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!

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