While the wedding itself is of greater significance, the rehearsal dinner also serves a purpose. The rehearsal dinner is a smaller event and it allows the engaged couple to express their thanks to everyone involved in the planning process. It’s also often attended by guests arriving from out of town. Since they are making such a long trip just for the wedding, it’s good etiquette to invite these guests as well. If certain friends and family members have not met or they don’t know each other very well, this is also the perfect opportunity to allow them to get to know one another.
Planning your rehearsal dinner is much like preparing for any other similar event. So, you will need to plan such things as seating arrangements, food, décor and prepare to present your bridal party and family with small gifts. The engaged couple will each present one another with a gift ahead of the big day. Likewise, the bride-to-be will present her bridesmaids with gifts and the groom-to-be will do the same for his best man (or men if he has more than one).
As far as the decorations are concerned, they will be understated compared to the wedding décor. You don’t want to go over the top for this event for several reasons. Firstly, if you are trying to stick to a strict budget, then you might prefer simple table cloths, candles or dim lighting, and modest flower arrangements.
Another good point to remember is that you don’t need to use the same colour scheme for your rehearsal dinner as you have chosen for your wedding. In fact, it’s probably better that you choose two different colour schemes. Brides who plan on wearing a perfect white wedding gown might like to wear something a bit more colourful to the rehearsal dinner so make sure that the décor does not clash with whatever she is wearing!
The effect you want to achieve is an intimate one. Avoid anything that’s over the top or excessive. Extravagance is best reserved for the big day ahead. This is even more important if you are having a small rehearsal dinner and your actual wedding will be significantly larger. In some cases, couples choose a home venue for the rehearsal while others choose to hire a venue. Either way, that intimate theme is always present.