Pro Tip – How To Host A Rehearsal Dinner

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Dubsdread Catering Event Specialist Peighton Ballant shares her pro tips for planning your rehearsal dinner.

With your wedding coming up in a few weeks, months, or even years, a lot of your focus might be directed towards your actual wedding day. However, you need to make sure you do not abandon the rehearsal dinner the day before. A rehearsal dinner is the perfect way for you to interact with some friends and family in a more intimate setting before the excitement and hustle of your big day, and to set expectations as well. If you have a lot of questions on how to plan the perfect rehearsal dinner, no worries! We are here to give you the best tips and tricks to do so, plus we created a handy-dandy Rehearsal Dinner Checklist to jump start your planning.


First things first – who hosts the rehearsal dinner? The rehearsal dinner is generally hosted by and paid for by the groom’s family, but it has also become more common to share the responsibility between the bride and groom. It essentially depends on if you want to take on the task of planning a whole new event with new needs or passing it off to someone else.


Once you figure out who will be doing all the planning, be sure to start looking for venues about three to four months in advance (unless you are doing a casual BBQ in your backyard – which is always a comfortable and affordable option!) Picking out a location first will also help you narrow down your food decisions. Does your venue have a preferred vendor list? Can you bring any caterer in, or even your own food? Don’t plan for a specific caterer or meal until you have booked your venue. 

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You may also be wondering who gets invited to the rehearsal dinner. Truly is up to you. Most commonly the wedding party and immediate family is invited alongside any spouses or children, but you can also extend the invitation to your officiant, close friends, or other family members. Keep in mind, though, that the rehearsal dinner is meant to be the time to hang out with, thank, and celebrate those closest to you, as you may not have time to do it on your big day. pinterest 6


But once you’ve picked your venue and sent out your invitations, now it’s time to figure out the fun activities that will take place at the dinner. You’re able to be a little more causal at rehearsal dinner than at a wedding, so you can incorporate a grazing table, an ice cream bar, Jenga, or even some corn hole if you have space that allows it. Rehearsal dinners are the perfect time for family traditions to be carried out, to play some entertaining wedding games, and to hear toasts from those who will not be toasting at the wedding. 

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It is also customary for the bride and groom to give out gifts at their rehearsal dinner. This can be just a little gift to show those around you how much they mean to you. This includes the entire wedding party, the ring bearer and flower girl (if you have them), and many couples also choose to give gifts to their parents in appreciation. The rehearsal dinner offers a time and place that is more private than the day of the event with those you have chosen to be part of it with you, and is often the preferred place for sharing gifts, thanks, and gratitude as it may get emotional. 


And then of course, bring the night to an end with some tasty desserts and a toast to your friends and family. Be sure to end early because you have a long and fun day ahead of you tomorrow, and don’t eat so much food that you will be feeling tired or uncomfortable the next day.

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But no matter how you decide to plan your dinner, whether it will be filled with festivities or just a simple family meal, make sure to enjoy and really take in every moment with those closest to.

Peighton Ballant is an Event Specialist with the Dubsdread Catering Team and is currently working on her Event Management degree at UCF. Peighton enjoys working with clients to discover what they are most interested in bringing to their special event, and how to make those ideas come to life. Contact her today at

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