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How to Follow Proper Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

If your wedding rehearsal dinner manners are a little rusty, follow traditional rules so you can avoid an embarrassing situation with family and friends.


  • Step 1: Offer a toast to show your appreciation to everyone for coming if you're the groom or his parents. The bride and her family may offer a toast in response, but it's not necessary.
  • Step 2: Introduce family members, close friends, or other relatives to their new family. Seize this opportunity to have both sides chat for the first time by being a good host.
  • FACT: Even though John Adams was 9 years older than his wife Abigail, the 2 were married for 54 years until Abigail died of typhoid fever in 1818.
  • TIP: Be sure to get a final head count so you know who is coming, especially if the dinner will be catered or held at a restaurant.
  • Step 3: Send out formal invitations if a lot of guests are coming from out of town, or if the rehearsal dinner is more formal. A casual gathering may require just a basic invitation.
  • Step 4: Invite whomever you want -- close family, friends, the wedding party -- to make it a small affair or a large gathering. But invite both sets of parents or families to avoid hurt feelings.
  • Step 5: Keep the rehearsal dinner simple if your budget is tight -- it doesn't have to be expensive or formal. End the event early so everyone can rest before the big day.
  • TIP: For a low-budget possibility, turn the rehearsal dinner into a backyard barbecue or pizza party so both families can talk and mingle.
  • Step 6: Unless alternative arrangements have been made, know that it's understand that the groom's family is responsible for the rehearsal dinner.

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