Your rehearsal dinner sets the tone for the weekend and is the kickoff for all events! I’m sharing my top tips & ideas for planning a stress-free & fun-filled night, along with some inspiration if you’re planning a coastal-themed rehearsal!
I’ll start with the fact I absolutely loved the night our of rehearsal dinner. Getting to spend quality time in an intimate setting with your closest people is the best. My personal advice is to keep your rehearsal dinner fun & casual — try not stress about it! It should be a night where you and your groom get to catch up with family & friends without the pressure of the big day!
With that said, I know there’s still a lot that goes into planning your rehearsal dinner. Below, I’m sharing some helpful tips to help get you started!
Tip #1: Choose a theme that goes with the location. Depending on where you host your rehearsal dinner, pick a theme that will compliment the venue. If it’s beach side, think about including tropical decor elements and offering seafood. If it’s in a backyard, go with a barbecue theme and offer all different types of grilled goodies! If it’s at a restaurant, pick food & decor that compliment the space!
Tip #2: Use PowerPoint to plan your tablescape. If you’re not working with a planner, PowerPoint can be your new best friend. I like to pop in images of chairs, centerpieces, tablecloths, plates, etc. to see what they look like all together – and even place the items in a picture of the venue space to see how it will come to life. I did this when planning our rehearsal dinner — and was so happy with how it turned out!
Tip #3: Book entertainment or make a playlist. It’s always nice to have background tunes playing during cocktail hour and dinner. Again, depending on the venue location, try to pick entertainment or songs that go with the vibe of your location.
Tip #4: Get creative with table names. Even though the rehearsal dinner is typically more casual, I still recommend doing assigned seating if you’re hosting a sit down dinner. Instead of using table numbers, make things a little more fun by naming your tables. We ended up naming the tables after places where we had experienced significant milestones in our relationship – where we had our first date, where we we went on our first vacation, where we were tying the knot, etc. We sent a water colorist pictures of each location and had her paint them. You can the place the drawings in a matted frame and hang in your home!
Tip 5: Have an open mic to allow for speeches. Our favorite part of the night was when our friends & family got up and gave the sweetest, most hilarious, tear-jerking speeches. If you end up having an open mic, give your wedding party & family members a heads up so that they can plan to say something in advance. It allows those who won’t be giving a speech the next day to give a toast, and makes the evening even more special!
Tip #6: Thank both sets of parents for what’s to be an amazing weekend. You can also use this time to make any announcements and share last-minute reminders for your wedding party!
Tip #7: Don’t let your flowers go to waste! You can use the centerpieces from your rehearsal dinner for several other wedding activities. A couple options include bringing them back to your hotel room where you’ll be getting ready the next morning, or if you’re throwing a brunch the day after the wedding (and they’re still going strong!) use them on the tables there!
Bonus: If you can swing it, pay for the photographer to come and take pictures of your rehearsal dinner, even if it’s just for an hour. It’s so nice to have pictures from the rehearsal in addition to the big day. If it’s not in the budget, have a family member you know who has a good camera take some photos throughout the night, especially prior to sitting down for dinner!
Last, but not least, get a good night of rest the night before and drink lots of water before bed so you wake up ready to go the next day!!
Do you have a favorite tip for future brides planning their rehearsal dinner? Comment below!