Must-Haves for a Memorable Rehearsal Dinner

Ian RamirezWedding Planning, Wedding Tips

Weddings and tradition are two words that often go hand-in-hand with each other. Simply put, there are so many different wedding traditions scattered throughout the entire celebration. The white wedding dress, eating wedding cake, the bouquet toss, seeing your spouse-to-be on the walk down the aisle, the list goes on. While there have certainly been plenty of instances of couples side-stepping some of these traditions in recent years, many of them are still widely prevalent in 2022!

That brings us to the topic of discussion for this week’s blog post: rehearsal dinners. Chances are many of you have previously attended a rehearsal dinner and may even be in the planning stages of your own. Nonetheless, it is undoubtedly a tradition that has been going on for quite awhile. To sum it up, rehearsal dinners are generally held the night before the wedding, and are attended by the couple getting married, wedding party and other close family and friends. On this week’s blog, we’ll provide you with a few tips to consider for your own rehearsal dinner.

Before we get into that though, we always like to just give a quick welcome to anyone new to our website. Madera Estates is a luxury wedding venue located in Conroe, TX, close by North Houston and The Woodlands. If you’re engaged and searching for a venue near the Houston area, we would love to show you around our event space. Simply click the link HERE to check out our booking calendar.

Photo on the thumbnail courtesy of Good Omen Co. Photo & Films.

Who Makes The Guest List?

I briefly answered this question in the opening paragraphs, but it is one that’s worth providing clarification on. For the rehearsal dinner, you definitely do not need to invite everyone that will be attending the actual wedding on the next day. With most rehearsal dinners, here is what the guest list ends up looking like:

  • Couple getting married
  • Wedding party
  • Immediate family members from both sides
  • Close extended family members (aunt, uncle, grandparents, etc.)
  • Anyone else involved in the actual ceremony (flower girl, ring bearer, officiant, etc.)

At a minimum, this list above usually encompasses the bulk of the rehearsal dinner guest list. However, there are some additional questions you’ll want to ask yourself, such as including any close friends or providing people with the option to bring a plus-one. The main key point I wanted to drive home here though is that you don’t have to invite every single person off the full wedding guest list to the rehearsal dinner.

Incorporate Toasts In One Way Or Another!

We touched on the idea of wedding traditions in the opening section. Well…one more example of tradition throughout the wedding weekend are toasts. At the wedding reception, you’ll likely have the maid of honor, best man and even your parents say a few words, but we also recommend utilizing the rehearsal dinner as a time for toasts. The rehearsal dinner is intended to start the process of bringing the two families together and toasts can be a great component to include in the celebration.

There really aren’t any strict guidelines as to who should be giving a speech at the rehearsal dinner. Generally speaking, whoever hosts the rehearsal gives a toast first, but after that, there’s some flexibility. You likely won’t see the best man or maid of honor giving a toast at the rehearsal dinner. However, if there’s any other close family members or wedding party members that would like to say a few words, this would be the perfect time to do so. 

Are you going to be giving a speech at an upcoming rehearsal dinner or wedding reception? Check out our previous blog post HERE that provides a few of our favorite tips for knocking it out of the park!

Where Will It Be Held?

Just as you’ll need an event space for the wedding day itself, you’re also going to need somewhere for the rehearsal dinner too. As is the case with many aspects of wedding planning, there is definitely some flexibility here. You can never go wrong with choosing a local restaurant. This is great for those with smaller parties. Another option could be a smaller event space or even another wedding venue where you could have food catered in. This tends to be the best route for those with larger groups. Depending on the size of your guest list, you may even be able to host it at a family member’s home. There are two stipulations though that you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Plan Ahead – Particularly if your celebration is during a busy wedding season (say, a Saturday in September), then you’ll want to make sure to plan ahead and get your reservations booked with the place where you want your rehearsal dinner to be held. 
  • Enough Space – This next point is going to vary depending on the guest list size. For rehearsal dinners with not as many people, capacity generally isn’t a concern. However, it is important to clarify this before making any reservations, especially if you’re planning on hosting it at a local restaurant.

What All Should Be Included?

With most rehearsal dinners, they don’t need to be anything over the top. After all, the next day will likely be a full day and encompass many of the components you’ve worked so hard on throughout wedding planning. The rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity to get all of your close loved ones together in one area and break the ice in a way. Maybe you even have some cornhole or other yard games set up to encourage interaction amongst guests. That being said, what else might you include in the agenda:

  • Toasts – We already highlighted this one earlier in the blog, but one final suggestion: make sure someone records the speeches too. Not everyone hires a videographer for the rehearsal dinner, so possibly delegate this task to a family member.
  • Wedding Party Gifts – If the bride and groom have a gift for their bridesmaids and groomsmen, this would be the perfect time for that exchange.
  • Food – Obviously, delicious food is a necessity for the perfect rehearsal dinner, right? No matter if you’re having food catered in or actually eating at a specific restaurant, there are no limitations to the type of food you select.

Tie the Knot at Madera Estates!

Jumping back to the content from the introduction, there’s no denying that tradition is still alive and well in the wedding world. While the wedding industry as a whole has evolved quite a bit over the years, we still have many different traditional components included. With that being said, the traditional rehearsal dinner is definitely a perfect example of one that is still extremely common. We hope you enjoyed reading our blog that discussed a few of the important aspects of a memorable rehearsal dinner.

As we mentioned above, there is definitely some flexibility when it comes to planning your rehearsal dinner. You can opt for something low-key and just have a relaxing evening with loved ones. You can use the rehearsal dinner as a way to really kick off a weekend full of celebrating. It’s entirely up to you!

For those engaged couples that are searching for wedding venues near Houston, don’t hesitate to reach out and we can show you around Madera Estates. We provided our online booking link earlier in this blog, but if you would like to come out for a tour, HERE it is again! Happy Wedding Planning!