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Explaining the Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal dinners are a formal affair held by the groom’s parents. This tradition brings family and the wedding party together to celebrate and rehearse for the big day. Since so many brides have questions about the rehearsal dinner, we are providing some answers.

The Rehearsal Dinner Tradition

Traditionally, the groom's parents plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. While the bride and her parents get all the creative credit for the wedding day, the rehearsal dinner belongs to the groom’s parents. However, couples and family members are commonly sharing the cost of the event, especially when a large rehearsal dinner is being planned. The rehearsal dinner brings close family and the wedding party together prior to the wedding day. Traditionally, this event occurs the day before the wedding. However, it is commonly held a couple days prior to the wedding to allow more time between the two events. This event is centered around celebrating the joining of two families, and is also an opportunity to make important announcements and rehearse the ceremony. It should be low-key, and never compete with the reception.

Rehearsal Dinner

Timeline for the Rehearsal Dinner

As the name implies, the rehearsal dinner involves food. This is usually a formal event with a formal dinner, desserts, cocktails and some important speeches. After the cocktails are served, the groom’s father will begin the speeches with a special toast to his son and future daughter-in-law. The mother of the groom usually delivers a speech to her son and future daughter-in-law. The groom follows with a heartfelt toast to his bride and a special thank you to his parents and the guests. It is also an opportunity for the bride to make a toast and thank the hosts and her guests in attendance. Toasting ceremonies are attention grabbers and set the stage for the next event. You may choose to distribute wedding party gifts, and gifts to the parents. It is also the opportunity for the bride and groom to present their wedding gifts to each other. After the last toast is made and gifts are given, it is a good time for announcements.

Special Announcements

This is the time to make announcements about the wedding day. It is the perfect opportunity to focus on questions and answers, especially when it comes to the wedding party. Make sure the wedding party is aware of where they need to go, what they need to bring, and all the details to be organized for the wedding day. Make general announcements for guests about planned wedding day activities, and details related to transportation, such as pick up location and times for transportation.

Guest List

At a minimum, the guest list for your rehearsal dinner should include immediate family, the wedding party and their significant other. It is common courtesy to invite the officiant and their significant other to the rehearsal dinner. If you are planning a larger function, transform the dinner into a welcome celebration and include family or friends that traveled a distance to be present on your wedding day. It is a personal decision to allow your guests to bring children to the rehearsal dinner, and will probably rely heavily on the atmosphere of your chosen venue.

Rehearsal Dinner

Planning the Venue

A rehearsal dinner venue can be anywhere on the spectrum from casual garden party to formal ballroom. Budget will likely be a factor when planning the event. If the budget demands it, stick to an exclusive group, and plan a smaller dessert party or cocktails with the out of town guests on a different night prior to the wedding day to show appreciation. Book a venue early, and send out invitations to the rehearsal dinner shortly after the wedding invitations. Do not forget to add the dress code to the invitations. Crystal Ballroom Charlotte is an all-inclusive event and wedding venue with a professional design team, décor and staff services to create the rehearsal dinner and wedding day you envision.


We invite you to discover the
Crystal Ballroom difference found in the unparalleled elegance and uniqueness written into the design of each of our venues. The themes are as limitless as your imagination.

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