Party Rock: Your Guide to Pre-Wedding Festivities

Here's the scoop on engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and more!

The Rehearsal Dinner

wedding cake cupcakes

Photo credit: Jessica Claire

What it is: Most couples have a wedding rehearsal, where bridal-party members and parents (and grandparents) of the bride and groom gather together to practice their roles in the ceremony. Afterward, there’s often a dinner to celebrate with those VIPs.

Who hosts: “Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is hosted by the groom’s family,” says Bussen. “But these days, some couples prefer to host this dinner themselves or to have both sets of parents co-host.”

Who attends: “In the past, this was just the bridal party and the immediate families of the bride and groom,” says Bussen. “But now some people include out-of-town guests as well, since these folks may have come a long way to be with you on your wedding day.”

Why have it: You’ll have your nearest and dearest with you to celebrate more intimately than you likely will on your wedding day. Often, the rehearsal dinner is filled with speeches and toasts from family members and friends, and the bride and groom present presents to the wedding party members and parents, thanking them for their help.

When to do it: Usually the night before the wedding, or two nights before the wedding, directly after the rehearsal. If you’re not having a rehearsal, it’s okay to still have a rehearsal dinner. You might want to call it a “welcome dinner.”

Good to know: If it’s the day before the wedding, best not to plan this party to take place too late at night, since most people will want to be well-rested for the wedding. Consider hiring a photographer to come to this bash, since it’s often a very meaningful event.