A rehearsal party, often called a rehearsal dinner, is typically held immediately after a wedding rehearsal on the day before the big event. The rehearsal party is traditionally hosted by the groom's parents, though this tradition is not always upheld in modern times. Planning this special event requires working with the couple to secure a suitable time and guest list, among other planning considerations.
Location and Time
Rehearsal parties can be held anywhere, from a hotel ballroom or private dining hall to the groom's back yard, though most are held at a local restaurant, often one that is a favorite of the couple. The rehearsal party is typically a dinner, though a brunch or lunch may be held, depending on the scheduled wedding rehearsal time. If planning a dinner, be sure to end the evening early enough for the wedding party to be well rested for the wedding day.
Guest lists for rehearsal parties should include all members of the wedding party, immediate family members of the bride and groom and the wedding officiant. Significant others and parents of children in the wedding party should also be invited. Grandparents or close friends who are not in the wedding party may be invited to the party as well. Often, rehearsal party invitations are extended to out-of-town guests who are already in town, though a separate welcome party may be held instead.
The rehearsal dinner is when the couple-to-be presents thank-you gifts to the bridesmaids, groomsmen, other members of their wedding party, their parents and any other people who have played a role in the wedding. Toasts are also common at the rehearsal party, with the father of the groom -- who is typically the event's host -- starting off the speeches. Other guests may be invited to share a few words with the bride and groom. The bride and groom should have the opportunity to toast their guests, as well.
Written invitations are not required for the rehearsal party if only immediate family and members of the wedding party are invited, notes the Martha Stewart Weddings website. However, if a larger group is invited, or an entree selection is needed, invites should be sent out shortly after wedding invitations. Help the bride and groom's family members get to know each other during the party by spending time introducing people to each other or arranging a seating chart that allows both sides of the family to mix and mingle.
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