Your Rehearsal Dinner

The Purpose Of Your Rehearsal Dinner

The Rehearsal Dinner typically follows the ceremony run through and it is more than just a meal. There are certain functions a Rehearsal Dinner should include.




What’s traditional?

Traditionally, the groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner, but these days the wedding couple may opt to handle planning themselves.

Huntington Bay Club - Place Setting -

Huntington Bay Club – Huntington Beach
Orange County, Southern California


Your Rehearsal Dinner is expected to be fun.  Remember to embrace this special moment with the ones you love. This will be the first time where all of your closest friends and family are together as many of them will have traveled from out of town.


The Maritime Museum San Diego | San Diego County


The Rehearsal Dinner very often is relaxed, so take the opportunity to create a seating chart that will allow everyone to get acquainted and mingle. Count on laughter and some tears as a result of great toasts and memorable anecdotes.

Rancho Las LomasRancho Las Lomas, Orange County


Selecting your venue and vendors (service providers)

The guest count can dictate your choice of venue. If you have a small and intimate group, a hotel’s private banquet room, or a restaurant with a semi-private, or private could be the best choice. Many Restaurant’s offer a small to medium size private rooms for parties and Rehearsal Dinner’s. Include all of your family, bridesmaids, groomsmen, officiant, out of town guests and anyone who will make your day special. You may also consider inviting the wedding coordinator, your photographer as well as other vendors. You may even consider hiring a different photographer if the other side of the family is planning the Rehearsal Dinner.

Wilson Creek Winery | Temecula, Riverside County


If you choose a less expensive option, such as a BBQ in your backyard, the pavilion on the beach or in the reception hall of your church, consider having it catered.  Hire a caterer to take care of the delicious food while everyone enjoys a moment away from all the planning. (More inspiring food images at bottom of this article).


Coco Palm

Coco Palm | Pomona, Los Angeles County/Inland Empire


In either case, you’ll want the venue and the occasion to reflect your interests or history as a couple—maybe the restaurant has personal significance for you or the menu includes some family favorites.

Food matching

As an example, if you begin with colorful plates of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese, your entrée could be lasagna with salad and hunks of cheesy bread.

Tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese - Fun Food Catering

Try a fun dessert with fun-size mini chocolate chip cookies with mint chip ice cream sandwiches.

Chocolate Chips Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches - Fun Food Catering

You could also share your favorite pre-dinner or post-dinner group activity, such as dancing or a fun game of “How well does everyone know the engaged couple?” Creating a series of questions about their quirks and their romance story can make for fun conversation and lots of humor!

Consider a string quartet or a solo guitarist, violin or piano (or all three) as great background music for the cocktail party and dining could be absolutely wonderful.  Remember, there’s no music like LIVE MUSIC.

Whether the evening is casual and intimate or large and extravagant, the most important thing is that everyone has fun.

Take this moment to simply relax, after all, tomorrow you are marrying the person of your dreams!

Written contributions by:
Deirdre Schwiesow and Anne Foley

Images by:
Jay’s Catering
Fun Food Catering – Private Chef Marjorie
Mozambique Restaurant
Hulse Photography

Additional Information and Inspirations:
Meal Ideas – Visit

BLT - Fun Food Catering

Jay's catering

Jay’s catering

Mozambique Restaurant -

Mozambique Restaurant in Laguna Beach

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