Wedding Wednesday - How to Throw an Unforgettable Rehearsal Dinner by Martha Stewart Weddings

Wedding Wednesday - How to Throw an Unforgettable Rehearsal Dinner by Martha Stewart Weddings 

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Any piece from any Annieglass Collection would work perfectly for a Rehearsal Dinner to remember.  Depending on your style or theme the Annieglass dinnerware, array of serving pieces, dessert and cake plates can set the tone for any great , memorable event.

The Basics

Your rehearsal dinner shouldn't compete with the actual wedding. However, that doesn't mean it should be devoid of delicious food and fun touches! Treat the celebration as a pre-party, where guests leave craving more—and lucky for them, you're going to deliver the next day. Here, the ins and outs of pulling off a memorable, mood-setting evening.

Lock Down the Guest List

At minimum, here's who makes the list: your wedding party (even child attendants and readers), plus spouses or dates, and your immediate families. It's also customary to invite the officiant of the ceremony and his or her spouse, if he or she is close to the family. After that, the guest list is wide open, though the budget typically determines how many places to set.

Watch the Clock

Whether you start the party at 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock won't greatly impact attendance, so go for the early-bird special. Schedule your ceremony rehearsal for 4 o'clock, budgeting 30-45 minutes for practice and 15 minutes for transit (adjust as needed), and you'll begin just as the sun is setting—prime cocktail hour. By 6 o'clock, after a drink or two and hors d'oeuvres, dinner can begin. At that pace, the evening will finish up by 9 o'clock, ensuring you get your much needed beauty rest before the big day.

Pick a Theme

As a bride, you've learned how to prioritize details, but your host or hosts might need a helping hand in planning all things large and small. The best way to guide them is to agree on a theme, whether that's inspired by a color scheme, locale, or a favorite activity.


Encourage a Game of Dress Up

Throwing a Mexican fiesta? Stock the entrance to the party with cheap sombreros or maracas that help guests get in the spirit—and double as a favor—and ask guests to wear exotic prints. Or, if you're throwing a campfire-style barbeque, request that loved ones rock flannel. Take the term "suggested attire" as personally as you'd like!

But You Should Wear White

At the beginning of the weekend, very few people have had a chance to hug your neck and give you a word of congrats. Make sure you're easy to spot by wearing your signature color.


Make a Playlist

You scoured the lists of greatest hits (and your memory) to choose the tunes for your first dance, father-daughter dance, and more, so here's your chance to debut those tracks that you love but won't have a chance to spotlight on the big day. Basically, you're setting the tune—and tone—for the festivities to come, regardless of whether or not dancing ensues.

Ask Guests to Sign-In

Here's another opportunity to walk away with a memento. Unlike at the wedding, where guests might get too distracted by how much fun they're having to remember to stop and sign your guest book, at the rehearsal dinner, the relaxed atmosphere is an ideal setting to pen a note of congrats or piece of advice. You can set out the same guest book that you plan to use at the reception or designate a different one to collect well wishes.


Serve a Family-Style Meal

If you're having a seated rehearsal dinner, let diners serve themselves from shared platters at the table's center (a natural way to form friendships). Be intentional about who sits at the head of each table to ensure there's an unofficial conversation starter (and fighter of the sometimes unavoidable "awkward pause"). The groom's father and the bride's mother head one, while the groom's mother and the bride's father head another, then have at least one member of the host's family (usually the groom's) seated at all others. The bride and groom share a table with their bridesmaids and groomsmen, though, to honor—and thank them for—the role they've played in their lives and will play in the wedding


Promote Your Wedding Hashtag

If booking a photographer for both Friday and Saturday will max out your budget, encourage attendees to document the rehearsal dinner by displaying your wedding hashtag predominantly (for example, at each table) to remind them to snap and upload images that you can access later.

Record The Toasts

Unlike the wedding reception where toasts are far more choreographed (and PG), the ones at the rehearsal dinner are lively and super personal. Have a friend record the slue of stand-ups on an iPhone or iPad so that you have them for life.

Serve a Groom's Cake

If your future mother-in-law is hosting the evening, give her the OK to shine the spotlight on her son by transforming one of his favorite desserts into a "groom's cake." This is an especially fun move if you're forgoing a traditional wedding cake the following night in favor of a dessert bar or a dessert course at dinner (this sweet will be serving fewer people, and therefore, less costly). And feel free to throw on a cake topper or to "cut the cake" if you'd like—there aren't any rules against it!


Offer Up a Nightcap

Hold off on a signature drink until the end of the night, and let the libation instead function as a tasty nightcap (homing in on the point that the party, and evening, is winding down). A good nightcap is one that must be sipped, meaning it's stiff but tasty. Try building—and naming—a sipper around these digestifs: single-malt scotch, cognac, chartreuse, port, or sherry. And one more word to the wise, serve them neat!

Get our Cognac Sparkler Recipe

Give Your Party an On Theme Gift

At the rehearsal dinner, it's customary for the bride and groom to gift their besties, but don't feel like you have to break the bank to prove to your pals that you love them and appreciate their support. Go for a simple, personalized present that calls on the rehearsal dinner's theme.