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Here’s How to Plan a Rehearsal Dinner in 8 Steps

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task as it includes photoshoots, gown fittings, and dinners that you have to “rehearse” for. Okay, maybe don’t take that last one literally. Rehearsal dinners are meant to show gratitude and hospitality to the wedding entourage, the families of the bride and groom, and guests that travelled from far away.

It’s tradition to host a rehearsal dinner since it lets you bond with your guests and thank them for taking the time to come to your wedding.

But how can you make your rehearsal dinner a success? What do you need to prepare? We’ve got the answers for you in this step-by-step guide.

What Is a Rehearsal Dinner?

Although it would still depend on the budget and theme, a rehearsal dinner is a semi-formal party that occurs before the wedding is supposed to take place—usually the night before the wedding itself.

It’s also meant for the bride and groom’s immediate families to get to know one another, and the guests in attendance will toast and give gifts to show their support for the couple. For some, a rehearsal dinner serves as the official start of the wedding celebrations.

The style and program of a rehearsal dinner depend on the the bride and groom and this is where proper planning comes in to ensure the couple’s visions are met.

An RSVP card

Steps to Planning a Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal dinners are a great way to kick off the wedding celebrations! Whether you’re keeping it intimate or extending the invitations, the steps below can help you through the process:

  1. Set a Budget for Your Rehearsal Dinner

  2. Just like any other event, you need to fix a budget for your rehearsal dinner. This can help you plan your finances better to afford other aspects of the night, such as the rehearsal dinner venue, catering, decor, etc.

    Rehearsal dinner etiquette says that the groom’s parents traditionally host and cover the cost. This was under the assumption that the bride’s parents pay for the wedding. Nowadays, finances, etiquette and tradition have evolved, meaning anyone can pay for the rehearsal dinner.

  3. Create a To-Do List

  4. The best way to start planning a rehearsal dinner is to create a to-do list containing goals you want to achieve before the event. A to-do list also serves as your progress tracker and helps in lessening the pressure of the preparations.

    Cutting down your goals into more manageable pieces will allow you to tackle your tasks easily. Simultaneously, having a to-do list will make it easier to delegate tasks to your wedding party.

  5. Coordinate a Fun Theme

  6. Having a theme keeps the party alive because it provides structure to the event and lets the guests know what to expect at the rehearsal dinner venue.

    It’s up to you to decide on the aesthetic, colour palette, or even the songs you want to play during the event beforehand for a seamless pre-wedding party.

  7. Choose a Date

  8. Keep the momentum going by finalizing a date for your rehearsal dinner. This prenuptial event typically happens on the night before the wedding, so it’ll be easy to plan in advance. Take note that it’s now becoming a trend to have a weekday wedding due to cheaper venue rates and availability—so if you’re looking to rent a venue for an extended gathering, booking during the week will make is easier to secure a space.

    Regardless of your pick, choosing a date early lets your guests block off that day to join your pre-wedding festivities!

  9. Book a Rehearsal Dinner Venue

  10. Once you’ve finalized the date, it’s time to book your rehearsal dinner venue. When choosing a venue, make sure to centre it around your overarching theme. This way, you can find a space that fits the aesthetic you’re going for.

    If you’re on a budget, consider using your wedding venue as the location for your rehearsal dinner. Some venues might offer bundled pricing models for hosting both events!

    Baro’s rooftop venue

  11. Finalize the Guest List and Send Out Invitations

  12. A rehearsal dinner requires the presence of the couple’s immediate family and close friends. However, the number of guests can expand or decrease at bride and groom’s discretion.

    Whether you want the event to be intimate or grand, each guest should receive an invitation. Their response is crucial in setting the number of tables and chairs available during the event.

  13. Plan a Program for the Rehearsal Dinner

  14. Engage your guests by building a lively program during the event. Most rehearsal dinners take two to three hours, so it’s important to plan the pre-wedding party from start to finish.

    Consider designating an emcee for the evening to make sure the program goes smoothly. They can oversee the flow of events, such as speeches, gift-giving, or any other activities.

  15. Plan Your Food and Drinks Menu

Lastly, plan your food menu and drinks beforehand. Take note of your guests’ preferences and allergies so that you can adjust your dishes accordingly. The engaged couple is the star of the night, but the food takes a close second!

Book Your Rehearsal Dinner Venue at The Loft on King

A rehearsal dinner is a celebration of you and your partner’s love and commitment, so it’s important that the venue you book reflects that.

Make your pre-wedding celebrations more special by booking The Loft on King, where a stunning night view of Toronto awaits! From corporate dinners to wedding receptions, our 1,850-square-foot space offers a blank canvas for anyone to customize based on personal taste.

Contact us today to learn more about how to bring your rehearsal dinner to life.