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Vika
Curious October 2021 Ontario

Rehearsal Dinner - Should We Have One?

Vika, on May 29, 2019 at 11:14 Posted in Before the wedding 0 30
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Hi WeddingWire Community!

My fiance and I are not sure about having a rehearsal dinner or not. To us, it just seems like an additional expense. Can anyone provide insight into what the purpose of a rehearsal dinner is, and advise whether or not we should have one?

Thank you!

30 Comments

Latest activity by Shyrelle, on June 11, 2019 at 15:12
  • S
    Curious August 2020 Alberta
    Shyrelle ·
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    We're doing decorating, rehearsal (make sure I have an idea where I'm walking), caterors bringing stuff in, all in one the night before but we'll just have a few bags of chips to snack while setting up.
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  • A
    Devoted October 2019 Ontario
    Amanda ·
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    As long as grandma's health gets better, yes she wants the first and last dance. Lol Bless her heart, she is so sweet and I dont want to upset her, but sorry.. I get at least the first dance that night, she can have him the rest. Ha ha
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  • Deziray
    Curious August 2019 Ontario
    Deziray ·
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    We are doing a rehearsal dinner because we are getting close family and the wedding party to help set up the night before. We will go set everything up and then come back to our place for burgers.
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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    That's a nice reason to have a rehearsal dinner! Had I not met most of FH's OOT family already, I'd definitely put that as a good reason to have one.

    Please tell me grandma doesn't expect to have the first dance with your soon-to-be husband? LOL

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  • Stephanie
    VIP May 2019 Ontario
    Stephanie ·
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    Honestly! We did our rehersal at the church and then rented a room out at the church and ordered in pizza and had some drinks (pops and water) it was PERFECT! Cheap! Everyone ate and we got out at a great time because it was the night before the wedding and I wanted to sleep hahah!!
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  • Michelle
    Frequent user August 2019 Alberta
    Michelle ·
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    I'd say nowadays, it is a big additional expense. But I've seen a lot of people find ways to do it more affordably- a BBQ in their backyard or picnic. We are having one at a restaurant (because my house doesn't have the space and there were no other alternatives), and it's going to cost a pretty penny. But the groom's father provided us with money to pay for it, as that's what's 'traditionally' done. In talking with quite a few people on this subject, it seems pretty common nowadays that those attending the rehearsal dinner pay for themselves fully, or partially. I didn't want to do this since 90% of the people at my rehearsal are travelling across country for me... so it's just an additional way that we're able to say thank you to them and spend some more quality time with them, considering we only see them once or twice a year, if that.

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  • Liana
    Curious June 2021 Ontario
    Liana ·
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    I'm dabbling with the same question. Right now, I am leaning towards hosting an informal bbq as the rehearsal dinner.

    For myself, our wedding party and family will be taking photos before the ceremony (at 5 pm). I think we will have enough time to get oriented with the venue by then.

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  • Kat D
    Frequent user April 2021 Manitoba
    Kat D ·
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    Traditionally the bride’s family would pay for the wedding and the groom’s parents would host & pay for the rehearsal dinner. Most people nowadays pay for their own weddings so that throws that tradition out the window. For my sister-in-law’s wedding we had chicken wings & watched movies with the couple, her mom & the wedding party. It doesn’t need to be a fancy dinner, just something nice to hang out with your people and chill out and decompress before your big day.
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  • A
    Devoted October 2019 Ontario
    Amanda ·
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    We are toying with the idea of having a BBQ at the future inlaws with just his side of the family as most are out of province. Plus I don't want the day of the wedding to be the first time I meet them. Some I already have, but not all. Plus have to tell his grandmother... I get the first dance this time. ha ha.

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  • Kelly
    Devoted May 2020 Ontario
    Kelly ·
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    I find rehearsal dinners to be great and totally worth it! This gives you two a chance to be with your closest family and friends the day before your wedding and share any additional information they may need, as well as celebrating in a more intimate space!
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  • Sarah
    Expert August 2021 British Columbia
    Sarah ·
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    I’m not doing a rehearsal dinner.I’m also opting out of exchanging gifts with my future hubby and our wedding party.I will likely have a BBQ a few days before the wedding but just as a get together to calm our nerves.
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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    We're having a rehearsal dinner but that's just because there will be several out-of-town guests and it's the "right" thing to do, and by "right" I mean "polite".

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  • Melissa
    Devoted May 2019 Alberta
    Melissa ·
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    We had a rehearsal dinner, but ONLY because we were all staying at a resort and it gave all the guests a chance to meet and mingle. We also used it as an opportunity to tell everyone when and where to be the day of. We only had 26 guests, so it was an easy dinner to coordinate. If we were at home, we probably wouldn't have had a rehearsal dinner though. I definitely DO NOT think they are mandatory.

    Good luck!

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  • Candace
    VIP May 2019 Ontario
    Candace ·
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    I think they are more of a courtesy. We gave everyone in our wedding party a small gift at the rehearsal dinner and same with the parents. We did our bride/groom gift exchange the day of the wedding about half hour before the ceremony. Otherwise we didn’t do any gifts when asking the groomsmen to be in the wedding and the bridesmaids only got the getting ready robe and a candle when I asked them to be the in the wedding. Smiley smile
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  • Vika
    Curious October 2021 Ontario
    Vika ·
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    Thank you everyone for your input - I really appreciate all the advice! Smiley smile

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  • Vika
    Curious October 2021 Ontario
    Vika ·
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    Thanks for the reply! I'm curious about your mentioning of a gift - are gifts necessary for this sort of thing, or are they more of a courtesy? I find that so many elements of the planning involve gifts - like bridesmaid proposal gifts, groomsmen proposal gifts, gifts to the parents of the groom, a "groom gift" the day of (?) etc. How much of these gifts did you use over the course of your wedding planning?

