Bridgette’s Pick of the Week: Simplify Your Rehearsal Dinner

Oh What a Night: Scenes from my wedding welcome meet & greet pizza party and partying the night before jumping the broom!

Chances are you’ve come across one of the many elaborate rehearsal dinners covered on the Web (Hello, Pinterest!). Some of these rehearsal dinners are fancier than my wedding was for Pete’s sake. If you have the time, energy, money/resources and desire to host an affair like this or this, then go for it. Otherwise, I suggest you check out my cheat sheet below. Heck, even if you’re planning a wedding with Bill Gates money you’ll find these tips valuable because on the eve of your wedding day, anything that will help you stress less is a plus. 

DO ensure you’re on the same page with all those involved in the planning process. Traditionally the groom’s family is responsible for the rehearsal dinner. In modern times, this is changing. Regardless of who is doing what, communication is key. In many cases, this is the first time two families are merging together for an event and expectations can vary greatly. Be vocal in the planning stages but always respectful of course.

DO realize that if someone else is footing the bill you might not have the rehearsal dinner of your dreams. Bottom line, if your future in-laws are picking up the tab then for the most part you should zip it. Unless you’re being asked to do, wear or say something that is against your morals, suck it up and smile. Newsflash: You will likely make similiar sacrifices throughout your marriage as well.

DO wear a flirty dress, sexy jumpsuit or show off a new pair of heels. Since Mr. TK and I had such a jam-packed day on the eve of our wedding, I didn’t get a chance to change clothes between the actual rehearsal at the Gantt Center and our rehearsal “dinner” as planned. I did however change before we went dancing later that night. My point? The weekend will fly by so those bangin’ heels, dress or even lipstick you’ve been saving for a special occasion? This is the time to wear ’em, honey.

DO write a list of people you want to thank or acknowledge. While it is a good idea to minimize speeches for your wedding reception; the night before go all out! You’ll be on an emotional roller coaster so don’t underestimate the possibility of forgetting key things. Mr. TK and I wanted to publicly thank our wedding party and I planned to give a speech about my big bro but we both forgot.

DON’T wait until the last minute to do…anything. I cannot stress how quickly your wedding weekend will be so anything that you can do ahead of time should be done ahead of time. It is just that simple. Once your loved ones begin arriving you and your fiance will be asked to take pics every ten minutes and your phone will go off every fifteen minutes.

DON’T assume you cannot afford a welcome gathering for your wedding guests. Although this event is commonly referred to as a dinner, you can remix it however you want. Don’t let Pinterest intimidate you! Mr. TK and I wanted to bring a bit of New York City to the Queen City (aka Charlotte, NC) so we had a pizza party meet and greet. New Yorkers are serious about their pizza and we’re no exception. In addition to pizza we served an easy salad and beverages (Cocktails were on deck, too!). It was simple but heartfelt. We saved money by having everyone come to my hotel suite for the gathering to avoid the cost of renting another space. We were packed in (literally) and it was hot but there was an abundance of love present and that’s ultimately what Mr. TK and I wanted. You can be even more frugal (hindsight is 20/20) by having a meet and greet with coffee, tea and pastries. That way your guests don’t expect to be fed a meal but you’re still being hospitable and welcoming them to your wedding celebration with open arms.

This pretty pound cake was gifted to Mr. TK and me by Glorgeous Cakes of Charlotte, NC for our rehearsal meet & greet. It was so yummy!

Are you planning to host a rehearsal dinner before your wedding day? What was the most memorable rehearsal dinner you’ve attended? Tell me about it! Your comments could help a fellow planning bride.

P.S. – This post was written primarily with those in mind who are getting married during a weekend. But you savvy brides planning to tie the knot on a weekday should weigh in, too!

Find Glorgeous Cakes on Instagram!

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  1. Great tips! My cousin is planning to have her rehearsal dinner at her in-laws home. I think that is a very nice, not to mention cost effective, idea too.

  2. Thanks for the tips :) see I’m currently planning a destination wedding and thinking about having a rehearsal/welcome dinner, yes I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone. Only problem is that although my fiancé and I are paying for everything seems like everybody and their mother want to put their two cents about the decisions that I’m making. Why does it have to be sooooooooo stressful?! =s

  3. Good tips! I really like the idea of a pizza party. You should show us more pics. It’s nice to see how real people with real budgets pull off rehearsal dinners that are pretty and creative but still affordable. Nothing against sites like Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake and The Knot but sometimes I feel like the things they feature don’t work for most working people.

  4. Although I had to leave early, the suite was teeming with love and happiness. The intimacy ruled!

  5. Oh and your lashes look AMAZING girl! LOL

  6. Hats off to you lady!!!You pulled it off, the remix of a rehearsal dinner worked , it was sooooo crowded in that place to say the least but you could feel the love in there. You followed your gut that everything would work out and it did.

  7. So did you have a Pizza Party themed rehearsal dinner!!!! I’m thinking that might be a cool Idea for my Fiance and I because we love pizza!!!! But would that be too informal???

  8. I’m glad these tips are well received.

    @Christina – Entertaining at home is rarely a miss. There’s a warmth and comfort level there that you typically don’t have at a restaurant or hall. Mr. TK and I considered hosting the meet and greet at my mother’s house but it was a little too far from where most of our guests were staying.

    @PNEGRAB – What?! You’re planning a wedding and everyone is giving you unsolicited advice??? LOL, welcome to wedding planning 101. Just thank them as gracefully as possible and do want you and your fiance ultimately want to do since you guys are financing it yourselves.

    @Andrea – Thanks much for your comment and the lashes kudos. I’ll see what other pics I can gather…

    @SD & Anon – ;-)

    @Andrea C. – Yep, I totally had a pizza party themed rehearsal dinner. Was it too informal? I dunno know but it was what we wanted, in our budget and our guests seemed to enjoy themselves. That’s all we cared about, really. Again, I suggest couples remix the affair however they see fit.

  9. The women at my church made lasagne and homemade chicken pot pie and served in the reception hall at the church after the rehearsal…easy peasy….everyone just walked through the breezeway to the church…

  10. to the reception hall after the rehearsal…should be…

  11. Thanks for sharing many of your tips. The two of you make a beautiful couple.

  12. @Jackie – Good stuff.

    @Michelle – You’re certainly welcome and thank you so much for the lovely compliment.

  13. I just loved the pictures! I’m so glad everything worked in your favor – how blessed you are.

  14. Whew! Thanks for the tips! We are planning our wedding and I cannot see how to make this rehearsal dinner a thing. The cost…the number of guests…and the general idea that it will be during a holiday is just making my brain explode. I’ll share this with the Mr. and pray we can find an inexpensive and classy way to make it work!

  15. Soooooooo his grandmother is paying for the rehearsal dinner. There is a lounge/restaurant in the hotel and that’s where we plan to have our rehearsal dinner. Very informal but convenient! We selected items off of their main menu and created out own menu and the guest will choose from that what they want. Items on the menu range from $8-$18 and $50 to reserve the party room! We love it!

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