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The Art of the Rehearsal Dinner

Traditionally the rehearsal dinner is a time for the bride and groom’s families to bond and rejoice before the big event. It’s meant to prepare the couple for the ceremony in a mellow and joyful environment. We like to think that there is an art to creating the perfect intimate setting for this dinner. To master the celebration and make it enjoyable for all, make sure you have these quintessential elements planned to a T.

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 The Guest List

Who to invite and who not to invite will simply be a question that haunts you throughout the wedding planning process. However, proper etiquette lays out a few rules for the rehearsal. Definitely make sure that everyone in the ceremony is able to attend, this includes the officiant, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and all parents. Make sure that both or your immediate families are present to share more of that personal time with you.  Additionally if you have guests that have travelled a distance to come to your wedding, then it’s polite to invite most, if not all, of them.

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The Location 

A rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted in honor of the happy couple. The host could be parents, friends, or really anyone including the bride and groom themselves. However, the main responsibility of the host is to plan out the details. First and foremost this means where the dinner will be held. Many couples plan to have the dinner at the same location as their wedding, yet it is not required. Consider designing a  rustic backyard affair or even holding the event in a local restaurant.

Blute_Gordon_MarkDavidsonPhotography_TwoBrightLights0029_0_low The Decor

When deciding on a style for the rehearsal dinner, remember that it should not overshadow the ambience of the actual wedding. The dinner’s decor should be much more casual and low key but definitely remained planned and precise. Incorporate candles and flowers on place settings to set the mood for an intimate gathering.

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 The Dress

The dress code of the rehearsal should match the formality of your location and decor. As a bride you’ll want to invest a little extra time while shopping to find more of a cocktail-style dress for your pre-wedding rehearsal. Whether it’s white lace sheath or a floral printed sundress, look for something that makes you feel elegant and beautiful. (Hint: look for one that you may actually wear again!)

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 The Food

The host is the person in charge of handling the budget and absorbing all costs for the rehearsal dinner. They should budget for a substantial meal with accompanying beverages for the attendees. Try staying away from a six course menu that is catered, because you will most likely be experiencing that the following night.

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The Timing

The night before the wedding is the most common time for couples to assemble the rehearsal. However, if your schedule doesn’t allow the traditional route, try opting for a lunch or even brunch. Yet if it is a dinner, keep in mind that it should happen on the earlier side so that the wedding party get rest up before the next day’s events.

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The Toasts

Toasts are often a big part of the evening, but they tend to be more spontaneous than at the wedding reception. Anyone is welcome to share a good story or give their warmest wishes to the couple during the dinner. It is also the perfect opportunity for the bride and groom to give a toast of their own, thanking all of their friends and family for making beautiful memories with them. At this time the bride and groom also have the chance to give gifts to their wedding party or anyone else they feel supported them along the way.

Photos by Arnau Dubois Photography, Mark Davidson Photography, Addison Studios, Petula Pea Photography, and Brandy Angel Photography.

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Aubrie Evans

Aubrie Evans