Planning a Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is part of the many wedding traditions. What is a rehearsal dinner, and why is it significant beyond rehearsing for the day to come? The tradition is about coming together to celebrate, coordinate, and the opportunity to join the families.

Events at a Rehearsal Dinner

Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is held the evening prior to the wedding day. It is more commonly being held a couple days prior to the wedding ceremony to allow more time between the two events. It is all about the gathering of the wedding party and families in a formal meeting to celebrate what’s next.


This celebratory function is an opportunity to meet family and greet your guests. While getting caught up in the wedding planning, we can sometimes lose sight of the family and the actual celebration. Rehearsal dinner is the time to relax and celebrate. Take advantage of its value.

Celebrate and enjoy a dinner together. After dessert, and cocktails are served, stand and offer a toast and special thank you to your wedding party. You may choose to distribute wedding party gifts, and gifts to the parents. It is also the opportunity for brides and grooms to present their wedding gifts to each other.


Traditionally, the groom’s father will begin the toasting ceremony with a special toast to his future daughter in law. The groom will follow with a heartfelt toast to his bride. The groom will also toast a special thanks to the guests and the hosts. Toasting ceremonies are attention grabbers. After the last toast is made, and while you still have the attention of your guests, it is time for the rehearsal part of the dinner.

Announcements at Rehearsal Dinner

This is the time to make announcements about the wedding day. It is the perfect opportunity to focus on questions and answers, especially when it comes to your wedding party. Make sure your wedding party is aware of where they need to go, what they need to bring, and all the details they need to know to be organized for the wedding day. Make general announcements for guests about planned wedding day activities, and details related to transportation, such as pickup location and times for transportation to and from the ceremony.

The Rehearsal Dinner Host

Traditionally, the groom's family will plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner party. However, couples and family members are commonly sharing the cost of the event, especially when a large dinner is being planned. It is tradition that the groom’s parents host the party, and get all of the creative credit for planning the event. While most of the wedding details belong to the bride, this is the opportunity for the groom’s parents to have direction over the planning. However, if you and your partner are hosting your own rehearsal dinner, you will naturally be in charge of planning your own event.

Guest List

At a minimum, the guest list for your rehearsal dinner should be your immediate families, the wedding party and their significant other. It is common courtesy to invite the officiant and their significant other to the rehearsal dinner. If you are planning a larger function, transform the dinner into a welcome celebration and include family or friends that traveled a distance to be present on your wedding day. It is a personal decision to allow your guests to bring children, and will probably rely heavily on the atmosphere of your chosen venue.

Budget will likely be a factor when planning the rehearsal dinner. If the budget demands it, stick to an exclusive group for the rehearsal dinner, and plan a dessert party or cocktails with the out of town guests on a different night prior to the wedding day to show appreciation.

Choose a Venue

The rehearsal dinner venue can be anywhere on the spectrum from casual garden party to formal ballroom. Make sure you book a venue early, and send out invitations shortly after the wedding invitations. Do not forget to add the dress code to the invitations.

Crystal Ballroom Brandon is an all-inclusive event and wedding venue with a dedicated design team to create your unique rehearsal dinner party. Work with the in-house designers, planners and food managers, and connect with vendors to make planning your rehearsal dinner an unforgettable success.

Masterful design, elegant décor and unparalleled service create the Crystal Ballroom experience. Consult with our designers, and pick and plan your magical moment, from the colors and fabrics to the flowers and centerpieces. Be our guest and schedule a complimentary VIP tour at this unique venue today!

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