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  • Vika
    Curious October 2021 Ontario
    Vika ·
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    Haha, I love the idea of combining your rehearsal with a family BBQ and a chance to get help with the wedding DIY! Good tip! May have to make a backyard bbq/DIY evening!

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  • Vika
    Curious October 2021 Ontario
    Vika ·
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    Thanks! I agree that the dinner isn't something we feel inclined to have at a formal level at least. Our families have met already, so beyond a run-through of the logistics I'm leaning toward not doing a formal dinner - but rather something casual Smiley smile

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  • Veronica
    Super October 2021 Alberta
    Veronica ·
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    We are for sure having a rehearsal the evening before, just so everyone in the bridal party and parents know what is up. But we intend for it to be casual, backyard bbq and possibly recruiting some DIY and such haha. So very casual. I think its important though.

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  • Becky
    VIP September 2019 Ontario
    Becky ·
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    What my plan is because we don't really want the extra expense- we are setting up all day friday- asking people to do potluck and eat it at the place where setting up because has kitchen access. Then once done we have the rehearsal of ceremony at the church for 7pm. Rehearsal is honestly supposed to be so people know schedule of next day and were to be, what to do and when to do it. You don't need a dinner!

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  • Janaya
    Expert August 2019 Saskatchewan
    Janaya ·
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    After the church rehearsal , We aren't planning to have a dinner! we might all go grab ice cream or something but there won't be any formal event for this. I'd rather just head home and relax as much as possible and prep for the next day

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  • Candace
    VIP May 2019 Ontario
    Candace ·
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    Right before the rehearsal dinner we had a run through of the ceremony. It’s a good thing we did cause some of the wedding party had no idea where to stand. We were hesitant to do the rehearsal dinner because of the expense but we are so glad we did. It allowed our parents to meet again and it allowed them to get to know our wedding party as well. A few people made a little speech, we gave everyone a gift and we had a great night. If you can work it into the budget I think it’s well worth it!
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  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
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    The day before I had the wedding party come out in the afternoon to go through the rehearsal run quickly seeing the set up and who stands where. The flower kids stepped to the side before heading to the altar.

    The same evening, my parents hosted the Welcome dinner if that does work rather than Rehearsal wording. Families and wedding party were the only ones attended at the restaurant.

    You don't have to go with the dinner option if the budget seems expensive and unneeded which was specified as you said.

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  • Allison
    Master October 2019 Ontario
    Allison ·
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    It's more for the rehearsal - to go other everyone's role in the wedding. The dinner adds a social aspect to it, which is nice especially if people haven't met yet. It definitely does not need to be fancy!! If someone has a big-enough backyard, you could do it there and cook up some BBQ or order some pizzas.

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  • Valérie
    VIP September 2019 Quebec
    Valérie ·
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    Traditionally, rehearsal dinners are hosted by the parents of the Groom and you would invite your out-of-town guests. They don't have to be expensive or fancy. Most people today just opt for a BBQ or potluck in someone's backyard.

    My FMIL approached us wanting to host it at their place. We want to keep it casual and chill, since it will be a couple of days before the wedding. We'll have a potluck-style BBQ with our close family and maybe our out-of-town guests.

    Though not mandatory, I think it's just a nice way to break the ice and tension before the big day.

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  • Amanda
    Super June 2019 Ontario
    Amanda ·
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    You don't have to have a dinner at all but you should do a rehearsal so you can all do a run through to kinda practice for the day of. It's also nice to have both families meet if they haven't already.

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  • Casey
    Master October 2019 Ontario
    Casey ·
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    Like the other ladies have said, you do not necessarily need to have the "dinner" part of the rehearsal. You can make it whatever you want. The main goal is to go over the ceremony with your officiant to make sure things run smoothly the next day.

    We are doing the rehearsal, and then will most likely just be going to one of our parents house for dinner. This also gives everyone a chance to meet before the wedding. My sister and her family live in Australia, so not many of my FH's family have met her, so it will give them a chance to do that.

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  • Tori
    Top October 2019 Manitoba
    Tori ·
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    It's mostly for just rehearsing the walking down the aisle and in what order - to get the timing all correct.

    The dinner part is just because they go hand in hand. Nothing to do with the food you will be eating on the wedding, just a chance for everybody to meet if they haven't already (like for example - my parents haven't met my FH's groomsmen).

    If you are not wanting to do one I would say it helps to at least do the rehearsal but dinner can be skipped.

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  • Vika
    Curious October 2021 Ontario
    Vika ·
    • Dispute

    Thanks! So it's more like Rehearsal and Dinner. As in, we are not also rehearsing the food we will be eating for the actual wedding, etc.? I definitely think the rehearsal part for the ceremony is important, but wasn't sure how the dinner had to be incorporated into it.

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  • Kristine
    Frequent user October 2017 Ontario
    Kristine ·
    • Dispute
    We had a rehearsal dinner.

    The first part was the actual rehearsal with our pastor where everybody did the walk down the aisle and figured out where to stand.

    And afterwards we went bowling! There was a boutique bowling alley nearby and they have an enclosed private room with 6 lanes. We booked 4 hours in the room (2 hours of bowling) and had them cater the food. We just did finger foods (pizza, veggies, fruit, bite size appetizers)
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