Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why have a Rehearsal?

Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinners
I have heard so many times “I've been in a lot of weddings and so have my friends, I'm not going to have a rehearsal or rehearsal dinner.”  Many people seem to think a rehearsal and the following dinner are optional activities. That sounds like a terrible idea so here are a few tips to help you navigate the day before the big day.

Why have a Rehearsal?
The rehearsal is very important in making sure that your wedding day goes according to plan. It is a complete run-through of the ceremony and will let all of your attendants know exactly what they  need to do the day of. Even if your bridesmaids have each been in multiple weddings, every wedding is different. Plus, do you think the groomsmen will remember what they did at the last wedding they were in? Each officiant will have a different way of approaching the ceremony, your venue will be different than those other weddings, and the little details of your ceremony will be just yours.

Who needs to come?
Typically, you only invite the people who are actually participating in the ceremony to the rehearsal. This includes your bridal party, young attendants such as the flower girl and ring bearer, your officiant, parents, and anyone you may have reading or singing. If you're planning on going straight to the rehearsal dinner, don't be surprised if anyone you invited to dinner is also at the actual rehearsal.

When does it happen?
Usually the rehearsal takes place the evening before the wedding. This is flexible depending on everyone's schedule. You may have the rehearsal a day or two before the wedding, or in the morning or afternoon the day before the wedding. Invitations should be sent out a week or so after the wedding invitations are sent.

Why have a rehearsal dinner?
A rehearsal dinner is a great way for you to get everyone in your bridal party and your immediate family all together before the big day.  This is also the time for more informal toasts, traditionally given by the groom's parents and by the groom to thank the bridal party and parents for all they have done to help out, along with a little doting on the bride. Anyone else that was invited is more than welcome to make a toast and often these are more informal and personal than the reception speeches, as long as they're not too personal.

Who needs to come?
Everyone that attended the rehearsal should be in attendance at the dinner. If someone participating in the ceremony is bringing a date to the wedding, it is also polite to invite that guest to the rehearsal dinner. Many people include their out of town guests but it is also perfectly acceptable for you to let them explore the city on their own, provided you've given them a list of attractions and things to do. You could invite out of town guests out for drinks or a small dessert gathering if you don't want to exclude them but also don't want to foot the bill for another 80 person dinner.

When/where does it happen?
Although the rehearsal can happen any time close to the wedding day, the rehearsal dinner is almost always the day before the wedding. There's no particular etiquette on time of day for the meal so it can be a rehearsal brunch, lunch, or dinner. Whatever time of day you choose, the formality is up to the discretion of the bride and groom and the location should match. Play lawn games at a casual BBQ or have a fancy 5 course dinner if its a small party. Whatever you like!