What is a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?
You may have heard the term wedding ‘rehearsal dinner,’ in lots of American movies when it comes to wedding ceremonies. But just what is a rehearsal meal and should you have one?
Well while these occasions are par for the course in the USA, there are not exactly a formality on this side of the pond. A rehearsal dinner is generally speaking, a meal held the night before the wedding where both sides of the families can meet each other ahead of the big day.
So while we don’t tend to have official rehearsal dinners here, many families do organise some kind of get together before the main event.
We’ve put together a list of everything you might want to consider about having an official rehearsal dinner vs a more relaxed event.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly if you wish to chat about any aspect of your wedding planning and décor.
Formal Rehearsal Dinner
Movies would have us believe that a rehearsal dinner is a very formal sit down occasion held the night before the wedding. In reality, this is not always the case, but it does throw up some pros and cons.
Holding it the night before the wedding means that most family members who have travelled great distances will be in situ.
It gives the bridal party a chance to practise speeches and go through other formalities of the role.
You can assign seats and get different sides of the families sitting together so they can break the ice ahead of the big day.
Traditionally the groom’s parents arrange this event and it can be a nice way to let them feel more involved in the wedding.
Having it the night before can break the old tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other.
The couple may not be staying in the same location the night before the wedding, so a meal this close to the big day becomes impractical.
If guests have travelled a great distance, they may be tired and not able to stay up for a sit down meal.
A more formal affair can add to your budget.
More Relaxed Get Together
On this side of the Atlantic, many families would arrange a get together where both sides of the families can meet in a more relaxed environment and it generally takes place in advance of the wedding.
There’s less pressure on everyone if you go for a more laid back feel to the event, such as drinks in your home or local pub or a meal in a restaurant.
You’ve more choice about the sort of event you choose, when it’s laid back – a daytime BBQ, a picnic, an evening in a local restaurant, drop in drinks in your home, etc.
It won’t take a huge chunk out of your budget.
Often the two families spend the night before the wedding in different locations, so having the event more in advance will mean everyone can comfortably get together.
If you’re arranging it in the weeks before the wedding, not all members of the family who may live abroad for example will be available to attend and as such it might negate the whole idea of the event.
You may be quite busy in the weeks leading up to the wedding and the idea of organising a get together like this could be too much to have on your plate.
Without a more formal sit down arrangement where you can control who sits where, people might mot mingle as well and stick to their own families, which again is the opposite of what you want to achieve.