Feb 18

How to Plan an Amazing Rehearsal Dinner

the blog

Rehearsal dinners can often be an extremely difficult part of the planning process. There are so many different venue types that it can be overwhelming! Here are some tips that can make planning the most epic dinner party a little less stressful:

Talk Expectations

Start out your rehearsal dinner search by discussing with your fiancé and both sets of parents about what they expect for this event. Do you want a plated meal? What about an open bar? Would you like to hire your photographer to capture the night’s events? These answers will give you a better idea of what you can expect to spend on the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, the parents of the groom host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. While this still happens, it is by no means expected these days! Make sure you at least have a ballpark range of what you’d like to spend so that you can begin narrowing down locations.

Create Guest List

Typically, rehearsal dinners include everyone that is involved in your ceremony. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Both immediate families
  • Bridal party (bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, ushers, personal attendants)
  • Officiant
  • Readers

It is expected that if you are inviting someone, you are extending an invitation to their significant other – for kiddos, this means their parents are coming too!

I’ve had couples invite their extended families, or friends that travelled a long distance to be there for their wedding. It totally depends on your budget, and how intimate you would like the night to be.

An alternative to having a large rehearsal dinner is to host a welcome cocktail hour. This could take place after your rehearsal dinner, and you could extend an invitation to VIP guests or your entire guest list!

Decide on the Vibe

Think of your favorite things to do as a couple. Do you have a favorite restaurant that you love to eat at, or frequent a local brewery? Check to see if they have the space to do a rehearsal dinner! I always think it’s so fun and personal when couple’s incorporate a place that is special to them into their wedding weekend. Consider your wedding venue: is it super formal, or more laid back? Do you want your rehearsal dinner to reflect your wedding style, or have a totally different feeling?

Request Quotes

When a restaurant gives you their food and beverage minimum, it can be VERY misleading. Request quotes from a few different venues to get a feel of what you should expect to spend! For example. a restaurant could have a $1,000 minimum, but most events your size end up costing $5,000. Totally different price!

Make Your Timeline

Think about how you want the night to flow. Do you want there to be an informal cocktail hour as guests arrive? What about having a video or slideshow play? Do you want any speeches to happen? Decide on how long you want the entire rehearsal dinner to be, and make sure it doesn’t go TOO late – you both need your beauty sleep 🙂


Hopefully these tips can alleviate some of your planning stress, and help you have the rehearsal dinner of your dreams!


xo, gabi


photo by Michaela Graw