Hello rehearsal dinner week loving friends!  Today we are talking style.  There are so many different things that you can do with your rehearsal dinner.  The options are endless.  To help you pick a style and narrow down your choices, we have Washington, DC wedding planner extraordinaire, Sara, owner of Bella Notte. Take it away Sara:

Invitations designed by LilyPad Weddings

I think I get more questions about the rehearsal dinner than any other wedding related event (the wedding itself excluded, of course!).  It’s not surprising, given that what was once a smaller dinner with immediate family, the members of the wedding party, and a few out of town guests now often serves as a wedding weekend kick-off event.  I’ve found that most couples find one of the following formats works well for their rehearsal dinner.

Keeping it Small
Some people chose to stick with tradition and limit the rehearsal dinner to the people who actually, you know, rehearse.  Typically this includes the members of the wedding party and their families, the couples’ immediate family and often a few important extended family members, such as grandparents.  Keeping the rehearsal dinner on the smaller side allows for your wedding weekend to begin with a very intimate gathering with some of the people most special to you.

Cocktails for Everyone
Many couples find that a good number of their friends and family are traveling from out of town to attend the wedding and want to plan an event that includes these guests.  If a small dinner is still appealing (due to either personal preference or budget) we’ll often plan a cocktail reception to follow the rehearsal dinner.  We typically arrange for this to occur near the rehearsal dinner or at the primary guest hotel.  Cocktails may include all of the wedding guests or simply all of the out of town guests, but either way it provides an opportunity for the couple to maintain an intimate dinner yet still socialize with a large number of guests.


Invitations designed by LilyPad Weddings

The Big Dinner
Some people want their rehearsal dinner to serve as a large kick-off event to the wedding weekend and do this by inviting all the guests to the rehearsal dinner. This dinner may be a formal seated affair or it may be a more casual barbeque, depending on the couple.  No matter the setting, hosting everyone for the rehearsal dinner allows all of your friends and family to reconnect (or meet each other for the first time!) and enjoy themselves together prior to the wedding itself.

No matter what approach you choose for your rehearsal dinner, once you get to the dinner the most important thing to do is appreciate that your loved ones have gathered to celebrate with you and enjoy yourselves!


Thank you so much, Sara!  For more from Bella Notte, be sure to check out her website.

Don’t go away, just yet.  We have a few more rehearsal dinner week posts coming your way to round out this holiday week.  In the meantime, you can check out our inspiration galleries or find even more advice in our tips page

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