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How to Host a Rehearsal Dinner

If you are the parents of the groom, then tradition and protocol dictate that you’ll be hosting a rehearsal dinner for the wedding party, their significant others, and a few special guests after the rehearsal. Because there are often several details to address before a wedding, planning in advance can assist you greatly.  Here are a few tips to have a memorable and wonderful evening.

1. Talk to the bride and groom. After a rehearsal date has been set, you’ll need to discuss times, venue choices, locations, and guests.

2.  Plan to hold the rehearsal dinner in a place that compliments the tone of the wedding. While more casual rehearsal dinners are often a reward to a hectic schedule, some brides and grooms prefer a more formal event.  Make sure to take into consideration disabilities and age challenges.

3.  When selecting a venue, be sure that it is not too far away from the rehearsal itself. You want to make things convenient for the invited guests so that they don’t have a late or complicated evening.  Having it nearby the hotels and ceremony site will make it easy for the guests and logistics. 

4.   Make sure that the venue can accommodate a large group of people at one large table or two tables together. A rehearsal dinner held at a site that only has smaller tables dispersed  doesn’t work well–it often doesn’t offer conversation and the opportunity to mingle. Try to choose a place with larger tables or an arrangement that can seat everyone together.

5.  Consider the venue and if it fits with your budget.   Check out the menu selections and all fees involved. Sometimes a predetermined menu works best.

6.  You’ll  need to plan the guest list–request for the bride and groom to write down a list of people to invite as well as their addresses. While rehearsal dinner invites are often spread by word of mouth, it is more courteous to send an invitation to those involved. Keep the rehearsal dinner list relatively short; this shouldn’t upstage the wedding. Try to keep it within the members of the wedding party and members of the immediate family.

7.  If you want to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, you can indicate drink choices on a custom printed menu that you may provide.   An open bar or a few select drinks such as beer, wine and softdrinks is acceptable too. 

8.  Before the evening begins, have an idea of where you want the night to lead to. Guests need to be fresh for the wedding the next day; don’t plan late night activity. Make sure to speak to the banquet captain prior to the event to explain what the agenda will be. 

9.  Toasting is quite appropriate for this special occasion.   After everyone is seated and has been served a drink, introduce the couple with a quick toast. Following this toast, members of the wedding party may make toasts too.  Allow others to make toasts between courses, so that the night may keep a flow.  Prior to dessert, the bride and groom may distribute gifts to their wedding party members. We recommend that both of them introduce and give a personal thank you to each member of the wedding party .  After dessert is served, let everyone that would like to give a speech  do so.  This will eliminate lengthy speeches at the reception and offer more time the following night for celebration.  When you are ready for the night to be over, take the lead by thanking everyone for a great evening.

10.  If you like, have flowers for the Mother of the Bride. This is a gracious gesture, and it also helps you form a good relationship with the new in-laws. Likewise, a bottle of wine is a good gift for the Father of the Bride.

11.  Small favors served with the menus are also a nice touch but aren’t expected or required.Favors can include chocolates, a small frame or album for pictures taken the wedding weekend, a wedding-themed trinket or food gift. 

12.  Specialty linens, custom printed napkins, floral arrangements, entertainment and more can all be ways of adding your special touches to the celebration.  This is your opportunity to  include your style, your son’s interests and your personality into the wedding weekend.

We hope this information will be valuable to the groom and his family.  Please know we are here to answer your questions and calm any anticipation.  Remember, the staff at Kim King Smith Events is ready to assist you with a fabulous Rehearsal Dinner.  Just ask us! 

by Kim

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