A while back, I asked my 2017 brides if they had any particular topic they'd like help with so I could blog it for them during the off season, and one of them mentioned the Rehearsal/Groom's Dinner! Here is a little insight about this part of the wedding process and how to plan yours!
Did you know that the average time a bride and groom spend with each guest at the wedding is three seconds?! The rehearsal/Groom's dinner is a way to spend more leisurely time with those closest to you and relax before the wedding day. It might also be a chance for the bride and groom's family to get to know each other a little better. Traditionally it is paid for by the groom's family (hence the name "Groom's Dinner"), so often the Father and Mother of the Groom decide the where and how and often give a welcome speech.
The biggest question I get about this particular event is who to invite. Traditionally it is everyone you feel has helped in the wedding planning process and their significant others... So the bridal party, close family, other close friends etc. More recently, I have seen the invite extended to those that traveled a long way to be there for your big day. Inviting them is a nice way to thank them for their extra effort.
You can have your rehearsal dinner anywhere your little heart desires. Often it is held at a restaurant or even a back yard. It should be a little preview of what's to come on the wedding day so keep that in mind! If you're getting married on Nantucket, above is a photo from the dining room at the Nantucket Culinary Center, where they TEACH you how to make the food and then you go eat it together. That's definitely a different and fun way to mix it up if you ask me!
Traditionally this get together is held the night before the wedding around 7pm, but because it has become it's own separate extravagant event, many couples have chosen to have it two nights before to keep the day before as relaxation time. Not to mention, I've seen many a bride leave a little early because they don't want to be hung over on their wedding day! Sounds like a good plan to me, but keep in mind having it two days before means your guests will have to leave an extra day early and possibly take of more time off from work.
Restaurants should be booked 4-8 months in advance. If you have a particular place in mind, don't dilly daly, especially if there are other wedding venues in the area. Another couple may have the same idea! The invitations should be sent at the same time as the wedding invitation, or shortly after to ensure no one buys plane tickets a day late. In terms of the design, as I mentioned before, it should be a preview of what's to come, but maybe you'd like to break that mold and have a BBQ instead. It's really up to you and your tastes so have fun with it!
I hope that was insightful and helped some of you Brides and Groom's stressing over this aspect. If you have any follow up questions, please don't hesitate to comment below!