The Rehearsal Dinner


We’ve all seen rehearsal dinners in movies and on television, but what is it and what do I need to do?

“What is the point of a rehearsal dinner?”

A rehearsal dinner is traditionally designed for the two families to get to know each other (if they don’t already) before the big day in a low-key setting. The wedding day is usually filled with excitement and the people invited to your rehearsal dinner might not have time to relax, so this is a great opportunity for them to do so with their new family members!

“Who do I invite?”

This is entirely up to you, but traditionally invited guests include immediate family members (possibly grandparents as well), the bridal party and their spouses, and the officiant of the wedding and his/her spouse, as well as any guests that have traveled the day before to celebrate with you. However, if you have other important family or friends that may have helped you with planning your wedding or possibly someone very close to you, you may choose to invite them as well!

“When do I do it?”

A rehearsal dinner is typically held immediately following the on-site ceremony rehearsal at a nearby or conveniently located restaurant, tavern or function space.  Traditionally the ceremony rehearsal is scheduled for a day or two in advance, preceding the ‘I do’.  Here at Pats Peak we schedule your ceremony rehearsal upon booking so that you are able to make plans or reservations well in advance.  As not all invitees play a role in the ceremony, some of your guests will meet you at the dinner location.   Don’t forget to account for travel time from the ceremony site to dinner along with directions for your guests and bridal party members.

“What are the key elements of a rehearsal dinner?”

Your dinner can reflect your style and personality as a couple.  It can be as simple as a backyard barbecue or as lavish as a three course meal; however, do not forget to include these important details:

  1. Start with a meet and greet. Introduce your guests so everyone there will know each other and know the important roles they individually play in your lives and special day.  This will also create a more comfortable atmosphere for everyone on the wedding day.
  2. Bridal party gift exchange. This is a time to thank the special few for all they have done for you both. This may include your parents, grandparents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, junior attendants, ring bearers and flower girls.  Gift giving can sometimes be emotional so know your wedding party and if there will be too many happy tears it may be better to do this after dinner or privately.
  3. A toast with dessert. As the night concludes, the groom’s family traditionally starts the toasts. They typically toast to their new daughter-in-law or son-in-law. The groom then typically toasts to his new life partner and the guests.  Keep in mind there can be many arrangements for these speeches.  For example, the soon-to-be Mr. & Mrs. may start off with thanking their guests, or the Best Man may kick things off with a hilarious (read= tasteful) anecdote about the soon-to-be newlyweds. Truly, anyone can speak, but remember shorter is usually sweeter.
  4. Last minute reminders for the Big Day. Since you have them all seated with their full attention on you, this is a great time to remind them of the events to follow. This includes, but is not limited to: who needs to be where and when, who is in charge of what, who will get ready and where, how is everyone getting to/from, and general ‘housekeeping’ matters to ensure everyone knows exactly where they need to be and what is expected of them.

“Where do I have have the rehearsal dinner?”

We’re happy to provide some great local recommendations right here in Henniker, NH!

Colby Hill Inn – Bartlett’s Restaurant

This award winning dining experience in a gorgeous location is only 2.5 miles from Pats Peak.  They feature a seasonal menu with many delicious offerings.  Enjoy views of the antique barn and beautiful landscaping while sipping their signature Bartlett Pear Martini from their patio. Click the link above to contact them today!

Daniels Restaurant & Pub

Daniels is located right on the Contoocook River offering great dining views! They are only 2 miles from Pats Peak and are open daily for lunch and dinner with a private space for functions and an outdoor deck for summer gatherings.  Arrange to stop by on your next visit to Pats Peak!

Country Spirit

This is an All-American restaurant located only 2.5 miles from Pats Peak‘s banquet facilities! They offer brunch on Sundays and lunch and dinner daily. They offer a range in menu from fabulous barbecue to tasty burgers and seafood cooked to perfection.  Stop in and enjoy time with family and friends in this rustic and cozy setting!

If you find that a majority of your rehearsal dinner guests are staying in nearby Concord, NH check out some of these great locations:

 The Barley House

Located right on Main Street in Concord, NH, this local favorite is known for their burgers and great atmosphere. They are open everyday from 11 am to 1 am except for Sundays, they are closed.

Hermanos Cocina Mexicana

This award winning restaurant located in downtown Concord, NH has been a staple for 28 years. Their international flair is dished out every day starting at 11:30 am.

One thought on “The Rehearsal Dinner

  1. Pingback: How to Throw an Epic Bridal Shower | Pats Peak Wedding Blog

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