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Etiquette, Themes & Ideas

What is it?

The last hoorah before you walk down the aisle!  It is the day you practice who stands where, who says what and toast to family and friends being together to celebrate your wedding.  Traditionally it takes place the night before the wedding, but not always.  Typically there is a dinner after practicing the ceremony and it brings both families together for a pre-party before the real party!

You have spent months planning for the big day, the rehearsal dinner is something that you don’t necessary put a ton of thought into because you have been so busy! Here are some helpful guidelines, ideas and themes that don’t require a ton of work!


There are no rules on location…restaurant, bar, backyard, winery, golf course, bowling alley…pick something fun!  It should never be more formal than the wedding and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.  If you are on a tight budget do a pizza parlor, bowling alley or backyard BBQ and get creative!

Who to invite:

The wedding party, parents, siblings, grandparents, officiant, out of town guests and significant others of the wedding party.  You can include other family members or friends as you see fitting.  If there are too many out of town guests you can always plan to meet up with them at another location following dinner.  If sending invitations, send them after receiving the wedding invitation rsvp responses.  

Who Pays:

Traditionally the grooms parents pay for the rehearsal dinner but now a days many couples pay or both sets of parents pay.  


-Toast (The father of the groom or the groom, typically-thanking family and friends for being there and thanking the brides parents.  Toast should be given before or during dinner, not after. If others are giving toasts the best man should go first.)

-Gifts (distribute thank you gifts to wedding party, especially if anything specific to the wedding day)

-Any Special Presentation (prayer, poem, slideshow/videos, etc.)


Theme Ideas:



Mexican fiesta

Fondue Bar


Casino night

Clam or lobster bake

Sports game - sports team theme

Wine or beer pairing

Tee time - golf course



rehearsal dinner ideas

italian theme-advice.annsbridalbargains


 style me pretty fiesta


Photo Credit: nautical/lobster boil: carriepellerin.com  / pizza: magazinec.com / western BBQ: rusticweddingchic.com / beach: southernweddings.com / winery: lover.ly.com / beer: stylemepretty.com / golf: weddingfavorsunlimited.com / fiesta: stylemepretty.com / italian: annsbridalbargains.com