Sunday, April 10, 2011

Step 42- Identify and Notify a Rehearsal Dinner Site

(4 Months to 6 Months before the Wedding)
The rehearsal dinner is a celebration event that is often held after the wedding rehearsal practice and the event is usually held at a church, ceremony site, fancy restaurant, banquet facility, chartered boat, or an estate type home. Traditionally, the groom's family covers the cost of the rehearsal dinner but, depending on the situation, the costs are shared by the bride's family or with help from the groom and the bride.

The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the two family's of the bride and groom to get to know one another. The rehearsal dinner can be an elaborate affair or a backyard barbecue. It is recommended, the food served be of a different style of meal that what is planned at the wedding reception, maybe an ethnic meal like Italian, fiesta Mexican, western barbecue, seafood, clam bake, Hawaiian luau, etc. If the event is in a restaurant, seek out a private room or try to find a cordoned off area. You might even try a golf club, country club, or a banquet hall. Maybe include a cocktail hour and order hors d'oeuvres on a side table and encourage the mingling of guests.

As you begin your search, check out what your church or ceremony site has to offer first. Look at wedding related websites, restaurant review sites, and some rehearsal sites for select cities are in this blog. Be sure to visit the place in person and they can accommodate the amount of guests you have planned. Does the place have a good atmosphere, a good private area, a little place for mingling and talking, and is the food excellent?

It's not a requirement for invitations to be sent out for a rehearsal dinner. The participants of the rehearsal dinner include the bride and groom, their parents and the entire wedding party including the best man, maid-of-honor, all the bridesmaids, all the groomsmen, and the flower girl's and ring bearer's parents (including their children is optional). Also invited are the bride and groom's immediate family including grandparents, brothers and sisters and their spouses if there are any. The officiant should be invited too, plus very close friends not in the wedding party, and if there are out-of-town guests, they should be invited to join in the festivities if you are not dealing with a tight budget.

The rehearsal dinner is not as formal as the wedding reception. It is basically a pre-wedding celebration to thank people for being important people in the bride's and groom's lives and a get to know the new family. A member representing the groom's family should introduce their family member's, followed by a member representing the bride's family introduce their family, followed by the best man introducing member's of the bridal party. After the dinner, the best man usually acts as an emcee and starts off a round of roasting and toasting the bride and the groom.

The best man's speech should last from 5 to 10 minutes and should only talk about positive things to say about the bride and groom. The best man may talk about how the bride and groom met, funny stories about the couple, funny stories about some of the participants, how the couple has changed since they have met, talk about each of their good qualities, thank important people in the couple's lives, thank some of the participants that helped in the wedding planning, mention anything that needs to be said about the next day's agenda, and end with a poem, a quote, or positive advice.

The host goes around the room and lets others give their roast to say a couple of things and toast the couple. First the groom's parents, then the bride's parents and then the floor is open for people to do their roast and toast. The host should tell everyone to keep the roast and toast to 1 to 3 minutes. As each person gives there speech, the host should remind people to relax, make it fun and remember the bride and groom need to leave early, they need a good rest before their big wedding day.

After the roasts and toasts the bride and groom take their turn and thank everyone for coming and give their roast and toast to thank them for coming for their special day and being part of their lives and to thank select individuals for helping them and single out individuals for helping them in their wedding planning. If there is bridesmaid's or groomsmen gift's at this point it is a good time to hand them out. Good gifts might be jewelry, purses that match their bridesmaid gowns, a cosmetic or perfume case, or an engraved memento from the occasion. For the groomsmen, cuff links are a great idea, a fancy tie, or groomsmen tools maybe a utility knife with a nail file, nail clippers, corkscrew, scissors, and the like are good.

In recent years, the groomsman's cake has become part of the tradition of the rehearsal dinner. The groomsman's cake is usually a manly cake made with the groom's favorite flavor, could be chocolate fudge, spice, coffee, or carrot cake. The groom's cake is generally designed into the shape of the groom's hobby. The cake could be molded into the shape of his hobby or decorated and iced on top with a scene of his hobby. The cake could be designed into almost anything, could be golf, football, some other sport, race cars, fishing, photography, stamp collecting, bike riding, or a thousand different things.

If you decide on a simple invitation to say on a post card or email or on a little note, you could structure it as follows:

Please join us for a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

In honor of (bride's name) and (groom's name)
At (this location)
At (this time)
RSVP (host's name) at (host's phone number) or (host's email address)

In summary, the rehearsal dinner should not be an evening of long speeches or jokes or drinking. It's a night of thanking important people in the couple's lives and for the two families to get to know one another. No talking negative about anybody at the function, you want everybody there to have a positive first impression of people they are meeting for the very first time. Remember, the next day is the bride and groom's big day, they need a good nights sleep and you want them refreshed for the big day. Share any itinery matters that need to be mentioned for the wedding day and help out out-of-towners too, by carpooling, providing them with shuttle schedules, and recommending places to go and things to do while they are in town!

So that's the story of identifying and notifying rehearsal dinners, see you on the other side!

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