LOVE LIFE STORIES by Carper Creative Photography

Grooms (and groom’s family), the rehearsal dinner is traditionally your responsibility. While there’s plenty of room in the modern-day wedding for bending or even breaking rules, here’s how to pull your wedding weight while respecting traditional customs.

1. Send formal invites.

Trust us. There’s always a question of “who’s invited and who’s not?” among select extended family and out-of-town guests. And it can get pretty awkward when you’re confronted and have to tell someone they’re not. This is why formal invitations to the rehearsal dinner are standard (no Facebook messages, E-vites or emails, please).

Hint: Send the rehearsal dinner invites after the wedding invites; keep them separate if everyone is not invited to both.

Who’s invited depends on whether it’s a local or destination wedding and financial and schedule considerations. Traditionally, invites are extended to the couple’s parents, grandparents, the wedding party and their spouses or dates, any immediate family not in the wedding party, as well as the officiant and his or her spouse. It’s nice to also invite out-of-town guests and extended family, if your budget permits.

2. Formal or casual — it’s your call.

The rehearsal dinner is a chance for everyone to have a relaxed get-together before the actual wedding. It can be formal, casual, themed or otherwise, but it’s almost always scheduled right after the rehearsal. It’s best to choose a location nearby the church or ceremony venue.

3. Give a toast.

It is courteous for the host of the rehearsal (either the father of the groom or the groom) to stand and thank guests for coming and the bride’s parents for hosting the wedding. This toast is to be given during dinner, not after. The groom should repeat this action at the reception, thanking the bride’s parents and guests for their love and support.

Hint: If members of your wedding party would like to toast at the rehearsal dinner, the best man should always go first.

4. Hand out thank-you gifts.

Gifts should be given to the wedding party during the rehearsal dinner. The intimate setting is perfect for presenting your gifts to the groomsmen and bridesmaids — preferably timed with your toast.

Hint: Thank you gifts can also be exchanged beforehand at a shower or party, or prior to the ceremony in private, but gifts should never be handed out at the wedding reception.


See? It's not rocket science; you can do this. For the dos (and don'ts) of making your toast, click here.