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Rehearsal Dinner Planning

June 8, 2011

With my big fat brudder’s wedding in t-minus 3 days, I would like to give some tips for planning a proper Rehearsal Dinner as we’re expecting about 100 people for the big event.

First and foremost, the groom’s family typically throws the Rehearsal Dinner. Since the MOG (Mother of the Groom) is no longer with us, my dad put me in charge. Why he would put a lunatic who frequently cries over her own wedding album while wearing her big white dress, shoes and veil, I don’t know. Luckily, my mom taught me all there is to know about organizing a big party in which I will defer to the acronym P.O.O.P. – PLAN. ORGANIZE. OFFICIATE. and PARTY. I came up with it myself. Your inner elementary kid giggled. Didn’t she?

The key to a great party is planning, organizing and officiating so you can ultimately and fully enjoy the party.

1. Pick a venue as soon as the bride and groom have set the date and picked the venue for the wedding. Book said venue.

2. Book a caterer especially if it is busy wedding season. Create a theme. Build a menu.

3. Now, we go all out for Rehearsal Dinners so we also booked a DJ. Some people host casual, small gatherings at restaurants. We. do. not. We go big or go home. If you’re going big or going home, make sure the Rehearsal Dinner doesn’t outdo the wedding i.e. don’t spend as much on the RD as you would the wedding.

4. The invite list typically includes the wedding party and families of the bride and groom.  However, in my humble opinion, if you have people flying in from all over the country, invite ’em. The more, the merrier. You would be surprised how you can stretch a budget especially if you throw the party at your own house. We had ours in a garage for Pete’s sake.

… Who is that Pete, anyway?

5. Send the invitations a couple weeks after the bride has sent the wedding invites.

6. The RD is a great opportunity to have a groom’s cake. In my opinion (yet again), having a groom’s cake at the wedding is confusing. The wedding cake is not the bride’s cake. It is the couple’s cake so why do you need a separate groom’s cake? As a guest, which one do you eat? The groom’s cake or the wedding cake? Or both? The wedding cake is supposed to be one of the primary focal points of the entire wedding, you don’t want the little strawberries with chocolate tuxedos stealing its thunder so serve up those cute lil’ strawberries at the Rehearsal Dinner.

6. Create a timeline of activities in advance so the event runs smoothly.


    • 4:00 Set up Rehearsal Dinner
    • 5:00 Rehearsal at Church (Only Wedding Party)
    • 6:30 RD Happy Hour
    • 7:30 Blessing and Dinner
    • 8:00 Speeches begin
    • 8:15 Slideshow
    • 8:30 Dancing
    • 10:15 Last Call
    • 10:30 Pack it up

7. Assign speakers in advance so they can prepare a short, to-the-point funny speech. We went to a Rehearsal Dinner and the friends went ON and ON and ON. By the time they were finished speaking, I had ten great grandchildren and the ‘Puter Hub grew a mustache the size of Alaska.

8. Officiate by delegating responsibilities to friends and family members like decorations, visiting the site if they live in that town, bringing the party planner cocktails, etc.

9. Dress the part. Here’s a snapshot of how my sister and I virtually shop with one another via text message.

8. Last but certainly not least, have a good time and make sure the happy couple doesn’t get sloshed before their big day.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2011 4:01 pm

    hope everyone has the same great time at russell’s and laura’s RD as they had at yours, evie!
    what is on the menu? will you post pics?

    best to the happy couple!

  2. Alice permalink
    June 8, 2011 5:54 pm

    Those mirrors don’t make me look very flattering. . .or those dressing rooms are too small.

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