A dinner following the wedding rehearsal is traditional. It is a lovely way to begin your wedding festivities and allows your attendants and families to relax and get acquainted. The meal is traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents, and includes the immediate family of both the bride and the groom, the wedding officiant and members of the wedding party and their spouses. In some circumstances, you may want to include special out-of-town guests who have already arrived and the parents of younger wedding party members.
The rehearsal dinner is the traditional time for the groom’s father to make a formal toast to the couple. It is also an appropriate time for the attendant’s gifts to be passed out. Seating plans and place cards are especially important to this dinner, probably a first meeting for more than one of the group. The bridal couple generally sits together at the head of the group, their parents flanking them. The members of the wedding party are seated throughout the rest of the family members and special guests. Presumably, they will feel more at ease and be able to assist in making the other guests more comfortable.
For an entirely different twist, the latest trend in post-rehearsal events are more casual get-togethers. For a more relaxed evening try a backyard barbeque or a casual buffet. Because it is an icebreaker of sorts, relax and enjoy the rehearsal dinner. Don’t linger too long however. Brides look terrible with bleary eyes.