(Closed) What’s the deal with rehearsal dinners?

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

The rehearsal dinner is a way for both families to get toghether, as well as out of town guests, before your wedding. That way if you are incorporating them in any events, or doing something special, you would do it at this time. Plus it is a good time go give the gifts to your mom and dad, his mom and dad, and if you haven’t given the bridesmaids and groomsmen their gifts, this would be the appointed time to do so. It’s kind of like a last get together for the family before tying the knot, at least this is what etiquette implies.

Post # 4
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’ve never thought of the rehearsal dinner as a religious thing. My understanding of the rehearsal dinner is that its just an informal or formal (depending on what you want) dinner that takes place after the reheasal for the ceremony the next day (like where to stand and how it’ll work). The purpose I think is so that those in the wedding party who may not know each other can kind of get more comfortable with one another and its also the time when the bride and groom thank those who helped with the wedding.

Post # 5
6597 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Do you have a wedding party?

The rehearsal part of the Rehearsal Dinner is to make sure everyone knows where to be and when so that things go smoothly the day of.

The dinner part of the Rehearsal Dinner is for the Bride and groom to thank the Wedding Party and their families for all the help they have gotten/parties they have thrown throughout planning. 

And a relaxed night where you can kick back and have a good time with those that are close to you!

Post # 6
2058 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

You totally cracked me up “I am ready to be schooled…” 

The rehearsal dinner is fallowing the walk through rehearsal at your venue. Toasts are made, gifts are given (to parents, to wedding party, etc..) it can be with the wedding party only, or wedding party + family only, you can extend it to include out of town guests.  

You don’t have to have a sit down dinner, you can have a rehearsal reception – passed apps, deserts only, etc….Its mellow and an enjoyable time to chat with family friends and guests before the big day…

Post # 7
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’m not sure if you’re asking about the rehearsal itself, or the rehearsal dinner.

The point of the rehearsal is to figure out all the things you might not think of until everyone’s ready to walk down the aisle. Like what order people will walk in, when the music cues are, where everyone will be standing while they wait to go in, etc.

The rehearsal dinner is just a treat for those who would typically be at the rehearsal (you can have additional people at the dinner too), as a thank you for their support.

Post # 9
436 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Our wedding was on Saturday and the venue was booked for a Friday event so we didn’t have a typical rehearsal.  Most of us have been in weddings before and I didn’t think we needed a specific rehearsal (we did a run-through the day of the wedding with the DOC).  Anwyay we still had a rehearsal dinner so the wedding party and families could all meet each other, exchange gifts with the wedding party, and make sure everyone had their questions answered about the wedding day.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, ours was at a local restaurant.

Post # 10
355 posts
Helper bee

Some people do a “welcome dinner” in lieu of a rehearsal dinner for the out-of-towners and families, typically a much more casual event for a more intimate group. 

Post # 11
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

You probably don’t need an actual rehearsal.  I’ve been through two weddings, and never rehearsed for either.  (That’s kind of typical for Jewish weddings.)

A rehearsal dinner can be used for several things:

  1. As a thank-you to your wedding party if there has indeed been a rehearsal.
  2. To have a gathering that is more informal than the reception for the wedding party and immediate family.
  3. To keep Out of Town guests from having to find somewhere to get dinner on their own in a strange city.
  4. If the bride’s family is paying for the reception, to give the groom’s family something to host.

It sounds like reasons #1 and 3 do not apply to you.  However, if it is FI’s family that is asking, reason #4 may apply.  If they are willing to host something, you just need to decide whether you are willing to let them–and if so, who should be invited.  You can keep that issue totally separate from whether you actually need a rehearsal.

Post # 12
2889 posts
Sugar bee

We NEED to rehearse and are having dinner after at a local favorite restaurant. We’re keeping it small and only inviting the people who need to be at the church for rehersal but I think it’s a great chance for families/close friends people to meet and for us to get to spend some time with these people who are important to us aside from the full reception. You can totally skip the rehearsal and just have dinner if you prefer. I also think this “practice” will help to calm nerves on the big day.

Post # 13
1161 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

This issue came up with us this week, as well.  After a brief conversation with Future Mother-In-Law, I figured out that the Rehearsal Dinner is clearly VERY important to her (it is HER contributition to the wedding, and it is something SHE gets to plan and be responsible for…she has no daughters, and I’m marrying her last single son).  I decided to just let go of my vision of BBQ ribs in the park and let her have her moment.  I’m not a traditional wedding person at all, but I do think the Rehearsal Dinner is a nice way to get the families together in an less formal setting before the wedding (although I now  have every reason to believe our Rehearsal Dinner will actually be MORE formal than our wedding  Embarassed)


As far as rehearsing, we won’t be rehearsing the ceremony itself, but will be going over the preceremony stuff of making sure our IPOD operator knows which song to play when and that sort of thing.  I also think rehearsals are useful if there are going to be kids in the wedding.


So, my thought is:  let Future Mother-In-Law do what she wants with the dinner, and just stay out of it as much as possible.  Meet at the venue before hand to go over things even if you think you don’t really need to.  And most of all, enjoy your day!

Post # 14
541 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

For us, the rehearsal dinner is a way for us to thank our bridal party for accepting our invitation to be a part of our day and spend quality time with our bp and families.

Regardless of how many weddings people have been in, I think generally, everyone likes some guidance of where to go and what’s going to happen-even if it’s brief. The day of the wedding there’s usually so much going on, having it the evening before makes for one less thing to worry about.

Post # 16
2271 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Rehearsal dinners allow the families to meet and also kinda thank the wedding party for showing up for rehearsal! It doesn’t have to be fancy! We had ours at a Chinese Buffet. It was awesome – the plae was huge, decorated in traditional Chinese decor and the serv ving staff wore authetic Chinese outfits. For about twenty people (wedding party, spouses, parents, and the reverend) it cost less than $200.

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