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How to Plan a Successful Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Another pre-wedding celebration? Just name the date!

Rehearsal dinners have been big news in the US for years and they’re becoming popular in the UK now too. Here’s everything you need to know about the pre-wedding celebration.

Brunch the morning after your wedding, bridal showers and now the wedding rehearsal dinner. It seems more and more American traditions are making their way into the world of UK weddings. One such event that we’re seeing crop up more and more at UK weddings is a rehearsal dinner. This is a great chance for you to spend more time with valued guests. Plus, if you’re feeling anxious ahead of your wedding, it will settle your nerves to run through it beforehand. You can be reassured that everything will go to plan.

So if you want to know all there is to know about a wedding rehearsal dinner, keep reading.

What is a wedding rehearsal dinner?

Rehearsal dinners are an established tradition in the US. They’re a chance for members of the wedding party to meet and get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere before the big day. It is also an opportunity for the bride and groom to thank family members and others who have helped with the wedding planning.

When do you hold your rehearsal dinner?

We usually suggest one or two nights before the wedding.

It’s best to do a rehearsal of the ceremony with the following people:

Bride and groom

Their parents

Best man



Flower girls

Siblings of the bride and groom

Afterwards, they then head off and meet the others at the rehearsal dinner venue.

It might take place at the hotel where you’re staying the night before your wedding, maybe at the groom’s family home, a local pub or restaurant. It could even take the form of a barbecue in the back garden. The style of your wedding rehearsal dinner is completely up to you.

Who should host a rehearsal dinner?

The groom’s side often hosts this part of the evening but it’s not essential. As with most things in a wedding of today, there are no rules.

The groom’s family may enjoy having an event which they can call their own, so it may be worth suggesting it to your mother-in-law. She’ll probably relish having her own project and even if it’s not to your taste, it will make her happy.

Is there any set etiquette for a wedding rehearsal dinner?

Not really. The main thing is that it should be informal – really relaxed and fun. It’s about bringing everyone together so people who have never met get acquainted, and people who haven’t seen each other for a while can catch up.

You may also want to use this occasion to hand out thank you gifts to bridesmaids and the best man.

Who should be invited to rehearsal dinner?

Often it’s just close family and the bridal party. If you have guests who have travelled far to attend your wedding, you may wish to invite them too. It’s a chance to catch up with them at greater length than you’ll have time for on the wedding day.

Does a wedding rehearsal dinner have to be a dinner?

Sometimes cocktails and nibbles are enough, with a 10 pm finish. Although you might find the groom and his party carry on into the early hours!


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