A rehearsal dinner is the most popular pre-wedding activity. Almost every couple has one! It is such a fun way to celebrate with your absolute closest family and friends before the wedding day. You can share memories, talk about the upcoming wedding, and just enjoy each other’s company. Today, we’re going through various aspects of planning!

Planning Your Rehearsal Dinner

Here are the various aspects of your rehearsal dinner to think about when you’re beginning to plan!

Who plans & hosts

Tradition dictates that the groom’s parents will host and plan the rehearsal dinner. However, it’s 2022, so you can really do whatever you want to do! The groom’s parents can host, someone else can host… heck, you as the couple can even host it yourself! It’s totally up to you.

Keep in mind that whoever is hosting and paying the bill will also have discretion over the majority of the planning decisions – florals, decor, invitations, menu, etc. So, keep that in mind when you are all figuring out who is going to host!

Who to invite

Traditionally, you invite everyone who is involved in the wedding day. This would include:

  • Members of the wedding party (and their spouse or significant other)
  • Immediate family members (parents, siblings, grandparents)
  • Officiant (and their spouse or significant other)
  • Out-of-town guests

Some choose to also include close family members or friends that are not necessarily in the wedding party, but who they are very close to and may have helped a lot with wedding preparations.

When it comes down to it, this is totally up to your discretion! You can invite anyone that you would like to invite. However, keep in mind that the rehearsal dinner is meant to be an intimate gathering for those who are involved with the wedding. The average rehearsal dinner has between 15 and 50 people – it all will depend on the size of your family and wedding party!

Venue advice

The most common venue for a rehearsal dinner is a restaurant or country club. You can find many nice restaurants with a private room for your rehearsal dinner that will work with you on a menu and decor!

Don’t feel like you are limited to a restaurant, though! There are many unique and great places to have a rehearsal dinner. Some include:

  • Breweries
  • Local parks
  • The beach
  • A backyard

How to invite everyone

Inviting your guests to the rehearsal dinner can honestly be as simple as a digital/email invitation! However, you can also send out formal invitations. These can be sent out separately, or you can include the card in your invitation suite to those who are invited.

No matter how you invite everyone, be sure to have a simple RSVP system set up!

Menu choices

The menu of your rehearsal dinner is completely up to you. If your wedding is extremely formal and elegant, you can do the same with your rehearsal dinner, or you can go the opposite end and do a casual BBQ! And vice versa.

Be sure to keep any allergies and dietary restrictions in mind. Because the guests are close friends and family, you will probably know who has any restrictions – but ask everyone just in case!

Have fun with your rehearsal dinner menu. Make it a menu that you enjoy as a couple – it can even be something sentimental, like what you had for your first date!

If you are having your rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, they may even offer the option for guests to order off the menu. This can be a very simple option for you and ensures that everyone is getting food that they will enjoy!

As for dessert, you absolutely do not need to have a cake (unless you want to)! That can be saved for the wedding. We suggest doing a fun dessert selection that is symbolic of you as a couple. This could include:

  • Ice cream sundae bar
  • Cheesecake selections
  • Pie
  • Cupcakes
  • Cake pops
  • Cannoli
  • Cookie table
  • S’mores

Cost expectations

Honestly, a rehearsal dinner can vary in price. More simple rehearsal dinners won’t cost much money, but the more extravagant ones will. This also depends on your venue and how many guests you are inviting.

For reference, according to The Knot, the average amount of money spent on a rehearsal dinner in 2021 was $2,300.

Keep in mind that there will be some cost to you, even if you aren’t hosting/paying for the dinner. You will likely be purchasing outfits to wear specifically for the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner, as well as possibly buying gifts to hand out to everyone.