Laurie Arons is the owner of the San Francisco-based special event planning company, Laurie Arons Special Events. Since 1994, she's been crafting beautifully designed and impeccably executed weddings and events. You may remember this stunner -- what a great example of paying attention to the details! I asked Laurie for four great tips about rehearsal dinners. Here's her professional advice:
1. Choose the rehearsal dinner location after you pick the wedding venue. Rehearsal dinner spots are abundant -- make sure it has an area for cocktails and a room that can hold all your guests comfortably -- so reserve more time for finding a wedding venue you love.
2. Figure out the tone for the wedding, and do something completely different for the rehearsal dinner. Since this event can be more casual and relaxed, sometimes it's fun to have a theme like a California Fiesta or Western BBQ (as seen in the photos below by Gertrude & Mabel and Thayer Allyson Gowdy). Just make sure it's one that reflects you and your groom's personalities.
3. Make up your guest list carefully. At the minimum, you should include your immediate family, grandparents, bridal party, their significant others, and the officiant. I think it's important to include anyone who has traveled from overseas to attend. Then the sticky part begins! Keep things very black and white so you don't upset your family and friends. For instance, if you invite one cousin, then you should invite them all. If you invite one friend in a circle of friends, you should invite all of them.
4. Have friends or family members direct the evening's toasts. This should be someone who is comfortable speaking in front of a group. Etiquette says the father of the groom should kick off the toast because he is traditionally the host. After he welcomes everyone to the dinner, he should do his toast then let guests know that the toasts will resume after the main course.