Here are some rehearsal dinner ideas to help you plan a fun-filled and
special celebration for your couple. The rehearsal dinner provides a
special opportunity for the bride and groom to-be to spend some time
with those closest to them. The wedding day tends to be hectic making
sure they visit with all the guests, so this evening allows them to
enjoy time with family and the bridal party. There are no cut and fast
rules to planning a rehearsal dinner.. but here are some good ideas for
making it extra-special for one and all.
Set A Reasonable Budget The rehearsal dinner budget should include the dinner cost, the invitations, the favors and the table decorations. If you are having a video done, don't forget those costs also. The dinner cost might be best estimated using a per head cost. Make some calls to local venues or even caterers and get some ideas as to what they would charge for a rehearsal dinner. No need for specifics, you just want a ball park figure.
Talk to the Bride and Groom With your budget established, talk with the bride and groom and about their rehearsal dinner ideas. Ask them what they would like in terms of the guest list, the menu, the type of venue and the ambiance they want for their rehearsal dinner. You'll know very quickly if you can afford what they are wanting. If not.. be ready to make some adjustments. Here are some rehearsal dinner ideas to save money:
Have the dinner on a Wednesday or Thursday night.
Eliminate an open bar and serve beer and wine only.
Trim the guest list.
Have the dinner at home
As you begin your planning, here is a good article on rehearsal dinner etiquette to help answer any questions you may have.
Invitations, Decorations and Favors Look at our rehearsal dinner ideas for rehearsal dinner favors and rehearsal dinner invitations. Here's the creative and inexpensive idea we used for rehearsal dinner decorations and rehearsal dinner centerpieces too. Another fun idea for a decoration that can serve as your favors is a Candy Buffet if your couple is NOT planning one at their wedding reception. You could label the bags with a cute tagline like: "Rehearsing for the SWEETEST day of your life" or "Energy for the big day ahead". You can add clip art to the label or even a picture of the couple!
Consider a THEME for your rehearsal dinner. We love themes as it makes it so easy to plan a party! One of ours was themed after the famous Dr. Seuss book, "Oh The Places You Will Go". We switched it up to "Oh The Places You Have Been" with photo centerpieces that reflected their history together. See this Rehearsal Dinner idea here!
With another rehearsal dinner, we themed it Our Favorite Things and used centerpieces, desserts and favors based on the couples favorite pasttimes, hobbies and memories together.
Finding A Venue Our couple wanted a casual, intimate dinner. Their menu choice... a great rehearsal dinner idea...our bride's favorite food: Pizza!! We visited multiple Italian restaurants in our area before we settled on a restaurant that is one of our family favorites. A place we knew we would receive the attention and service we wanted for our guests.
We gave the owner our
budget and our head count and he worked backwards off of that amount to create
a wonderful "Pizza & Pasta" dinner. We would take over a large back
area of the restaurant. We would do an unlimited beer, wine and soda
package. There would be a cocktail hour with passed appetizers. We could
access the outdoor patio as well as the dinner area. Dinner started
with individual salads, followed by two pasta choices served family
style, then 3 different types of pizza and ended with coffee, tea and
hot fudge sundaes. It was just perfect, all within our budget!
Rehearsal Dinner Seating I am a big believer in having assigned seats. I work to put people together at tables that know each other or have things in common. I think your guests feel more comfortable knowing where to sit and not having to look around for an empty table. If anyone is running late, they can quietly enter and go to their seats without interrupting the celebration. Here is a form I put together using Excel that kept me organized. I entered the guest list, checked off once I had mailed the invitation and entered the RSVP information as it came back. I also used it to assign the table seating. So.. one document became my master list. This may have been my best rehearsal dinner idea!
Here's how we turned our decorations into seating assignments!
Toasts My husband gave a wonderful, very personal talk about the kids. The simple and relaxed atmosphere then encouraged some impromptu toastings which were priceless. Some of the wedding party, the bride's Dad and even my husband’s brother popped up to offer some stories, tributes and toasts! It made the evening all the more special.
Here's Dad toasting our couple with a special story!
The dinner began at 6:30 and everyone was having such a wonderful time that it did not end until close to 11:00. We knew we had chosen the perfect spot as the restaurant did not rush us out but let us linger and enjoy the evening. The simple but delicious menu, the attentive staff and the casual, intimate ambiance of the venue all made for a wonderful rehearsal dinner memory.
For more Rehearsal Dinner Ideas see our Wedding Fun section!
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