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While it’s certainly not a necessity, the rehearsal dinner can be a great way to begin your wedding festivities, allowing everyone to get acquainted. It is usually is an intimate opportunity for the bride, groom, wedding party and family members to meet and mingle, before the wedding day blur begins.
The rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents, who should invite the immediate family of the bride and groom, the clergy-person and his or her spouse or special guest and the complete wedding party and their spouses or guests. If there are friends from out of town who have already arrived, they should also be invited to join the party. Traditionally, the ceremony is practiced before the meal and mingling. Then, guests are wined-and-dined at formal sit-down dinner. However, at modern day rehearsal dinners, it holds true that anything goes. Short-and-sweet or long-and-indulgent, the type of gathering you want is completely up to you. There are also customs, such as toasts, speeches and game playing that you can add to mix up your dinner itinerary, making this one of the more enjoyable events for the bride.
Since this will probably be the first time many of your guests will meet, it can be helpful to include place cards. “Emma’s Aunt Sandra,” or “Maid of Honor, Kelly Jones,” can help break the ice. Plan your seating so that your guests will enjoy the company of those with whom they are seated while also meeting new people.
The bridal couple and their immediate families generally sit together at the front or focal table. The wedding party can be seated with the bridal couple and their families, or seated amongst your other family members and special guests.
The rehearsal dinner is traditionally the time for the groom’s father to make his formal toast to the couple. It’s also an excellent time for the couple to give their attendants gifts, especially if they will be used during the wedding ceremony.
The rehearsal dinner is a joyous, relaxed time for friends and families to meet, get to know one another and enjoy each other’s company. So whether it’s simple or elaborate, it’s a lovely gesture and makes a great beginning.
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