When it comes to the rehearsal dinner, it's tricky to determine who should be invited, where it should be hosted, and all the semantics in between. It's never too soon to start planning the rehearsal dinner, so use these tips to help create a night as fun as the wedding itself!
The Guest List:
So you have the wedding planned, and the guest list is pretty large. That doesn't mean all who are invited need to partake in the entire weekend's festivities. The rehearsal dinner is typically an intimate event where close friends and family gather to celebrate the couple, get to know the other family, and kick off the weekend. The general rule of thumb is to invite immediate and significant extended family, your wedding party, officiant, and their significant others, parents of any children in the wedding, and close family friends and out-of-town guests. While tradition says that all guests traveling to a true destination wedding (meaning everybody–even the bride and groom–have traveled there) should be invited to a rehearsal dinner or other welcome event, it can get a little trickier for weddings where a large portion of the wedding guests had to travel. At this point you have to do what your budget will allow. After all, if you have to invite 75 guests out of 125 to a rehearsal dinner, you're pretty much paying for a second wedding. Another option is to hold an intimate rehearsal dinner with immediate family and the wedding party, and then invite out-of-town guests for a casual welcome cocktail at the hotel bar afterwards. We recommend giving out of town guests recommendations for nearby restaurants and bars in their wedding welcome bag or on your website, so they feel like they have a solid plan for the evening if they're not attending your rehearsal dinner.
Searching for a rehearsal dinner location can be difficult, especially if you're expecting a large crowd. Make sure to book your rehearsal dinner location at least 3-6 months in advance. We suggest choosing a location close to the hotel (if you have a lot of out of town guests), to avoid paying for additional transportation to and from the restaurant. Our personal preference is a casual setting where the tone for the evening will be playful and fun – after all, this is the time for the speeches that roast you and toast you! For example, we chose a New York City Deli outpost located in Westchester, NY, where our out of town guests from the Midwest really enjoyed the authentic NYC experience.
Invites for the rehearsal dinner should be sent out four weeks prior to the wedding. You want to allow your guests enough time to plan, but also allow enough time between guests receiving your wedding invitation and rehearsal dinner invitation in the mail. When choosing an invitation, remember that it can totally have a personality and reflect the atmosphere of the evening, whether that's casual or formal. You can read more about wedding rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette here.
It's tradition for the groom's family to host the rehearsal dinner, since the wedding is often hosted by the bride's family. However, as tradition has evolved over time, brides and grooms families often split the cost of the wedding, so they may choose to also split the cost of the rehearsal dinner. Or the bride and the groom might be paying for the weekend's events themselves. We say when it comes to the bill, start a discussion between your families to decide what makes the most sense for all the people involved.
RELATED: Step up your happy hour with these cocktails
Step up your happy hour with these cocktails
Step up your happy hour with these cocktails
The Cuervo El Diablo
2 Parts Jose Cuervo Especial Silver
1 Part Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
3/4 Part Crème de Cassis Liqueur
Top with Ginger Beer
Lime wedge and berries for garnish
Shake first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer.
(Photo: Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila)
The Cuervo Paloma
1 Part Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
1 Part Grapefruit juice
1 Part Soda water
1 tsp of superfine sugar
Grapefruit for garnish
Cut lime wheels. Run one grapefruit wheel around the rim of glass then dip the glass into salt. In the glass, add ice, Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver tequila, grapefruit juice and superfine sugar. Stir ingredients. Pour in soda then garnish with a fresh grapefruit wheel.
(Photo: Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila)
1 1/2 oz. Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka
3 oz. Sparkling wine
1/4 oz. Lemon juice
1/4 oz. Simple syrup
Combine vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a champagne flute. Gently top with sparkling wine.
(Photo: Hangar 1 Vodka)
P.Y.T. (Created by Estelle Bossy)
1 1/2 oz. Hangar 1 Rosé vodka
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. White Vermouth
1/4 oz. Crème de Cacao
1/4 oz. Liquor de Violettes
Shaken, served up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a violet or other edible flower.
(Photo: Hangar 1 Vodka)
The Fire Walk
1 ½ ounce 1800 Anejo Tequila
½ ounce Agavero Orange, or another premium orange-flavored liqueur
Aromatic bitters, flame burnt
(Photo: 1800 Tequila)
Kim Crawford's Cool Cucumber
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 lime thinly sliced
Fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of honey
1 bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
1 liter bottle carbonated water, chilled
In a large pitcher, combine cucumber, lime slices and 12 mint leaves in a large pitcher. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice and honey until combined. Pour over cucumber mixer, add wine, stirring gently. Cover and chill for at least two hours. (Recipe makes a batch. For single serving, use parts;1 oz = 1 part).
2 parts Lumina Pinot Grigio
1 part watermelon juice
3/4 parts elderflower liqueur
Splash of sparkling water
Watermelon for garnish
Thin cucumber slices
In a wine glass, combine ingredients over fresh ice. Stir and serve with a garnish of watermelon and cucumber slices.
