Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette: Who Pays?

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Originally posted on May 9, 2023 @ 6:07 pm

When it comes to wedding planning, the rehearsal dinner is an important event that brings together the couple, their families, and bridal party. However, one question that often arises is who pays for the rehearsal dinner? In this article, we will discuss rehearsal dinner etiquette and the traditional practices surrounding who foots the bill for this pre-wedding celebration.

The Tradition of Rehearsal Dinners

A rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding celebration that takes place after the wedding rehearsal, usually the night before the wedding. It is a chance for the wedding party, family members, and close friends to gather and celebrate the upcoming nuptials. The rehearsal dinner is often seen as a more casual and intimate event compared to the wedding reception.

Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?

Traditionally, the groom’s family is responsible for paying for the rehearsal dinner. This is because the rehearsal dinner is seen as a way for the groom’s family to thank the wedding party and the bride’s family for their support and contributions to the wedding. However, in modern times, the responsibility for paying for the rehearsal dinner is often split between the two families or taken on by the couple themselves.

Key Takeaway: Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, but in modern times, the cost is often split or taken on by the couple themselves. Proper etiquette for the rehearsal dinner includes sending separate invitations, planning seating arrangements in advance, and having toasts and speeches. Gifts are not required, but can be a nice gesture to show appreciation for support and contributions to the wedding.

Splitting the Cost

If both families agree to split the cost of the rehearsal dinner, it is important to establish a budget and plan ahead. This can help avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements down the line. It is also important to communicate clearly about who will be invited to the rehearsal dinner, as this can affect the cost.

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Couple-Funded Rehearsal Dinner

In some cases, the couple may choose to pay for the rehearsal dinner themselves. This can be a more practical option if the families are unable or unwilling to contribute. It is important for the couple to establish a budget and plan ahead to ensure that they are not overspending on the rehearsal dinner.

Etiquette for the Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is often seen as a more casual and intimate event compared to the wedding reception. However, there are still some etiquette guidelines that should be followed to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and included.

Invitations

The invitations for the rehearsal dinner should be sent out separately from the wedding invitations. This allows for more flexibility in terms of who is invited to the rehearsal dinner. The invitations should include all the necessary information, including the date, time, location, dress code, and any special instructions.

Seating Arrangements

Seating arrangements for the rehearsal dinner should be planned in advance. The bride and groom should sit at the head of the table, with the parents and immediate family members seated closest to them. The rest of the wedding party and guests can be seated according to their relationships and preferences.

Toasts and Speeches

Toasts and speeches are an important part of the rehearsal dinner. The groom’s father traditionally gives the first toast, followed by the bride’s father and the groom himself. Other members of the wedding party and close friends may also give toasts or speeches.

Gifts

Gifts are not required at the rehearsal dinner, but they are a nice gesture. The bride and groom may choose to give gifts to their parents and wedding party as a way of saying thank you for their support and contributions to the wedding.

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FAQs: Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette Who Pays

Who traditionally pays for the rehearsal dinner?

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. This is because the bride’s family typically covers the cost of the wedding ceremony and reception. However, in the modern era, many couples choose to split the cost of the rehearsal dinner or even pay for it themselves. It is important to discuss this with both families and the couple to determine who will take on the cost.

Do the parents of the groom alone have to pay for the dinner?

While the parents of the groom traditionally pay for the rehearsal dinner, it does not mean they have to cover the entire cost themselves. It is perfectly acceptable for both families to contribute, or even for the couple to pay. Ultimately, what is most important is that everyone involved feels comfortable with and supportive of the chosen arrangements.

What should be included in the rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is typically a more intimate event than the wedding reception, and therefore, the menu and decor should reflect this. It can range from a casual dinner at a restaurant to a formal affair at a private venue. It is important to consider the preferences and dietary restrictions of the guests to ensure that everyone feels included and comfortable.

How should we invite guests to the rehearsal dinner?

It is important to make sure that guests understand the rehearsal dinner is a separate event and not part of the wedding invitation. Invitations should be sent out a few weeks in advance, and include date, time, location, dress code (if applicable) and any other relevant details. It is best to include a RSVP deadline so that you can plan accordingly.

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Should we invite everyone who attended the rehearsal to the dinner?

It is up to the hosts and the couple to decide which guests to invite to the rehearsal dinner. Typically, it includes immediate family members, members of the wedding party, and close friends. However, it is not uncommon to include out-of-town guests or other close family members as well. It is important to consider the size and budget of the event when making these decisions and to make sure that everyone who is invited is informed of the details ahead of time.

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