Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas [The Ultimate Guide]

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas [The Ultimate Guide]

A rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding event that typically takes place after the wedding rehearsal and is attended by the wedding party, immediate family members, and any additional guests. The rehearsal dinner is a chance for the wedding party and their families to relax and enjoy each other’s company before the big day. It can also serve as an opportunity for the couple and their families to show their appreciation to those who have supported them throughout the wedding planning process. In this article, we’ve covered various aspects of planning a rehearsal dinner, from choosing the location to deciding on a menu and theme.

What is the purpose of a wedding rehearsal dinner?

The purpose of a rehearsal dinner is to bring together the wedding party, immediate family members, and sometimes out-of-town guests for a meal or celebration the night before the wedding. The main purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to rehearse and practice the wedding ceremony, allowing the wedding party to familiarize themselves with the order of the ceremony, and to work out any kinks or questions that may arise. This can help ensure that the actual wedding ceremony runs smoothly and that everyone knows their role and responsibilities.

In addition to the rehearsal, the dinner also serves as an opportunity for the wedding party and family members to get to know each other better and to thank them for their support and participation in the wedding. It’s also a chance for the bride and groom to express their gratitude to everyone for their help and for making their wedding day special. The rehearsal dinner can also serve as a more intimate and relaxed setting compared to the wedding day itself, allowing for quality time with loved ones before the big day.

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

What types of questions/kinks could arise that need to be sorted during your rehearsal dinner?

Here are some examples of kinks or questions that may arise during a wedding ceremony rehearsal that the wedding party and officiant may want to work out beforehand:

Timing and order of processional:

The order of the wedding party’s entrance, including parents, grandparents, and the bridal party, can be confusing and need to be ironed out during the rehearsal.

Cues for the music:

If the wedding ceremony has specific music for each part, it is important to practice the timing and cues for when each song should be played.

Placement of the bridal party:

Figuring out where each member of the bridal party should stand during the ceremony is important, especially if there are specific movements or actions they need to take during the ceremony.

Handling of the rings:

The proper handling of the rings during the ceremony can be important, such as who will hold the rings, when they will be brought up, and who will receive them.

Pronunciation of names:

If the officiant is unsure of the correct pronunciation of any names, the rehearsal is a good time to practice and ensure that everyone’s name is said correctly during the ceremony.


It can be helpful to practice how and where the photographer and videographer will stand to capture the best shots of the wedding ceremony without blocking anyone’s view.

Special traditions or rituals:

If the ceremony includes any special traditions or rituals, such as a unity candle lighting or a sand ceremony, it’s important to practice and ensure that everyone knows what to do.

By practicing and working out these kinks beforehand during the rehearsal, the wedding ceremony can run smoothly and the couple can focus on enjoying their special day.

Who attends a wedding rehearsal dinner?

Traditionally, the people who attend a wedding rehearsal dinner include:

The wedding party:

This includes the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and any other attendants who will be participating in the wedding ceremony.

Immediate family members:

This includes the parents, siblings, and grandparents of the bride and groom.


The person who will be conducting the wedding ceremony, whether it’s a religious figure or a justice of the peace.

However, depending on the couple’s preferences and the size of the wedding, the rehearsal dinner can also include additional family members or close friends, as well as out-of-town guests who have traveled to attend the wedding.

The rehearsal dinner is typically held the night before the wedding, after the wedding ceremony rehearsal has taken place. It can be a more intimate gathering than the wedding reception, with a casual or formal atmosphere depending on the couple’s preferences. The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to practice and prepare for the wedding ceremony, as well as to celebrate with loved ones before the big day.

What are some wording ideas for rehearsal dinner invitations?

When it comes to rehearsal dinner invitation wording, it’s important to convey the details of the event while also setting the tone for the occasion. Here are some ideas for rehearsal dinner invitation wording:

  1. Traditional:

Please join us for a rehearsal dinner in honor of [bride and groom’s names]. Date: [date]

Time: [time]

Location: [venue name and address]

RSVP: [RSVP contact information]

  1. Casual:
Come celebrate with us before the big day! Join us for a casual dinner to toast to the happy couple.
Date: [date]
Time: [time]
Location: [venue name and address]
RSVP: [RSVP contact information]
  1. Fun and playful:

Before the “I do’s”, let’s eat, drink, and be merry! Join us for a rehearsal dinner to kick off the wedding festivities.

Date: [date]

Time: [time]

Location: [venue name and address]

RSVP: [RSVP contact information]


  1. Destination wedding:

Join us for a pre-wedding celebration! We’re hosting a rehearsal dinner in honor of [bride and groom’s names] at [destination].

Date: [date]

Time: [time] Location: [venue name and address]

RSVP: [RSVP contact information]


  1. Themed:

You’re invited to a [theme]-themed rehearsal dinner! Join us for a night of fun and celebration before the wedding.

