Category Archives: Wedding Ideas

Get ready for your rehearsal dinner by brushing up on etiquette.

Rehearsal dinner etiquette 101

If you're approaching your wedding day, you have a few more steps to complete before you say "I do." You've already sent wedding invitations to all of your guests, and your dress is fitted, but you have to practice the actual ceremony at your rehearsal. Traditionally, couples complete the rehearsal process on a celebratory note by having dinner with everyone involved in the wedding. If you're following suit, you'll want to be sure to use proper rehearsal dinner etiquette. Here are a few tips for making the night go smoothly:

The host
In most instances, the groom's family hosts (or pays for) the rehearsal dinner. Such is the case if the bride's family is paying for most of the wedding. However, every wedding is different. Therefore you and your fiance may want to pay for the dinner, the bride's parents could take over the costs, or several parties could split the bill. 

Who is invited?
The rehearsal dinner immediately follows the ceremony practice session, so anyone who attends the first event should be at the second. Generally, this includes the bride and groom, bridal party, parents on both sides, readers, flower girls, ring bearers, ushers and the officiant. Additionally, you should invite the significant others of any of the aforementioned people, and other family members who aren't in the wedding party. All these people are instrumental in the ceremony, so you should thank them for their help with a delicious meal.

How to invite people
Sending paper invitations is the best option for your rehearsal dinner. The physical copy is a good reminder to your guests of when and where the event will take place. Your invites can be simple or elaborate, fun or formal, whatever you choose! You and your fiance may enjoy the Rehearsal Shoes invitation from Pear Tree Greetings. This cute and colorful rehearsal dinner invitation features a drawing of his and hers shoes.

Where should it be?
You can host the rehearsal dinner anywhere you want. Some couples go to a restaurant (with a reservation) and others host it at home. Your budget and available space will factor into your decision. Furthermore, you should determine whether your event will be formal or casual. The dinner likely won't be as fancy as your wedding, but let people know if they should dress up. The venue will factor into dress code. For instance, a backyard barbecue won't be as dressy as dining at a four-star restaurant. Finally, make sure the venue is close to the ceremony location. You'll be going from one to the next the night of your rehearsal.

Start planning ahead
As a general rule of thumb, you want to plan your rehearsal and following dinner three to six months before the wedding. Try to make reservations then. If the restaurant doesn't accept such early reservations, then waiting a little longer is acceptable.

When should it happen?
In most cases, the rehearsal takes place the day before your wedding. That way, all the important details will be fresh in your mind. Plan the dinner early in the evening so you can get home at a decent hour – no staying up all night when you have to make it to the church on time the next day!

Small ceremony, big party: Inviting additional guests to the reception

Many couples are choosing to have an intimate ceremony and to celebrate with friends and extended family afterward, rather than inviting everyone to both activities. Perhaps this is because the venue for the ceremony is too small, the budget doesn’t allow for a large venue or the couple simply wants to share the ceremony only with immediate family, but whatever the reason, this practice is becoming more common.

When planning a wedding that will have separate guest lists for the ceremony and reception, it is extra important to stay organized. You need to keep track of two different guest lists and plan two separate events that also need to coordinate so guests from the ceremony don’t feel like they are walking into a world completely different from the one they just left. Stay on track by keeping separate binders of the planning process for each.

Use separate wedding reception cards to invite additional guests to the reception portion of the evening. Clearly spell out on the card that you would like the recipients to join for the reception portion of the evening, and be sure to include the time and location. Because you will have guests arriving, ensure that this time is accurate. You do not want guests to have to wait for your arrival if the ceremony runs over the planned time. Give a buffer to ensure that you will be able to get from the ceremony to the reception with plenty of time to spare.

If a small ceremony is more your taste, don’t worry about whittling down the guest list for the vows. Just make sure that you don’t do it the other way around and invite guests to the ceremony and not to the reception. That is a major wedding faux-pas.

Bridal shower etiquette for gift giving

Choosing the right gift for a bridal shower can be tricky, but these etiquette tips will help you choose a gift that the bride-to-be will actually want and appreciate.

1. Buy a separate gift for the shower and wedding

Guests wonder about this a lot and the answer is always yes, you should buy a gift for both the bridal shower and the wedding. It’s okay, though, though to spend less money on the bridal shower gift and to give a present that is more fun than practical.

2. If it’s a couple’s shower, give a gift that will appeal to both individuals

Not all showers are specifically for the bride-to-be. Some people choose to throw a couple’s shower, in which case both the bride and the groom are honored. If you’re going to a couple’s shower, be sure to give a gift they will both enjoy. If it’s just a bridal shower, it’s perfectly acceptable to give a gift that is specific to the bride and her wants and needs.

3. Don’t confuse the bridal shower for the bachelorette party

Bridal showers typically involve both friends and family, and giving risqué gifts could potentially embarrass the bride-to-be and make you look bad at the party. Keep in mind who will be attending the bridal shower when selecting a gift and save anything that isn’t suitable for a bridal shower for the bachelorette party instead.

4. If ever unsure, stick with the registry

Most couples have a registry for a reason – they want to you to use it. While there is no rule that says you have to buy a registry item, it is often encouraged. If you’re really close to the bride and you want to give a more personal gift, that’s okay. If you’re considering a random item you’re not sure the bride will even like, however, stick to the registry instead.

5. For large gifts, team up with other guests

If the registry lists some rather large items you can’t afford to buy on your own, it’s fine to team up with other invited guests and buy the gift together. Just make sure you have enough people who are interested in the idea before actually buying anything expensive.

Buying the right bridal shower gift doesn’t have to be impossible. With these etiquette tips in mind, you can select a gift the blushing bride-to-be will be sure to enjoy.