Tips for Planning the Ultimate Rehearsal Dinner (or Welcome Party!)

Your big day is just a few months away, and you’ve nailed the wedding details from invitations to the honeymoon. You’re all ready to go, right? But wait—what about the rehearsal dinner? If you’re three months out and don’t have that venue booked, it’s time to get moving.

But even if you’ve got more than three months to the wedding day, we advise you don’t wait. The hot spots will get grabbed up fast, particularly if you’re looking for a Thursday or Friday night. It’s never too early!

Either way, we’ve got you covered with top tips for planning the ultimate rehearsal dinner or welcome party. There is a difference, so read on, relax and get ready for an amazing time.

Vickers 2

The Ultimate Rehearsal Dinner

This event is traditionally reserved for the bridal party involved in the wedding rehearsal plus immediate family—hence the name “rehearsal dinner.” It’s a chance for the parents of the groom to really shine and put their imprint on the happy event. The rehearsal dinner is a lovely evening with a more casual feel to encourage people to mix and mingle. In some cases, it’s the first time the families fully come together—an exciting time!

Top Tips:

  • It’s fine to have a sit-down dinner; a good event planner will make sure it’s down-to-earth enough so it doesn’t upstage the wedding.
  • Don’t bother with set seating and place cards. Allow guests to seat themselves so they can get to know each other better.
  • We highly recommend a cocktail hour (even 30 minutes) with light hors d’oeuvres. This is yet another chance for your guests to become friends before the wedding.
  • Groom’s cakes are making a huge comeback. The groom should select the flavors—it’s his special confection!
  • Rehearsal dinner traditions are great, but feel free to break the rules: it’s your party! Some time-honored conventions:
    • This is when the maid-of-honor has her moment and gives her speech (though many couples opt to pair that speech with the best man’s remarks during the wedding).
    • Both fathers should also be encouraged to make toasts.
    • Consider carving out time for stepparents to have the chance to say a few words.
    • Last, but certainly not least, the bride and groom should have their time to thank anyone (and everyone!).


The Ultimate Welcome Party

For pre-wedding events with 30 or more guests, consider a welcome party instead. This event has evolved because more and more out of town guests are arriving early. Like the rehearsal dinner, it’s a great way for friends and family to socialize and make connections before the wedding day. Bonus: It’s super-casual, too.

Top Tips:

  • You’ll offer many of the same amenities, but with a few twists to handle the larger crowd:
    • Definitely have the cocktail time, which is even more important with this many people.
    • Consider a buffet to simplify and to take the worry out of appeasing everyone’s tastes.
    • You may want to extend some of the traditions to other friends and family members, such as short speeches.
    • The groom can select more than one groom’s cake to accommodate the crowd.

Regardless of the venue, you can save on the cost by hosting these types of parties when you choose a Wednesday or Thursday. At Vickers Restaurant, our experienced event planner will help you create a memorable rehearsal dinner or welcome party for up to 40 people. We customize your menu to suit your tastes and to help you keep an eye on your budget, too.

Best wishes to you and yours on your special weekend!

Vickers Restaurant serves traditional Continental cuisine with classic French flair. Indulge in attentive service and outstanding menus in quaint and comfortable surroundings. The same European service is available through our stellar event planning service. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a wedding for 150, you can rest assured you’ll enjoy the highest level of care and attention to detail. Join us for happy hour, dinner and live piano on Fridays and Saturdays—we’ve got the area’s most extensive European wine list and excel at vintage cocktails. In season, relax in our outdoor garden for drinks or dinner. Vickers is the perfect spot for fine food, cocktails and entertaining.

Nina Malone


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s