Date: [date]

Time: [time]

Location: [venue name and address]

RSVP: [RSVP contact information]

These are just a few examples of rehearsal dinner invitation wording. Whatever wording you choose, make sure to include the important details of the event, such as the date, time, location, and RSVP information. Additionally, be sure to convey the tone and formality of the event through your choice of language and wording.

Who gives the rehearsal dinner speech?

By tradition, the groom’s father is expected to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner, as he is the host of the event. However, in recent times, speeches may be given by anyone who wishes to say a few words to the wedding party, family members, and guests attending the dinner.

Other people who may give a rehearsal dinner speech include:
  1. the groom
  2. the bride’s father,
  3. the best man
  4. the maid of honor
  5. close family members or friends who wish to share their thoughts and well wishes for the couple.

In general, the rehearsal dinner speeches are usually less formal than the wedding speeches, and the speakers often use this opportunity to tell funny stories, reminisce about the couple’s relationship, and express their gratitude to the wedding party and guests.

Who plans the rehearsal dinner?

According to wedding tradition, the groom’s parents are responsible for planning and hosting the rehearsal dinner. However, in current times, the rehearsal dinner can be planned and hosted by anyone, including the bride’s parents, the couple themselves, or other family members or friends.

The couple may choose to plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner themselves, or they may delegate the responsibility to someone else. It’s important to have open communication with all parties involved in the planning process to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the budget, guest list, and other important details.

Ultimately, the goal of the rehearsal dinner is to provide a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for the wedding party and their families to spend time together before the big day. Regardless of who plans and hosts the event, it’s important to make it a special and memorable occasion for everyone involved.

 Who pays for the rehearsal dinner?

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, as it is seen as a way to thank the wedding party, immediate family members, and other important guests who have traveled to attend the wedding. However, in modern times, the responsibility for paying for the rehearsal dinner may vary depending on the couple’s preferences and circumstances.

In some cases, the bride and groom may choose to split the cost of the rehearsal dinner with the groom’s family or pay for it themselves. Alternatively, the couple’s families may come to an agreement to split the cost, or another family member or friend may offer to pay for the rehearsal dinner as a gift to the couple.

Ultimately, who pays for the rehearsal dinner is a decision that should be discussed and agreed upon by all parties involved in the wedding planning process, taking into account each person’s financial situation and their desires for the wedding celebration.

How do you plan a budget for your rehearsal dinner?

Here are some steps to consider when planning a budget for a rehearsal dinner:

Determine the number of guests:

Make a list of the guests who will be attending the rehearsal dinner, including the wedding party, immediate family members, and any additional guests. The number of guests will be a significant factor in determining the overall cost of the event.

Choose the location:

The cost of the rehearsal dinner will also depend on the location you choose. A private room in a restaurant, a backyard barbecue, or a catered event at a venue will all have different costs associated with them.

Set the menu:

The food and drink options you choose will also affect the budget. You may choose to have a full-course meal, a buffet-style dinner, or a simple cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres.

Determine the level of formality:

The level of formality of the rehearsal dinner will also affect the budget. A formal dinner will require more expensive attire, decorations, and possibly entertainment, while a casual dinner may not require as much spending.

Prioritize the budget:

Decide which items are most important to you and allocate a larger portion of the budget to those items. For example, if you want to have a high-end meal, then you may need to cut costs in other areas such as decorations or entertainment.

Consider DIY options:

To save on costs, consider doing some things yourself, such as making your own centerpieces or decorations, or even cooking some of the food yourself.

Plan ahead:

To help you stay within your budget, plan ahead and get quotes from vendors for the items you need. This will give you a better idea of the cost and help you adjust your budget accordingly.

By taking these steps, you can create a budget for your rehearsal dinner that will allow you to enjoy the event without overspending.

Here are 10 useful tips that can be helpful when planning a wedding rehearsal dinner:

Set a budget:

Decide how much you want to spend on the rehearsal dinner and stick to it. This will help you determine the guest list, venue, menu, and other details.

Choose a venue:

Select a venue that suits your style and budget. Consider restaurants, private rooms, event spaces, and outdoor areas.

Send invitations:

Send out invitations to the rehearsal dinner to your wedding party, immediate family, and anyone else who needs to be there.

Plan the menu:

Decide on a menu that suits the venue and your guests’ tastes. You might choose a formal sit-down dinner, a buffet, or a more casual meal like pizza or barbecue.

Consider dietary restrictions:

Make sure to ask your guests about any dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences, and plan your menu accordingly.

Choose decorations:

Decide on decorations that fit the venue and your style. You might choose flowers, candles, balloons, or other decor items.

Decide on a theme:

Consider choosing a theme for the rehearsal dinner that complements your wedding. You might choose a color scheme, a seasonal theme, or a theme that reflects your interests.

Schedule speeches and toasts:

Decide who will be giving speeches or toasts at the rehearsal dinner and when they will be given.

