How to Host the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner | Arizona Weddings Magazine

We know planning your big day can consume most of your free time, especially as the day draws nearer. Between bridal showers, fittings, and bachelorette parties, you’re probably on wedding-prep overload. The rehearsal dinner might be the last thing on your mind. If this you, no worries. We’ve reached out to the top professionals in the industry from Old Town Tortilla Factory and J&G Steakhouse to help you seamlessly plan your rehearsal dinner. Here you will find everything you need to know to plan a spectacular rehearsal dinner party without having to stress!

How to Host the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Soiree

What’s the purpose of a rehearsal dinner?
“The rehearsal dinner is an event designed to bring both the families together as one before the wedding,” says Suzannah Modzelewski from Old Town Tortilla Factory. It’s meant to unite the families and welcome everyone who has travelled from out of town. Elena Torres from J&G Steakhouse also adds that the rehearsal dinner works “to gather and appreciate those who will be playing a big role in the ceremony.”

Who handles the guest list?
Typically, it’s the parents of the groom who host the rehearsal dinner. However, Suzannah adds that with the changing standards of modern times, either set of parents or another relative can host the rehearsal dinner.

What’s the timeline for booking a rehearsal dinner venue?
“Elena from J&G Steakhouse says, “Around three months is the best time to book.” Although more popular spots may need to be booked out six months in advance. This allows for planning and decoration arrangements to be made with ease.

How to Host the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner | Arizona Weddings Magazine

Who gets invited?
As this dinner works to bring people from both sides of the family together, immediate members from both sides are often invited. “Don’t forget to invite the wedding party and out-of-town guests,” reminds Suzannah. If the officiant is close to the couple, then he or she ought to receive an invitation as well.

What kind of toasts will there be, and who is expected to give them?​
“The evening begins with welcome remarks by the host,” says Elena. A few words from the wedding party or other family members are often done as well. Suzannah adds that the father of the groom will customarily do a toast as well, especially if he is one of the hosts. Just don’t place too much pressure on anyone who will also be giving a toast at your reception. A special thank you toast from the couple is also expected.

​What is the dress code?
Elena points out that while the bride and groom usually set the tone for the evening, there are other factors to consider. “It really does depend on the season and theme of the venue. Most venues like J&G Steakhouse are resort casual.” If you are still unsure, tradition dictates a casual cocktail approach.

Are gifts okay or a no-go?​
Eleana points out, “The rehearsal dinner is a perfect time for the couple to recognize parents and/or the wedding party with a token of appreciation.” This is a great opportunity to hand out bridesmaid or groomsmen gifts – especially if you plan on them wearing the gifts on your wedding day.

How to Host the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner | Arizona Weddings Magazine

What kind of food would you recommend serving?
The meal for the rehearsal dinner should be something easy and different from what’s on the wedding menu. Suzannah from Old Town Tortilla Factory notes that the location or theme of the wedding can still have an impact on the meal. “Choose a local flare that rivals the chained restaurants. Something Southwestern or Mexican in style is a nice option.”

What should couples look for in a rehearsal dinner venue?
Typically, couples should search for a venue that is well established with an experienced and friendly event coordinator and staff. “Beautiful ambiance within a welcoming setting featuring great cuisine and signature cocktails is a sure bet,” says Suzannah.

​What are some additional things couples should consider when planning their rehearsal dinner?​
With all the stress from the wedding day, our experts advise couples to stick to the guidelines when choosing a rehearsal dinner venue. “Keep the night casual, simple and early,” says Elena from J&G Steakhouse. “The big day will be here quickly!” Likewise, do go with a venue that speaks to you and is different enough from the wedding itself. Suzannah adds the best rehearsal dinner venues will be unique, while offering a stress-free dinner party that will be remembered forever.