Wait, you didn't totally forget about that OTHER event that comes alongside the wedding, did you? Don't panic, we've got you covered. Here's how to plan your rehearsal dinner and keep your cool at the same time.
First, decide your guest list. Will it just be parents and bridal party? Close, extended family? The whole crew so it has more of a welcome party vibe? Set your guest list so you have an idea of how many mouths you'll be feeding. You should also decide who's hosting (and paying). If this is something you and your babe are fronting, set a budget. If someone's parents are hosting, talk about what they have in mind and set clear expectations so you don't go spending crazy.
Then, think venue. If you're hosting all 150 wedding guests, your mom's backyard is probably not the least stressful option. Conversely, if you want a super chill, just bridal party relaxing vibe, you don't need to go all out at The Davenport. Think amount of space and vibe you want-- formal, relaxed, casual, etc. Consider the type of food you want, too! If you're having Italian at your wedding, maybe opt for Mediterranean or something different at your rehearsal dinner. If you're having a casual wedding with wood fired pizza, maybe BBQ for rehearsal? Food options and space size will help you determine venue.
Don't forget to think about the logistics. If guests are all coming from out of town and staying downtown (IE-- not renting cars) maybe don't have your rehearsal dinner 45 minutes away from downtown. If you're going for a casual, backyard dinner, don't forget to think about tables and chairs, china and linens, etc. This post also has some great tips for backyard event logistics that are often overlooked!
Set the time and let people know. What time is your wedding rehearsal? That takes about an hour, then add in transportation time and BOOM, there's your dinner time! Plan for a few hours for dinner-- eating, a few toasts and mingling, and make sure you can still get to bed at a reasonable time (and don't drink too much!) so you look fresh and well rested for your big day. Then, decide how you're going to get the word out. Are you sending separate invitations to people? Word of mouth since it's just parents and bridal party? An evite? Figure out your method and plan accordingly.
Lastly, wear something killer. This is another opportunity to show off your fashion prowess and wear a fun outfit, so plan ahead and pick something you love! Don't forget about your soon-to-be-spouse either, unless their picking out their own threads. The rehearsal dinner is also traditionally where you'd give gifts to your parents and bridal party (unless you're saving them for the wedding day morning) so wrap accordingly if that's your plan as well.
Of course, enjoy it! The rehearsal dinner is a more relaxed time for you to soak in all the wedding weekend madness and visit with your closest loved ones. Enjoy, decompress and get ready for tomorrow. It really does all fly by!