Pre-wedding Parties

Rehearsal Dinner Advice

I'm not very experienced in the in and outs of rehearsal dinners.

Our venue is about an hour and half away from us, its beautiful, but we're not planning on having our rehearsal there.

That being said:

1) I know rehearsal dinners usually take place the night before. We don't want that stress. Would it be inappropriate to have it the weekend before possibly? This might not work because a couple people are from out of town.

2) Has anyone ever heard of or been to a rehearsal that takes place wherever we are having dinner at?

I'm thinking of renting a party room at a restaurant to rehearse and have dinner at.  Any advice or ideas on this? Is it tacky? At this point, we are really looking for simple and casual. What could get more casual than this? Thanks in advance.

Re: Rehearsal Dinner Advice

  • If you're going to have a RD, it should take place the night before. RDs don't have to be stressful or complicated. It can be as simple as ordering pizzas, chips, and soda. 
  • It's more than possible that you don't need to rehearse but if you do, it's best to do it in a timeframe that works best for you and your guests.   Often that's the night before.

    FWIW, I think the tradition of doing it the night before is often the best way to handle the end of the stress.   You've been planning and it's done.   Now you get to do a walk through and relax with food and wine! 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    My friends were married by another friend who had been ordained.  Their officiant was a nurse and could not get off for the night of their intended rehearsal.  So they met with him a few nights before that and went over their ceremony with him.  So technically, they didn't need to have any other rehearsals or a dinner the night before.  They still did have a dinner, but it was more of a welcome dinner since almost the entire groom's side was OOT and they were all there as well.

    I also had two BMs miss my rehearsal, one of them being a MOH.  They were still able to walk down the aisle fine and my MOH was still able to figure out where to stand when it came time for our vows (Catholic ceremony - so the set up can be a little different).

    I also was a BM in a friends wedding where the MOH and another BM got lost on the way from the hotel to the venue for the rehearsal.  The next day, since I was closest to the MOH and played the MOH during the rehearsal, I just quietly whispered to her when she needed to move in closer to the bride or take her bouquet, etc. 

    Overall, if you decide to do the rehearsal and the dinner a week before the wedding, don't worry if not all WP members can make it. 

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Rehearsal dinners can be very simple - sandwiches, pizza, etc.  They don't have to be big splashy dinners.

    The only rules about rehearsal dinners are that they must immediately follow the rehearsal if there is one (they are not required when there isn't one), and that SOs and parents of minor guests must be invited.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I don't understand rehearsing in a space you aren't getting married in. What's the point? I would just skip it entirely since you don't seem to need to rehearse.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • @AddieCake  - I've been to several rehearsals where the rehearsal wasn't in the actual ceremony space and they were still really helpful. One for example, the ceremony was on a boat. As a replacement they set up string in the back yard with the boat's measurements so we'd know where to all stand etc at the front (there wasn't quite enough room for everyone without wrapping around. The other, the couple was getting married in a field, so it didn't seem to matter if we practiced in a field that was 1.5 hours away or a field that was connected to someone's much closer back yard.

    I personally was really glad to have gone through a rehearsal! It made me much less nervous on the day of because we had done a run-through. Yes, walking down the aisle isn't particularly complicated, but it's nice to know that everyone was on the same page regarding timelines and all of that, and it was nice to walk through the ceremony quickly.

    OP I say stick to doing the rehearsal and RD the night before the wedding - especially if you have out of town bridal party members.
  • Our wedding venue is 35 mins away, and since we're getting married on a Sunday, it's booked for another wedding and unavailable to us for a rehearsal the day before (or even the day before that!). Instead, we're measuring out the space in my parent's backyard and rehearsing there (and then inviting all wedding guests, especially since most are from OOT, over for a little social hour to spend some extra time with them). I think it is helpful to walk through, so your MOH remembers to take your bouquet at the right time and hand it back to you, or your dad can work out logistics of kissing your cheek and shaking the groom's hand, or whatever. We're also having a friend become ordained and perform our ceremony, so I know he will be glad for the time to get more comfortable.
    I think if your room for dinner has enough space, go for it - as long as it's cool with your restaurant/you have enough time booked in addition to dinner being served! (This was what my FMIL originally thought we'd do, until we came up with a different plan.)
  • I played the organ for many church weddings that did not have a rehearsal.  Since the rehearsal usually takes more time than the actual wedding, I gave people a BIG discount on my fee if there was no rehearsal!
  • Our wedding was on a Friday, because a lot of the people involved in our wedding couldn't get off of work on Thursday, we held it the weekend before at our home.  It worked great because then the day before I wasn't rushing to get to the rehearsal or have to worry about it at all. And my phone wasn't blowing up the day before with 1000 questions because we went through it all in detail at the rehearsal.  
    The only thing I did that may have helped was to have a map of the venue of how things were going to be laid out so people were able to 'visualize'.  In the end, wedding went off without a hitch and no one but me and DH had been to the venue prior to the wedding.
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    There are two reasons, IMO, that the rehearsals and dinner are the night before.

    1) Anyone coming from out of town can reasonably be in town by then and does not have to make multiple trips;

    2) What was practiced is reasonably fresh in everyone's minds.

    I wouldn't bother with it if you're going to do it a week early - people will forget. I also assume everyone who would rehearse is local, otherwise it'd be extremely inconsiderate to ask people to travel twice for a very early rehearsal and dinner.

    Rehearsing at the dinner venue is fine. But either skip it or have it the night before.
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ugh. How did I not notice this was a zombie?
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