Weddings can be a complicated affair. Every step has rules of behavior that must be followed. Families preparing for a wedding often receive a crash course in party planning and guest accommodations. The rehearsal dinner is an important element of a wedding, and rehearsal dinner etiquette can be pretty complex. But if the rules are understood, there’s no reason for it to be anything but an enjoyable element of an overall enjoyable wedding experience.
The groom’s parents are considered to be the hosts for the rehearsal dinner. That means the organization and decisions should be left to them. For couples who prefer to host the dinner themselves as a thanks to the families and wedding guests, make sure to explain the reasoning to the grooms parents so as not to insult them. And if they take it hard, include them in some way. Why take on more work when letting others manage it makes them happier?
The dinner should take place the day before the wedding, directly after the wedding rehearsal. This ensures that all the guests and family are in town, available to attend. It’s very bad form to hold the rehearsal dinner too far in advance of the wedding. It potentially excludes some people. The last thing needed from a wedding is hurt feelings in either family. Remember, for the bride and groom both families are soon to become their family.
It’s a must to invite the immediate relatives of both the bride and groom. The entire bridal party, each with a guest, should also be asked to attend along with any other friends and family the bride and groom would like to have at the dinner. The preacher or whoever officiates the wedding, offers the vows, should also be invited. Just like with the wedding be very careful with who is invited or not. Maybe uncle Albert is a little rude, but is it worth a lifetime of bad blood to exclude him?
Include a social time before the dinner so people can relax and talk. It’s important to consider the feelings of all the guests and to provide a pleasant atmosphere. Keep this dinner in line with the budget of the overall wedding. If it’s a million dollar wedding then the rehearsal dinner should reflect this. By the same token a budget wedding should have too fancy of a rehearsal dinner. Finally, make sure the dinner ends fairly early so people can be well rested for the next day’s festivities.
Toasts are generally made to everyone involved in making the wedding a success. This includes both the bride’s and groom’s parents, and anyone else who has helped. The toast follows the main course and should be made by the bride and groom. The best man and maid of honor toasts are appropriate at the reception, not during the rehearsal dinner.
Don’t ruin a nice wedding by stepping on toes at the rehearsal dinner. Keep rehearsal dinner etiquette in mind.