Whether you and your partner want to keep it casual or host a full-blown fete, knowing when to send rehearsal dinner invitations (etiquette and timing) is extremely important. It’s a flawless opportunity to get publicized for the main event the next day, but there are rehearsal dinner etiquette regulations that must be managed.
What is the Proper Etiquette for Rehearsal Dinner Invitations?
The rehearsal dinner is typically the very first event of the jam-packed wedding weekend, making rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette almost as significant as a protocol for the actual wedding invitation.
While you don’t have to follow custom exactly when it comes to your rehearsal dinner invitations (digital invites are actually okay!), you should still thoughtfully evaluate who you’re inviting and how to word your invitations.
If you’re beginning to think about the night-before celebration, it’s worth understanding rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette.
From who sends them to who to invite to the occasion, wedding experts offer their best insight into this sometimes-tricky topic.
When Should I Start Planning My Rehearsal Dinner?
We suggest starting to plan your rehearsal dinner between three and six months before your wedding—the more time you give yourself, the better.
How Soon Should You Send out Rehearsal Dinner Invitations?
These invites can be sent out as early as four weeks in advance, just be sure to observe good rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette and send them after you’ve mailed your wedding invites.
At a minimum, you should send out invites to your rehearsal dinner three weeks before the marriage. Recall that you want to have your RSVPs back at least 10 days before the event, so you can finalize plans.
To ensure that everyone knows where and when the rehearsal dinner is, it’s a good idea to reach out privately to those invited, via phone call or text, after you mail the invitations,
so you can let them know to expect an invitation to the rehearsal dinner and maybe get an RSVP right then and there.
Another option is to send the invite to the rehearsal dinner to the smaller pack with the wedding invite itself.
This saves on postage, but you have to make sure you only hold the rehearsal dinner notice for guests who are invited to this separate event, which can get confusing.
Are Rehearsal Dinner Invitations Sent Separately?
Some partners include their rehearsal dinner invitations with their wedding invitations, but you can send them separately, too.
It’s best to send them precisely after or at the same time as you send your wedding invitations so that guests have plenty of time to plan for your wedding events. That’s immensely important for guests coming from out of town.
Do You Send RSVP for Rehearsal Dinner?
Yes! Rehearsal dinner invitations should incorporate a date that your guests need to respond by. Be sure to follow up with e-mail and phone calls if necessary to ensure you have an accurate guest count for your occasion.
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Who Sends the Rehearsal Dinner Invitations?
Whoever bears the cost for the event gets the final say on who to invite to the rehearsal dinner, sends out the rehearsal dinner invitations (with their names on them as hosts), and receives the RSVPs.
Just like with any party, the hosts (a.k.a. the people who are paying) are the caretaker of the invite.
What Should the Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Include?
As you plan to extend an invitation to your friends, family, and guests of honor, you want to ensure you have all of your bases covered when it comes to rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette.
According to the wedding planner and designer Kristen Gosselin of KG Events Design in Edgartown, Massachusetts, all rehearsal dinner invites should contain the following:
- The host of the rehearsal dinner
- The names of the couple
- The event date, time, and location
- The RSVP deadline and procedure (email is often easiest)
- Any supplementary information to know: wedding website information, dress code, and so on.
How Should I Send My Rehearsal Dinner Invitations?
Snail email? E-cards? There are so many alternatives to deliver invites and sometimes, stationery can run up a pretty penny.
Naturally speaking, the rehearsal dinner should follow the same theme, structure, and method as the other invites.
Traditionally, rehearsal dinner invitations are sent as paper invitations in a separate posting, but digital invitations are also totally okay nowadays.
While it is certainly your ultimate choice, Maddox says paper invites are usually the smarter route since she says they bring more significance—and not just literally.
What’s the Best Way to Invite Guests to the Rehearsal Dinner?
When it comes to rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette, it’s not as rigid as wedding invitation etiquette. While everyone coming should receive some kind of invitation, it doesn’t have to be a formal printed document.
For a rehearsal dinner, an online invitation or phone call is absolutely acceptable.
How Formal Should the Rehearsal Dinner be?
The rehearsal dinner can be as formal or informal as you like, depending on your appropriation and desires.
Many partners try to keep the rehearsal dinner on theme with the wedding, which ensures that this celebration feels like an extension of the wedding itself and merges seamlessly into the rest of the weekend.
“Sometimes when the couple is having a truly traditional wedding, they want an equally traditional rehearsal dinner to set the tone.
Sometimes, though, they want to have something that feels more relaxed and comfortable. There are no regulations. We have done excellent rehearsal dinners where the guests never sat down and music played all night,” Povey says.
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Venue
Your guests are already taking the time to travel for your festivity, so don’t make them travel more than 30 minutes to your rehearsal dinner too.
Wedding rehearsal dinner etiquette dictates it’s best to pick a venue that’s close to where the majority of the guests are staying or the ceremony platform.
If your wedding budget permits, provide wedding transportation for guests from their housing to the rehearsal dinner venue (and vice versa) so they don’t have to stress about driving after a fun night.
Also, write clear driving routes to the venue’s location on your wedding website so everyone can easily access it––this way you avoid getting a dozen texts before the event.
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For many couples, rehearsal dinners have evolved into full-blown events complete with their venue, décor, and dedicated menu, but you should feel empowered to make it your own and keep things as simple as you’d like.
Prepared to start planning your own rehearsal dinner? From creating a seating chart to selecting a distinct venue to come up with a menu, you’ll have plenty of creative liberty when it comes to crafting your event.
Whether you want to host a confidential affair or a larger shindig, the possibilities are boundless.