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Wedding Rehearsal Dinner 101

Counting down the days until you get hitched? While we know the actual wedding is your focus, the rehearsal dinner is just as important, as it sets up the success of the weekend. Make sure your rehearsal dinner goes off without a hitch with our wedding rehearsal dinner guide!

Decide Who’s Hosting

First things first, decide who is hosting the dinner. Traditionally the bride’s family pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, but if you are bucking tradition make sure to have a firm decision on who is paying for the dinner before getting started with anything else.

Creating the Guest List

The guest list for the rehearsal dinner usually includes close family members and anyone who is participating in the wedding ceremony. If you have out of town guests, it is also polite to include them in the pre-wedding festivities. Try to keep the list as concise as possible, you don’t want to blow your budget on the rehearsal dinner!

Timing is Everything

While traditionally weddings are held on a weekend, the rehearsal dinner is held the evening prior, typically on a Friday night. Regardless of what day of the week you are hosting your wedding, it is best if the dinner takes place the night before. Or if you have a Sunday wedding, hosting the rehearsal dinner on Friday night will give others time to relax before the big day. Typically, it is usually better to hold the ceremony rehearsal first and then dinner afterward.


Ideally, your rehearsal dinner should be held within 30 minutes of where your guests are staying. Even better, is to host the dinner at the same location where your guests are staying and where you are holding the wedding ceremony. Luckily Elkins Resort can help plan your wedding and cater your rehearsal dinner on our property for your convenience.

Gifts for the Wedding Party

Use the time during the rehearsal dinner to hand out the gifts for the wedding party, especially if the gifts are to be used during the wedding.

Show Appreciation

Let’s face it, the wedding day can be hectic, and you can’t be all things to all people. So, the rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to highlight your appreciation for those in your life, like your Mother-in-Law, or bridesmaids and groomsmen, even your significant other! Bride and Groom should be prepared to publicly make a speech during the dinner, so this is a great time to thank those you are appreciative of.

Get-to-Know Each Other

Most likely everyone at the rehearsal dinner does not know each other. So, help speed along the get-to-know each other process by planning a fun game like a murder mystery or a lively activity like karaoke to help spark conversation and comradery. Having a fun way to break the ice will help to make your guests feel more at ease and have fun the day of the wedding.

Last Minute Reminders

Before the evening comes to an end, take a second and make any special announcements about the wedding day. While you have everyone’s attention, take the opportunity to remind them of any changes or things that they need to know about regarding the big day.

Weddings in Idaho are beautiful and to make sure you’ve planned the most special day contact Elkins Resort to start planning your big day with us!