Experts Kimberley Vines and Beth Murray of Two Girls in Pearls Events, Crystal Frasier of Crystal Frasier Weddings, and Alexa Sharkey of Alexa Kay Events weigh in on what you need to know before the first toast.
Who should the bride and groom invite?
“They should definitely invite all members of the wedding party and their spouses, [including the] parents of the flower girls and ring bearers (if you want to include little ones). Parents, grandparents, and siblings should also be invited. Traditionally, out-of-town guests should be invited if the budget allows.” —Kimberley Vines
“The couple should invite all bridesmaids and groomsmen, immediate families and, if budget allows, out-of-town guests. If they are keeping on the smaller side, then eliminate the out-of- town guests and all extended family.” —Crystal Frasier
Should you send a formal invite?
“Yes. While it’s 2019, it is proper etiquette to send out an invitation for this. Brides also will have a copy of the rehearsal dinner invite for their detail shots that the photographer will want to capture before the getting-ready shots.” —C.F.
“We think that sending a formal invitation is the appropriate thing to do and should include information on dress, time, and location. This helps clarify who is invited if there are any questions. It is also a great idea to include a response card or email RSVP information so that there is an accurate count of exactly who will be attending the rehearsal dinner.” —Beth Murray
To toast or not to toast?
“Diving deeper into the wedding toast, we reach the ‘make-or-break event’ of the evening—the thing that people either go home talking about with adoring praises or cringe at the memory of. These events are the speeches. I personally have witnessed some of the most painful 15-minute segments of my life at rehearsal dinner speeches. In no way shape or form should a speech break the 10-minute mark. By then, you have lost not only the crowd’s attention but most likely the bride and groom’s as well. Try and keep these speeches between two and four minutes with meaningful content. Remember, friends are a reflection of the bride and groom, so make them look good.” —Alexa Sharkey
For toasts, “We would recommend three to five minutes and absolutely no longer.” The father of the bride is, of course, welcomed to opine for a lengthier time slot. —K.V.
By the Numbers
“Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, and it is usually not included as part of the wedding budget.” But if the bride and groom are paying, they should not spend more than 5 percent of the wedding budget on their rehearsal dinner. —B.M.
Crystal Frasier recommends spending $75-$200 per person to have a successful dinner. “Having said that, the budget really depends on the total number of guests invited and the type of atmosphere you prefer.” —C.F.
What’s trending for rehearsal dinner venues?
Have a Ball
Book an active spot like an upscale bowling alley.
Hire food or beverage trucks to a residence or private dining space.
Base the night around your honeymoon destination. For instance, an Italian restaurant if your honeymoon is in Rome.
Give an Ode to Your Man
Consider a Dallas brewery if craft beers are a favorite libation of the groom.
Grange Hall, Seasons52, Marie Gabrielle, The Joule rooftop, Mercat Bistro, Las Palmas, Mirador, Ida Claire, HG Supply Co.
Still need some more inspiration? Check out one of our favorite real rehearsal dinners here.