11 Rehearsal Dinner Invitations Etiquettes

Rehearsal Dinner Invitations Etiquette
Include immediate family members, close friends, and the wedding party in your rehearsal dinner guest list. Send the invitations a month or more in advance with all the details and RSVP instructions. Plan an informal event with fun activities and toasts.

1. The Guest List

You should invite the people you most want to spend time with before the big day. These can be your closest friends (who hopefully are members of the wedding party), immediate family, and extended family members with who you’re close.

The wedding team (the maid of honor, the bridesmaids, the best man, and the groomsmen) is a must. But it’s your call whether to invite their plus-ones since wedding etiquette does not specify that.

A pro is that the significant others won’t feel left out, and the bridal party members will appreciate your consideration. While a con of inviting them is that you might not be so close.

If you’re going to invite the ring bearer and flower girl, don’t forget to include the adults responsible for the child. Inviting the officiant is also a nice courtesy, especially if you’re close.

Out-of-town guests travel only to be at your wedding, so why not invite them? Of course, you don’t have to invite anyone you’re not close to for an intimate rehearsal dinner. That’s why many couples do a welcome party for all the wedding guests after the rehearsal dinner or instead.

To avoid hurt feelings, make separate invitations for people who are invited to the rehearsal dinner and people who are not. Also, if you’re having a destination wedding, everyone should be invited to the rehearsal dinner since the wedding guest list is already short.

2. When To Send Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

Send the rehearsal dinner invitations one month in advance or at least two months. You should send them after the wedding invitations, separately.

It’s important to include a schedule with all the wedding events for the people participating actively in the wedding ceremony. This will ensure everyone makes the necessary arrangements and is ready to fulfill their duties.

3. Invitation Design and Wording Tips

The location, time, date, RSVP instructions, and couple’s and host’s names should be on the wedding rehearsal dinner invitations. A dress code and menu options are also nice details.

You can be as casual as you want with the rehearsal dinner invitation wording. Even the format can be different since you can make online invitations instead of traditional paper ones.

For the design, consider the aesthetic of the actual rehearsal dinner. What colors will be there, where will it be, and will it be intimate to not?

This will help you decide what theme you’re going for. For example, if it will be at the traditional groom’s parent’s house, you can use a more traditional design with neutral colors.

4. Who Should Host the Dinner

Tradition says the groom’s family should host the dinner. But, really, it’s up to you. Many couples pay the bill themselves or split it between their families. This decision should consider the budget of the people involved and your preferences since the person who pays for the dinner will want to participate in the decisions.

If you’re not paying for the rehearsal dinner or if you’re sharing hosting expenses, remember to have and follow a clear budget. And make sure to communicate your boundaries regarding dinner decisions with the hosts.

5. Formality Level

The rehearsal dinner can be as formal or informal as you like, just not more formal than the own wedding reception. The best way is to communicate the formality level with your invitations.

6. Dress Code

A dress code should be included in the rehearsal dinner invitation. Make sure the dress code is clear and explicit. Remember to include the environmental conditions, such as if there is grass in the rehearsal dinner venue, so guests don’t wear light-colored shoes and thin heels.

7. RSVPs and Follow-ups

The easiest way to track RSVPs is with a spreadsheet or online system. The spreadsheet should have the invitees’ contact information, their meal option, notes, their response (yes, no, or no response), and their plus-one name (if they have one).

Online RSVPs are easier to track, but if you’re going with paper, send them another envelope with a stamp inside the invitation envelope. This will make sure they answer quickly.

You’ll need a deadline for RSVPs that gives you enough time for planning. But there will always be people who won’t answer in time. Make a follow-up plan to email, text, or call them the day the deadline is over.

8. Accommodating Special Needs

You must make your event accessible for guests with dietary restrictions and disabilities. Even if you’re unaware, someone’s plus one might have one of those. That’s why it’s important to ask about meal options and check for RSVP notes.

If someone has a dietary restriction, make sure the caterer knows that so that they can have an option ready for them.

Choose a venue where people don’t have to walk too much, have braille invitations if someone is blind, and make sure that a deaf person has someone that can interpret for them. If someone has sensory issues, dim the lights and sit them away from the speakers.

9. Rehearsal Dinner Activity Ideas

You should plan fun activities for dinner before your wedding day. A good way to set a nice mood is having a fire pit and live music.

You can also play games like at a bridal shower. Play funny videos of the couple and your loved ones to have a good laugh. If you’re having child guests, make sure they have fun as well with a toy or DIY area.

10. Seating Arrangements

seating arrangement for rehearsal dinner
Seating arrangement for rehearsal dinner

To strategize the seating arrangement, make a chart if the venue is small or if you have a lot of guests. You can skip it if it’s a casual dinner.

The couple should be able to see the entire room. Have your close family and friends next to you. The bridal party plus-ones should be seated beside them. Try to have someone who likes to talk at every table to create conversation.

11. Toasts and Speeches

Make sure to tell your guests beforehand the time limit for their speech. The hosts usually are the first ones to give a dinner toast. After that, people who won’t be toasting at the wedding reception should speak. Your loved ones, like the groom’s and bride’s families and friends, will want to toast to your love.

Ana C.

Ana C. is an artistic writer who loves shaping language around her message. For her, etiquette is about respecting everyone and spreading kindness. She loves hanging out with goats, analyzing TV shows, and eating feijoada with farofa.

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