Who takes on the bill for the rehearsal dinner? Usually, the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes, couples integrate the cost into their wedding planning budget. Other times, both sets of parents pay for it. Since it’s such an informal event, there are no set rules pertaining to it.
Who plans the rehearsal dinner? Who sends out the rehearsal dinner invitations? Historically, traditionally, and most often, the groom’s mother handles all the preparations. It gives the mother-in-law a chance to flaunt her tastes and preferences, and it gives her a big hand in the wedding that she may have been aching for all along. It’s up to you, the couple, really. Couples should make this decision with some allowance for creative control to the person they cede the preparations to.
The most important advice I can extend is to find the right venue. You need a place that will work within your budget, be responsive to your needs, has good food and an attentive wait staff. So if you are considering a venue that you have never visited before.. GO there for dinner first. You don’t want to waste your time with a place that has poor service or tasteless food no matter how beautiful it may be or how many great reviews you may have read. Keep in mind that in these economic times you are in the driver’s seat, so don’t be afraid to negotiate with the venue. If they give you a per head bar package that bumps up the price, check and see if you can do just beer and wine. Some places will not offer that option unless you ask.
Some people like to jazz up their invitations with themes. For example, if Italian is on the menu, then they will use an Italian-style theme. If French is up for the night, then French-style invitations are in order. This gives people an idea of what cuisine to expect, and gets them mentally prepared for the festive occasion ahead. Traditionally, rehearsal dinner invitations are a lot less cumbersome and expensive than the wedding invitations themselves, and they’re sent out a few weeks ahead of the dinner.
Rehearsal dinner invitations can be sent alongside the wedding invitations to save money, but they really do deserve their own mailing because rehearsal dinners are separate, special events.