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wedding rehearsal dinner help

Posted by organic_flutterby (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 8, 11 at 15:44

As mother of the groom I am planning the wedding rehearsal dinner. I have no idea what is customary and I need help.

This is what I have found out so far:

dinner takes place right after rehearsal at a chosen spot: home, restaurant etc and usually night before wedding

invites should go out about 2 weeks-1 month prior

toasts are given as dinner begins

Now my questions are:
what am I missing?
I read somewhere about gifts being given to attendants. Who is generally responsible for these?
are table decorations usually customary? name placecards?
I am planning on having dinner at a restaurant. Does everyone just order what they want? what about alcohol & dessert?
who is generally invited?
I know there must be more things that I don't even know enough about to ask the right questions.

any and all help and advice is very welcome.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

I'm a MOG as well, so this is on my mind, too.

Relax!

You can make it any kind of party you like. So there's no answer to questions about place cards, decorations, etc. -- you just plan it like any other party. Have those things or not as you think will work best for your group. Personally, I like it to be very different from what the wedding reception will be. So, as my son's wedding will have a rather formal reception, we are planning a very casual cookout-style party, even though it will be very large.

Who is invited: that really varies a LOT by community. Some people invite only the wedding party and their spouses/SOs; some include all the out of town guests and close in-town relatives. Some people invite the officiants and even musicians. We invite all the out of towners, but not the officiant or musicians. Ask the key people in your family and group of friends what most people seem to do. You still don't HAVE to do it that way, but it's valuable input. And ask your son and his fiancee what they would like.

If you have it in a restaurant, you can either have a set menu, a few choices, or let them order whatever they want. People do it all those ways, so just do whatever suits you. I think that if you don't want to pay for dessert or alcohol, better just to choose the menu yourself and have everyone get the same thing, or maybe a few choices.

Have fun planning! We are.


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gifts

I forgot to answer your question about gifts for the attendants. That is for the bride and groom to do. So you don't have to worry about that at all.


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

I was MOG last year! LOADS of fun!

"I read somewhere about gifts being given to attendants. Who is generally responsible for these?"
The bride and the groom

"are table decorations usually customary?"
not in our area

"name placecards?"
not in our area

"I am planning on having dinner at a restaurant. Does everyone just order what they want?"
We had a special menu printed that the guests ordered off.

"what about alcohol & dessert?"
We chose to include those.

who is generally invited?"
We had everyone involved in the rehearsal (and their spouses), including musicians and officiant and his wife.
We also had two couples who were from out-of-town attend. These were very dear, old friends and we felt they should be included (one a relative of the bride, one a relative of the groom).

We did not include out of town guests... that would have been ~150 people! Almost 9 in 10 were out-of-towners....


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

Luann, I've been to weddings where everyone but the immediate family was from out of town, so all the guests were at the "rehearsal dinner."

But -- not the officiants or musicians (unless they are friends or relatives who would be invited as guests anyway).

We estimate 200-250 guests at our son's wedding next year, and there will probably be 100-175 at the rehearsal dinner. That's all the out of towners, plus close "like-family" in-town friends who are giving showers, hosting people, etc. If we had in-town relatives, they'd be included too.

But not the musicians, and the officiants only because one of them is the groom's father, and the other is the rabbi he works with who is a very close friend and is co-hosting another event, so he, like the other co-hosts, will be invited to the "rehearsal dinner." But ordinarily, they aren't invited to people's rehearsal dinners. And that's almost 30 years now, so at least in our community, that's how it works.

Of course, our "rehearsal dinner" doesn't have anything to do with the rehearsal -- that will have happened the day before (Friday; wedding is on Sunday).

There are two general types of rehearsal dinners: one that really is connected to the rehearsal and its participants, so the focus is on the wedding party; and one that is just called "rehearsal dinner" for want of a better term, but really has nothing to do with a rehearsal; focus is on family and out of town guests.

So, you see, Organic, there is a LOT of variation. You do what works best for YOUR group.


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

"But ordinarily, they aren't invited to people's rehearsal dinners. And that's almost 30 years now, so at least in our community, that's how it works. "

Well, then, it's obviously different here! And that does not make is wrong.

Mine were invited when I got married in 1980... and the same is going on here still.

Plus, it seems a shame that thiose leaving the rehearsal would be talking about going to dinner in front of the musicians then say 'buh-bye', leaving them at the church....


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

You're absolutely right, Luann -- that was the point of my whole post: there's a lot of variation, and neither way is "wrong." I'm sorry; I thought I made that clear.

No problem about leaving the musicians behind. The rehearsal isn't even the same day as the wedding. Anyway, we never have the musicians at the rehearsal here.