Plan activities:

Consider incorporating activities into the rehearsal dinner, such as games, a photo booth, or a group activity like wine tasting or a cooking class.

Enjoy the moment:

Remember that the rehearsal dinner is a time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones before the wedding day. Take time to savor the moment and have fun!

Need ideas for rehearsal dinner themes? 

Top 10 Rehearsal Dinner Themes

Some popular rehearsal dinner themes that have been popular in recent years:

Rustic chic:

This theme features a combination of rustic and elegant elements, such as natural wood and soft lighting.


This theme is characterized by a free-spirited, eclectic vibe, with bold colors and textures, and natural materials.

Beach party:

This theme incorporates a beach or tropical atmosphere, with vibrant colors, beach-themed decor, and tropical drinks.

Wine and dine:

This theme features a wine-tasting or vineyard-inspired dinner, with wine-themed decor and food pairings.

Elegant garden party:

This theme features a refined and sophisticated outdoor party, with floral centerpieces, elegant table settings, and soft lighting.

Classic black and white:

This theme is timeless and sophisticated, with black and white decor and formal attire.

Italian feast:

This theme features a family-style Italian dinner, with communal seating, rustic decor, and traditional Italian cuisine.

Vintage glamour:

This theme incorporates vintage or retro elements, with glamorous decor, and classic cocktails.

Southern charm:

This theme is characterized by a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with Southern-inspired cuisine, charming decor, and sweet tea.

Modern minimalist:

This theme features a clean and simple aesthetic, with minimalist decor, geometric shapes, and modern design elements.

These themes can be tailored to the couple’s tastes and preferences, and can be adjusted to fit any budget or size of the event.

Top 10 Rehearsal Dinner Decoration Ideas

  1. Natural elements: Incorporating natural elements such as wood, greenery, and flowers is a popular trend in rehearsal dinner decor. For example, you can use a wooden table runner, add some potted plants, and decorate the space with natural-looking flowers.
  2. Moody colors: Moody color palettes, like deep purples, rich blues, and dark greens, can create a romantic and elegant atmosphere for a rehearsal dinner.
  3. Industrial chic: If you’re looking for a more modern vibe, you might consider an industrial chic theme. Think exposed brick, metal accents, and minimalist decor.
  4. Bohemian style: Bohemian style is another popular option for rehearsal dinner decor. You can create a boho vibe with dreamy textiles, macrame accents, and plenty of greenery.
  5. Vintage decor: If you’re going for a vintage vibe, you might incorporate old-fashioned details like lace table runners, antique silverware, and vintage glassware.
  6. Balloon garlands: Balloon garlands are a fun and festive way to add some color and texture to a rehearsal dinner space. You can create garlands in your wedding colors, or opt for a more playful mix of shades.
  7. Romantic lighting: Soft, romantic lighting can help create an intimate and cozy atmosphere for a rehearsal dinner. Consider using candles, fairy lights, or lanterns to add some warm glow to the space.
  8. Custom signage: Custom signage is a popular way to personalize a rehearsal dinner. You might create a sign welcoming guests to the dinner, or use signs to direct people to different areas of the space.
  9. Rustic decor: Rustic decor, like burlap table runners, Mason jar centerpieces, and wooden accents, can add a cozy, homey feel to a rehearsal dinner.
  10. Minimalist decor: Finally, if you prefer a more streamlined look, you might opt for minimalist decor. Think simple table settings, clean lines, and a neutral color palette.

What are some good ideas for rehearsal dinner games?  

Here are five game ideas that can be fun for a rehearsal dinner:

Newlywed game:

This classic game involves asking the couple questions about each other, such as their favorite food, their first kiss, or their pet peeves. Guests can guess the answers and the couple can reveal if they are correct.

Wedding bingo:

Create bingo cards with wedding-related words or phrases, like “wedding dress,” “bride and groom,” or “first dance.” Guests can cross off items on their cards as they spot them throughout the evening.


Create a trivia game about the couple, such as questions about how they met, where they went on their first date, or other fun facts about their relationship.


Guests can divide into teams and take turns drawing wedding-related items, such as a wedding cake, bouquet, or rings, while their team members try to guess what they are drawing.

Who am I?:

Write the names of famous couples or wedding-related characters, like Romeo and Juliet, on cards and place them on guests’ foreheads. Guests can then ask yes or no questions to figure out who they are, with the first person to correctly guess their identity wins a prize.


A rehearsal dinner is an important pre-wedding event that provides an opportunity for the wedding party and their families to spend time together before the big day. From choosing the location and the menu to setting a budget and selecting a theme, there are many factors to consider when planning a rehearsal dinner. By following the tips and suggestions provided above, you can ensure that your rehearsal dinner is a memorable and enjoyable event for everyone involved.

Related article: Top 10 2023 Wedding Themes
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