What Is a Rehearsal Dinner?

Whether you are planning your wedding or planning on attending a wedding, the rehearsal dinner can leave some of us with questions.

  • What is a rehearsal dinner?
  • Where is it?
  • When is the wedding rehearsal dinner?
  • What do I wear to a rehearsal dinner?

Wedding rehearsals are an important part of the wedding planning process. It is the practice round that makes sure you and everyone else in the wedding party are on their A-game. The rehearsal dinner comes after the wedding rehearsal. This is the pre-party that starts off the wedding weekend.

The rehearsal dinner is the chance that the families of the bride and groom get to spend time together before the actual wedding day.

Breakdown Of The Rehearsal Dinner

Here are the key moments of the rehearsal dinner:


The dinner portion is exactly what it sounds like. You have dinner with the immediate families and the wedding party. Some couples invite some of their guests as well. It is essentially a pre-wedding dinner party.


At the rehearsal dinner, you have the opportunity to give your wedding party and parents their gifts. Since it is usually a smaller group than at your wedding, it is a better time to distribute the presents.


Whoever is hosting your rehearsal dinner with often start off the toasts. Then, it is usually followed by one of the soon-to-be spouses, who will toast their friends and family. This can also be a chance for the couple to stand up together and give a toast to the entire group.

This can also be a way to cut down speech time at the actual wedding. You can leave time slots for toasts at your rehearsal so there is more free time at your actual wedding.


You can’t have dinner without dessert. Well, you can but it just isn’t the same. Traditionally, the groom’s cake is served at the rehearsal dinner. However, you can serve whatever you want.

Who Is Invited To A Rehearsal Dinner?

When it comes to who is invited to a rehearsal dinner, expect to see the immediate family and bridal party. This is the post-wedding rehearsal celebration and pre-wedding kick-off party. Some couples will invite guests who aren’t part of the wedding party. It is often a tight-knit group that goes to the rehearsal dinner.

When Is The Rehearsal Dinner?

It is most common to have the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding day. It is a good time to refresh everyone on the wedding schedule and celebrate the beginning of an amazing weekend. Some couples choose to have the rehearsal a few days before the wedding, especially if they want to reduce any stress from the wedding.

What Do You Wear To A Wedding Rehearsal Dinner As a guest?

The dress code for a wedding rehearsal dinner usually depends on the venue of the dinner. Generally, the rehearsal dinner is less formal than the wedding.

If you are unsure of what to wear, look at the wedding invitations. This is usually where you will find all the necessary information. Knowing the venue beforehand helps when deciding what to wear.

Going with cocktail attire is usually the best bet at a rehearsal dinner. It will be less formal than the wedding but is still a good time to show off some style.

Related Read – What To Wear To A Wedding

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