory.  The meal should be served immediately after rehearsal (though I have heard of people having the meal first, then rehearsal immediately after, but that was due to scheduling conflicts where the venue wasn’t available for the rehearsal until after normal dinner time).  So is your rehearsal scheduled in the morning if you’re thinking of doing a brunch?  Because I would be a bit peeved to have two connected events spaced out with a gap taking up most of my day.

As for what you can do, it’s pretty much anything you want as long as you are hosting your guests well.  I’ve attended rehearsal dinners that were almost like second receptions, gone out for dinner at anywhere from casual to high end restaurants,  BBQ’d and had a bonfire in someone’s backyard, and drank pizza and beer in the hotel conference room where we were all staying.  It can be as formal or as casual as you want and your budget allows.

Post # 5
585 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

We went for a casual rehearsal dinner over a formal dinner party. That allowed us to open it up to more guests while keeping our budget down. We reserved the top floor of a (nice) bar, and did a consumption bar plus heavy passed appetizers and stationary platters (think nachos, sliders, wings, salads, etc. but at a gastro-pub type place). We had about 60 guests at the rehearsal dinner, and 100 total wedding guests. After 2.5 hours we were at about a $2,000 tab, including tax and gratuity (and we forgot to limit the bar menu — we were intending to offer wine, beer, and only certain cocktails but instead offered a full bar).

Post # 7
6800 posts
Busy Beekeeper

View original reply
silkybutterbee :  A rehearsal dinner is necessary if you are rehearsing – it’s to thank your wedding party for wasting their time rehearsing (I’m being facetious but yeah).  You do not have to invite all of the out of town guests, though – it’s just a thing people started doing to include those who’ve traveled a long way.

For ours, a few weeks before the wedding I cooked up a crap ton of taco meat and froze it.  That day we made pico and purchased other ingredients and had a taco salad bar.  All our guests were invited because there were only about 34 of them (party included) and most had flown 1000-2000 miles to be there.  It was just a relaxed hangout though – I do not for one moment understand the types of rehearsal dinners that are formal and include speeches and gift giving.  Not my style.

You can be as mellow as you want – from a fancy restaurant to ordered in pizza, as long as people are fed!

Post # 8
393 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

Oh if I knew then what I know now…sigh! My rehearsal dinner is turning into a mini-wedding (grrrr!) with 90+ people including the wedding party, immediate family and out of town guests. It will be this Saturday at a private home that we rented. Because it wil be outdoors, I rented a tent, tables and chairs. Sooooo very glad I won 40 chairs and 5 tables from a bridal show though -woo hoo!  

The original plan was to be very low key and have food trucks BUT then I realized that I’d still have to schlepp things around, clean up afterwards, etc.. Frankly, I want no parts of that so I hired full-service catering to set up, serve and clean up. I understand that it is more expensive but at this point I am willing to pay for anything that will cause me less hassle. 

Post # 9
4035 posts
Honey bee

We married decades ago, in a church. The dinner was held afterward, in the church’s social hall. There was no alcohol served, or expected (nor allowed). Out of town guests were not invited. It was a catered/plated meal (roast beef, since everyone was served chicken at the wedding).

We lived 3.5 hours from some of hubby’s side of the family, so they didn’t arrive until the day of the wedding. For the ones who lived 2 hours away, they didn’t bother staying over.

My mother in law hosted. That meant she wrote my husband a check, which didn’t cover the catering cost, so he covered the rest. She didn’t even attend, nor did his grandmother, who was a no-show the whole weekend.



Post # 10
329 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - Grandover Resort

Our rehearsal dinner is going to be VERY casual.

Our theme is ‘North, Meet South’

We’re expecting about 100 people to be there mainly because we invited every single person who is coming for me from New York (bridal party, family, friends, family friends). Also, fiancé has a large family/group of friends.

It is hosted by my Future Mother-In-Law & her aunts —& it is going to be all Southern home-made soul food by FI’s family at their local church gathering hall. 

Post # 11
700 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

We are going to a greek restaurant for our rehearsal dinner: after rehearsal at the church on Thursday night, we will all head over there and eat. Just our immediate family and wedding party (20 people). The in-laws are taking care of it 

Post # 12
153 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

Our rehearsal dinner was just our parents, siblings, grandparents, bridal party, and our officiant since he’s a good family friend who ran the rehearsal in the first place. Mother-In-Law wanted to invite everyone from out of town, but she wasn’t paying or hosting and we wanted a quiet night before all the craziness that was our wedding day. 

A couple of wonderful family friends approached me shortly after we got engaged asking if they could take on hosting the rehearsal dinner, cost and all, as a gift to us. They had us over to their home (that they even decorated in our colors) for a roast beef dinner with all the fixings. The atmosphere was relaxed, quiet, and exactly what I dreamed of a rehearsal dinner being. Because I’m such an introvert, spending a night with our nearest and dearest was the perfect way to spend the evening before all the craziness and people that was our wedding day! 

Post # 13
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I think we are leaning towards not doing a rehearsal dinner – we’re doing a destination wedding with about 100 guests, so a formal sit-down dinner would be like a second reception. Instead, I think we’ll rent out a bar / restaurant and do tapas + drinks for 2 hours. I don’t think we will “rehearse” with the bridal party either – feels like nobody likes going through those things, and hopefully the wedding planner can just talk us through timelines, etc. with the bridal party before this evening “welcome event”.

Post # 14
730 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

We hired the little party room at our favorite pizza place and had pizzas and pitchers of beer or soda.  Brought in some mini pastries from a favorite bakery.  The room itself was free as long as we hit a certain amount.  I don’t know exactly how much it was but it was just a couple hundred for 35 people.   It was very casual and a lot of fun!

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