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What is the dinner the night before a wedding called?

Weddings are full of traditions, and one of the most important pre-wedding rituals is the rehearsal dinner. It is a chance for the bride, groom, wedding party, and family to gather before the big day. But, what exactly is a rehearsal dinner, and why is it so important?

In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the rehearsal dinner, from its origins to its modern-day incarnation. We’ll also give you some tips on how to plan and host the perfect rehearsal dinner for your special day.

What is a Rehearsal Dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding tradition that takes place the night before the wedding. It is typically a dinner or cocktail party that brings together the wedding party, close family members, and sometimes out-of-town guests. During the rehearsal dinner, guests toast the couple-to-be, share stories, and offer words of advice and encouragement.

The rehearsal dinner gets its name from the rehearsal that takes place before the dinner. The wedding party and anyone involved in the ceremony, such as the officiant, practice the ceremony to ensure everything goes smoothly on the big day. Once the rehearsal is over, everyone heads to the dinner to celebrate.

History of the Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner has a long history that dates back centuries. It started as a simple gathering of the wedding party the night before the wedding as a way to ensure everyone knew their roles and responsibilities. In medieval times, the groom’s family hosted a feast for the wedding party and close friends.

As weddings became more elaborate affairs, the rehearsal dinner evolved into a more formal event. In the late 19th century, it became customary for the bride’s family to host the rehearsal dinner, and it was often held in the bride’s home. By the mid-20th century, it became common for the groom’s family to host the rehearsal dinner, and it was held in a restaurant or banquet hall.

Today, the rehearsal dinner is an important pre-wedding event that brings together the wedding party, close family members, and sometimes out-of-town guests. It is an opportunity to relax and have fun before the big day.

Who is Invited to the Rehearsal Dinner?

The rehearsal dinner guest list typically includes the wedding party and their respective spouses or dates, the parents of the bride and groom, and any close family members or out-of-town guests. The officiant, wedding planners, and any vendors who will be involved in the ceremony or reception are also usually invited.

The guest list for the rehearsal dinner is usually more intimate than the wedding itself. It is a chance to spend time with those who are closest to you and who will be playing a significant role in your wedding day.

What Happens at a Rehearsal Dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is usually a more casual affair than the wedding itself. It can be a sit-down dinner, a buffet, or even a cocktail party. The focus should be on relaxing, having fun, and spending time with loved ones.

Typically, the host of the rehearsal dinner will give a toast to the couple-to-be, and others may offer words of advice or share stories about the couple. The couple may also exchange gifts with the wedding party or family members.

Another common tradition is giving gifts to the wedding party as a thank-you for their support and participation. These gifts can be anything from personalized robes to engraved cufflinks.

Planning and Hosting a Rehearsal Dinner

If you are the bride or groom, it is usually the responsibility of the groom’s family to plan and host the rehearsal dinner. However, more and more couples are choosing to host the rehearsal dinner themselves, especially if they have a specific vision for the event.

When planning the rehearsal dinner, the first step is to set a budget. The cost of the rehearsal dinner can vary widely depending on the location, food, and number of guests. Once you have an idea of your budget, you can start looking for a venue and selecting a menu.

When it comes to the menu, opt for dishes that are easy to eat and won’t require a lot of fuss. This will allow everyone to relax and enjoy the evening without worrying about complicated table settings or formalities. Consider options like a barbecue, a buffet of small plates, or a taco bar.

You can also incorporate your wedding theme into the rehearsal dinner decor. This is a great opportunity to show off your personalities and add some fun touches to the event. If you’re having a beach wedding, for example, consider a tropical theme for the rehearsal dinner.


The rehearsal dinner is an important tradition that brings together loved ones before the big day. Whether you choose a sit-down dinner or a casual cocktail party, the focus should be on enjoying each other’s company and unwinding before the excitement of the wedding day.

By planning and hosting a thoughtful rehearsal dinner, you’ll not only create lasting memories but also set the tone for a memorable and successful wedding day.


What is another name for the rehearsal dinner?

Another name for the rehearsal dinner is the Groom’s Dinner. Both names refer to a pre-wedding event that typically takes place the night before the wedding. It is a time when the wedding party, family members, and other close friends of the couple gather together to enjoy a meal and socialize before the big day. The rehearsal dinner is usually held after the wedding rehearsal, giving everyone a chance to practice the wedding ceremony and make sure everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing during the wedding.

The Groom’s Dinner is called so because historically, it was traditionally hosted and paid for by the groom’s family. In contrast, the rehearsal dinner was hosted and paid for by the bride’s family. However, in modern times, either family can host and pay for either event, and both names are used interchangeably.

Typically, the rehearsal dinner or Groom’s Dinner is a more intimate and relaxed event compared to the wedding reception. It’s a chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and enjoy a nice meal together before everyone gets busy with the wedding day preparations. The rehearsal dinner can be held at a restaurant, banquet hall, or even in someone’s home, depending on the preference of the couple or their families.

The rehearsal dinner and Groom’s Dinner are two names used to refer to the same pre-wedding event. Both events are an excellent opportunity for the wedding party, family, and close friends to gather together, relax and enjoy a meal before the wedding day.

Do guests pay for rehearsal dinner?

Typically, the hosts of a wedding will host a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. The purpose of this dinner is to gather the wedding party and close family members together to rehearse the ceremony and to socialize in a more relaxed environment. One question that often arises in regards to this rehearsal dinner is who should pay for it.

Traditionally, the hosts of the wedding are responsible for paying for the rehearsal dinner. This means that if the bride’s parents are paying for the wedding, they are also responsible for paying for the rehearsal dinner. If the groom’s parents are contributing to the wedding, they may offer to pay for the dinner instead. However, if the couple is paying for their own wedding, they will likely be responsible for paying for the rehearsal dinner as well.

It’s important to note that guests are not expected to pay for the rehearsal dinner. While it’s true that some couples might ask wedding party members to contribute a small amount towards the cost of the dinner, this is not usually considered appropriate. The reason being that the wedding party is required to attend the rehearsal; it is not an optional event that they can bow out of if they cannot afford the dinner.

Another point to keep in mind is that the rehearsal dinner cost can vary greatly depending on the couple’s preferences. Some couples choose to have a simple dinner at a restaurant, while others might opt for a full-blown catered event with entertainment. It’s important for the hosts of the wedding to keep in mind their own budget and what they can feasibly afford when planning the rehearsal dinner.

While guests are not required to pay for the rehearsal dinner, they can certainly express their gratitude to the hosts by offering to help out with preparations or bringing a thoughtful gift as a token of appreciation. Hosting a rehearsal dinner can be an expensive undertaking, and it’s always nice to acknowledge the hard work and generosity of those involved.