I'm surprised to hear people have the musicians at the rehearsal. Do you have to pay for another whole 2-hour-minimum gig? Or maybe you are talking about friends singing solos or playing instrumental selections during the ceremony? We don't have that, so when I hear "musicians," I'm thinking of professionals hired to play the processional and recessional.


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

"Or maybe you are talking about friends singing solos or playing instrumental selections during the ceremony? "

Not just friends, but also family... and members of the church providing vocals and music - the people who are doing the music during the ceremony itself.
No way we would not invite them!


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

Whoa, no one is saying you shouldn't! :-) So would I, in your position.

The only music we have DURING the ceremony is the cantor singing blessings -- and he is one of the officiants. (And in our case, also the father of the groom! So he'd better show up at the rehearsal dinner -- he might as well; it's at our house.)

Did you see where I wrote that I was talking about outside, professional musicians hired to play for the processional and recessional?

In your community, do people typically have them at the rehearsal at all, much less the rehearsal dinner?


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

"In your community, do people typically have them at the rehearsal at all, much less the rehearsal dinner? "

As I just said....
"Not just friends, but also family... and members of the church providing vocals and music - the people who are doing the music during the ceremony itself. "

Yes... those people DO rehearse the evening before, and yes, they ARE invited to dine with everyone else immediately after.

In the case of my son's wedding last summer, my daughter sang, as did a friend. Members of the church provided the other music.
They all rehearsed, and they all came to the rehearsal dinner.

And just to confuse you further (LOL!), the readers rehearsed, and THEY came to dinner also!


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

Yes, but I think gellchom was asking, "do the PROFESSIONAL musicians come to the rehearsal?"

Maybe you don't ever really have professional musicians at the ceremonies in your area. I know that in my circles, we absolutely wouldn't. at the ceremony, even in big NYC weddings, the only pro musicians I've seen at the ceremony were the organists who were employed by the church.

And lots of the times, they aren't there. And if they are, they aren't usu. invited to the rehearsal dinner; neither is the church's wedding coordinator (who is DEFINITELY at the rehearsal). They're sort of regarded as "hired guns."

In my hometown, you'd invite the organist, because she's volunteer. And she'd be a friend.


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

Thanks, Talley Sue, that's exactly what I meant.

That's really interesting; I had no idea that professional (as in outside, not in terms of their professionalism) musicians were rare at church weddings.

What happens when the wedding is held not at a church, but at a hotel or restaurant or some other "event space"? Please forgive my ignorance. I really am just curious, not criticizing.

As we don't use an organ, we don't have an "in-house" musician to play processionals, so everyone hires someone to play while the guests are being seated and then for the processional and recessional. Often a violin and flute and/or piano, or guitar and flute. Once every never, a harp.

That's why I really was surprised at the idea that the outside musicians (NOT volunteering friends and family) would even be at the rehearsal at all. Most musicians have a two-hour minimum charge, and I was surprised that people would pay that just to have them at a rehearsal -- the musicians don't need it. Also, I can imagine that if your rehearsal were on a Friday or Saturday night, they would not want to give up a potential full evening gig for a rehearsal.


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

"Maybe you don't ever really have professional musicians at the ceremonies in your area."
Yes, we do...

:::sigh:::

Well, the glaring question is how you define a professional musician...

Also, how can a soloist rehearse if the accompaniment is not present? No matter how much both are prepared, there are nuances to work out...

Obviously, things are done differently in different parts of the country.
I am only speaking from personal experience here...


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signing off here....

to the OP, who has not responded since her thread turned to focus on me...

So sorry your thread got hijacked.

Perhaps the best advice I can now give is to find out how things work in your area.
Have fun with whatever you decide!


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I have decided to have a very casual affair per my son's request.

I am way less stressed out now after looking into things, it won't be so bad after all.


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RE: wedding rehearsal dinner help

I hear of all sorts of parties for the rehearsal dinners. Since we live close to the beach, many rehearsal dinners here are beach parties with hot dogs and hamburgers or even pizza and the trimmings. Some rehearsal dinners are in the evening at a park, possibly catered or BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs again. The problem with parks and beach entertaining is that it must be alcohol free according to their regulations. Some rehearsal dinners are held at local restaurants, and others on the family patio. The guests are the wedding party and their significant others and immediate families of the bride and groom for starters. You can choose to add the officiant, the out of towners, and anyone else helping at the wedding as you like by sending invitations to them. It varies from family to family as to what they want to do and how formal they want the occasion to be. I think the young people often enjoy an informal affair as the next day they will be in their best bib and tucker all day long. Decorations might be limited to the tables themselves, such as some simple flowers, colored cloths or napkins and plates, etc.

Congratulations, and enjoy!


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