5 Tips to Throwing the Ultimate Rehearsal Dinner

As couples feel more comfortable celebrating in 2022, longer weekend celebrations are becoming the norm with couples deciding to spend more time with friends and family over the course of the weekend versus just on one day. At HauteFetes, we specialize in multi-day wedding weekends and love nothing more than planning a unique rehearsal dinner to officially kick off your weekend festivities.

Unlike a welcome party where all guests may be invited, the rehearsal dinner is often more intimate, a celebration with a subset of guests, typically the bridal party, close family and a handful of VIP out-of-towners. For many couples, rather than a traditional dinner after the ceremony rehearsal, rehearsal dinners have evolved into full-blown events, often setting the tone for the main event.

Accordingly, this pre-party comes with its own unique set of planning considerations. Planning your rehearsal dinner shouldn’t be stressful. To help you stay stress-free while planning for this special event, read on for our top tips for the ultimate rehearsal dinner party.

Planning your Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is an event in and of itself and deserves its own love and attention! Use your rehearsal dinner to throw an experience for your guests that is different from the main event, one where the style, theme and celebration is really about you as hosts.

Set the Scene

Whether it’s a theme party, you’re mimicking a place you really love, or just drawing inspiration from the venue, incorporate details that set the tone to complement the wedding but don’t look to overshadow it. Your tabletop, floral, design and lighting can all help to achieve this. From a western hoedown to an Amalfi Coast-inspired pizza party to a tropical fete, bring in details that you love.

Incorporate Great Fashion

Just as you wouldn’t wait until the last minute to pick your wedding dress, you shouldn’t leave your outfit selection to chance. When picking a rehearsal dinner dress, there really are no rules. Whether you choose to wear white or go bold and colorful with your fashion selection to coordinate with your rehearsal dinner theme, incorporating some fashionable elements is a great idea. If fashion isn’t your thing, consider adding an eye-catching hair accessory or a pair of statement heels. You are, after all, the star of the show!

Make time for a Rehearsal Dinner Portrait Session

If you haven’t added the rehearsal dinner to your photography (and or videography) package, provided your photographer is available, we highly recommend doing so. Having your photographer at this special dinner allows for you to reconnect with them and get comfortable in front of the camera before your big day. Importantly, it also allows them to capture those intimate moments between you and your closest friends and family. Depending on what time you schedule your ceremony rehearsal, all you really need is 15 mins or so prior to the pre-party celebrations – looking back, you’ll cherish those last photos before you said, ‘we do’!


Group your Toasts

I’m a big fan of getting the majority of speeches done the night before versus on the wedding day. For one, the wedding is replete with so many moments including family dances and cake cutting, that breaking up the flow with multiple speeches can drain the energy from the room. In contrast, the rehearsal dinner is a great time for your family and friends to share meaningful sentiments about their relationship with you both. Group speeches together between courses and encourage everyone to keep them relatively short and sweet. I recommend a welcome toast from the groom’s parents upfront; followed by a couple during the salad course, a couple during dinner, and then the couple or just groom closing out during dessert. If you want to do an open mic, typically I recommend doing that at the end of dinner and having a family friend who can skillfully cut guests off if they get lengthy.

Don’t Forget your Rehearsal Dinner Entertainment

Whether you’re compiling a playlist of your favorite songs, bringing in local talent such as a Mariachi band in Mexico or steel drummers in the Caribbean, adding music or entertainment will elevate your celebration.

Your wedding rehearsal dinner requires planning, much like your actual wedding day.  And, no one knows the ins and outs of creating magic better than HauteFetes. If you’re newly engaged, contact us today to get started on planning your wedding weekend, as well as the perfect rehearsal dinner.

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