This page includes affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I might make a small commission if you decide to buy something. You can read my full disclosure here.

How to plan your rehearsal dinner

You've probably heard about a rehearsal dinner before, but how exactly do you plan one and what do you need to do to make this event successful?
How to plan your rehearsal dinner - The Wedding Club

It’s not uncommon for engaged couples to decide to not have a rehearsal dinner, either because they (or the parents of the groom) cannot afford to have one, or because it is a technicality that can be avoided if the wedding is quite basic.  

However, there are many other engaged couples who want to have this special event planned because it will help with organizing little details that you want to be perfect on your wedding day – from who walks into the chapel first, who needs to say what, and when, and so on.

If you’re having a rehearsal dinner but have no idea what to include and what to plan, then this post was written especially for you!

How to plan your rehearsal dinner

As with all major events, parties, and fancy dinners, one thing should always be in place before starting the planning process, namely, the budget. Traditionally, the groom’s parents will pay for the rehearsal dinner, but nowadays, couples will pay for this event themselves for many reasons.

Having a budget in place will help you to choose locations and things that won’t break the bank (or your credit card), because face it: who wants to create a small mountain of debt even before their wedding day?

The editable rehearsal dinner planner is included with the wedding planner: the most comprehensive, massive planner every bride needs to plan her wedding day and all other wedding-related events such as the rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, and more. Check out the editable wedding planner here.

.

1. Map out the venue details

With a budget in place (see #6), make sure you have chosen a venue that will cater to your needs. It doesn’t have to be massive, as you will only have the wedding party and VIP guests present.

Keep track of important information such as the date and time, as well as the venue. This will be the name of the venue, a contact number, email address, and also the physical address so that you can let your guests know where they need to go.

2. Create a thorough checklist (or to-do list)

There will be many things that go into the planning of a rehearsal dinner because it is still an event.

So make sure you include some sort of checklist or to-do list in your planning where you can keep track of everything from the venue, food, decor, to the guest list, activities, and so on.

3. Make your guest list

Remember, you are only going to invite the guests who are part of your wedding ceremony and who have a role at your reception, such as the wedding party members, the parents, the pastor/priest/marriage officer, the emcee (master of ceremonies), etc.

If a person plays an important role in your wedding, whether it is standing at the front of the chapel, taking your wedding flowers while you need to say your vows, giving a toast at your reception, they need to be invited.

The Editable Wedding Planner templates are fully customizable in the free version of Canva, and include everything you need – from the wedding budget, guest list, and catering, to planning a rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, engagement party, and more!

4. Create a schedule for the day of

Because your rehearsal dinner is basically a practice of your actual wedding day, you’ll need a schedule.

It can be as detailed as you would like, with the minute intervals you need to track when everything needs to happen. Or, you can simply have a schedule for the rehearsal dinner itself.

5. Plan some activities

Many couples have decided to include activities and games in their rehearsal dinner to make things more fun. You can play the popular “shoe game”, make your guests fill in cards for tips and advice, and so on.

6. Make sure you have a budget

A thorough budget will make any event a success without having to worry about spending too much. If you don’t have the budget for a rehearsal dinner, you can do a quick rehearsal on the morning of your wedding day. 

However, if you do have the budget to spend, then make sure you work out estimates before paying for everything so that you can get an idea of the total cost of your rehearsal dinner.

Like I mentioned earlier, traditionally the groom’s parents will pay for the rehearsal dinner, but this is totally dependent on finances and other factors. Many couples pay for their own rehearsal dinner.

7. Determine your menu options

A good venue will usually provide food as well, and this is a good option if you don’t want the extra stress and money spent on catering.

Make sure that your guests have options in terms of dietary requirements and taste because not everyone will love baked camembert with berry compote as an entree!

8. Take notes

Many people underestimate this, but quickly jotting down notes on a piece of paper will help you to remember details and important things, so make sure you take notes for your rehearsal dinner, too!

The Editable Wedding Planner templates are fully customizable in the free version of Canva, and include everything you need – from the wedding budget, guest list, and catering, to planning a rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, engagement party, and more!

.

by Tanya Viljoen

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tanya Viljoen has been an active contributor and planner in the wedding industry since 2016. When not writing useful content for brides and wedding professionals, she can be found designing templates for her Etsy shop, TWCprintables

Hey, I'm Tanya!

I’ve been an active contributor and planner in the wedding industry since 2016. If you’re here to find out about all things wedding, you’re in the right place!