A rehearsal dinner, or groom’s dinner, is traditionally held the night before a wedding, following the rehearsal if there is one. Historically the groom’s parents host it, though many couples today choose to host it themselves. There isn’t a lot of rehearsal dinner etiquette to worry about, but there are a few things to include and a few others to strive for.
A fun, informal affair, the rehearsal dinner gives both families and all the members of the wedding party a chance to get to know each other before the formal event. Wedding guests who have traveled from out of town may also be invited. Making everyone feel comfortable is the key to a successful rehearsal dinner. Usually this starts with the hosts, welcoming everyone to the wedding, and the bride into their family. The bride’s parents may make a toast as well, and often the microphone is turned over to friends and family members who won’t be making formal toasts the following evening. This can be a very memorable part of the evening.
One final piece of rehearsal dinner etiquette suggests that the bride and groom thank the members of their wedding party at some point during the evening. Many couples choose to thank them with gifts, and the rehearsal dinner is a good time to present these. Some families choose to top off the meal by serving a groom’s cake, one that reflects the groom’s background or tastes.