Anyone who is getting married knows about the big wedding day – the flowers, the dress, the seating chart. It’s your primary focus. However, the rehearsal dinner is very important to your guests, especially those coming from out of town. It’s a chance to see family, old college buddies, and friends that have traveled far and wide to be there for the big day. Starting off the weekend with a well-planned rehearsal dinner is one of the keys to a successful wedding weekend.
Having your rehearsal dinner at a restaurant can be an expensive proposition. A more budget-friendly (and frankly, more fun) option is having the dinner at a private home or other outdoor venue. Not only will it create a more relaxed and less formal atmosphere, there is more room to be creative with entertaining your guests. Dress a table with candles and flowers, have some music playing and a professional tending bar. All these elements work together to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Having the rehearsal dinner covered by a professional photographer can be a great way to catch a lot of candid moments as well as group photos of family and friends that are near impossible to get the day of the wedding. If you’re on a budget, ask a friend or family member to take pictures. Having a rehearsal dinner photo album will be a great memory of a wonderful weekend, not only the big day.
Save the formal plated dinner for the wedding reception and opt for a buffet or small bites passed by a wait staff or catering company. This allows your guests to catch up with everyone without being relegated to the few they are seated next to at the table.
There’s nothing that sets the tone of a party like music. Since you’re most likely bridging a large gap in age, stick with classics such as a small jazz band to play during cocktails, dinner and into the evening. Not only will it create a wonderful atmosphere, but it will instantly elevate the level of your dinner.
GUEST GIFT BAGS
Whether your guests are making a trip from across the country or down the street, make them feel welcome and appreciated with a guest gift bag. Fill them with snacks, toiletries or something personal that they can keep as a memento of the day. It’s a small gesture with a lot of meaning for your guests.
As with the big wedding day, don’t let the pressure of the dinner get to you. Stay true to yourself with your plans, be thoughtful and use proper etiquette. However, the most important element is to have fun. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?