Sunday Morning Hues (created by Lucinda Sterling of Middle Branch)
1 oz Crème Yvette
1 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur
1 oz Caffè Borghetti
1 oz Espresso
1 oz Mascarpone
Mix all ingredients except mascarpone with ice in an Irish Coffee mug. Top with mascarpone cheese and garnish with an orchid
Kim Crawford's Slice Of Life
1/2 of a kiwi fruit, skinned
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 oz pomegranate juice
In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the kiwi in the lemon juice and simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass (or over ice into a rocks glass). Garnish with a kiwi slice on rim of glass.
Blood Orange Margarita
2 oz. Corralejo Reposado Tequila
3 oz. fresh Blood Orange Juice
¾ oz. fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Rub the rim of an old-fashioned glass (or whatever similar vessel you prefer to drink out of) with an edge of a blood orange slice. Swirl the rim through a small pile of kosher or sea salt to salt the rim. Combine all ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake for 15 seconds. Put a few cubes of ice in the salted glass. Strain the cocktail into the glass and enjoy.
Casa Noble's Yacht Week
1.5 oz Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
0.5 oz lime juice
1 oz pineapple juice
0.75 oz simple syrup
Place Casa Noble, lime juice, pineapple juice, and simple syrup into shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into glass; top with soda and bitters. Garnish with pineapple wedge.
Cazadores Rio Star Spritz (Created by Rebecca Burkart, Worcester’s Annex)
3 parts St. Germain
2 parts Tequila Cazadores Blanco
1.5 parts Grapefruit Shrub*
1 part Fresh Lemon Juice
Topped with equal parts Club Soda and Sparkling Wine
Roughly 2 parts of each but depending on the size wine glass as well as the ice
Peels of 1 Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit
1 cup of Turbinado Sugar
Juice of 1 Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit
White Wine Vinegar to taste
Garnish: Picked Grapefruit Peel “Rose”
In a shaker tin, combine St-Germain, Tequila CAZADORES, Grapefruit Shrub, and Lemon Juice. Shake and strain into a wine glass over fresh cubed ice. Top with Club Soda and Sparkling Wine. Garnish with a picked grapefruit peel "rose" after expressing oils.
Cazadores Raspberry Tequila Spritz (Created by Alan Rusega-Pelayo -- Bartender at Seamstress, Dante, and Metta)
1.5oz Cazadores Reposado
1 oz lychee Juice (from canned lychee)
0.25 oz fresh lime Juice
1 pinch kosher salt
2oz Martini & Rossi Rosé
Muddle raspberries in the bottom of a wine glass. Add ice cubes and pour in all remaining ingredients. Top with Rosé and stir gently. Garnish with a lime wheel and raspberry
Add a couple fresh raspberries and a slice of lemon to the bottom of a tall glass and fill with ice. Add the Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka, followed by the raspberry lemonade and the lemon-lime sparkling water. Stir gently and garnish with a pink bunny-shaped marshmallow.
1 1/2 oz of Malfy Gin Originale
1 1/2 oz of Carpano Antica Formula
1 oz of Fernet-Branca
Rosé Cider Cooler
6 oz. Angry Orchard Rose Cider
1 oz. Huckleberry Vodka
0.5 oz. Simple Syrup
2 Lime Wedges
5-6 Mint Leaves
Muddle mint and lime wedges in the bottom of a tall glass. Add Vodka, simple syrup and ice. Top with Angry Orchard Rosé Cider and garnish with a lime wedge.
Peaches & Dreams Cocktail (Created by Freddie Sarkis, Chief Cocktail Officer at Liquor Lab in SoHo, NYC)
3 peach slices
1 bottle of Morning Recovery
.5 oz sake
.5 ginger syrup
.5 lime juice
1 pineapple fan to garnish (optional)
Pack bottom of glass with herb of choice (we use rosemary) and crushed ice. Next, add peach slices and sake, ginger syrup and lime juice. Swizzle to combine, and add bottle of morning recovery and pineapple fan on top.
1 oz Lemon
1 oz Apple Cinnamon Syrup
2 oz Tito's Vodka
1. Top with DASANI Sparkling Original on ice in a highball.
2. Garnish with lemon wheel and apple peel
2 oz of BenRiach Curiositas
.75 oz of Porter Reduction
Combine in a pot:
1 quart of Porter Beer
1 pint of honey
4 grams of maldon salt
The zest of 1 orange
Allow to rest at medium heat for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
.75 oz of lemon juice
5-6 mint leaves
No need to muddle because you’re going to give this one a nice hard shake. Strain it over some fresh ice in a rocks glass and serve with a hearty sprig of mint.
1 bottle of Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
1 cup honey
3 cups water
2 whole pears, peeled, cored and diced
1 large piece of ginger, peeled and diced
20 fresh sage leaves (plus more for garnish)
1. In a saucepan combine the honey and water over medium heat and bring to a light boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey has dissolved completely. Add the pears, ginger and sage leaves.
2. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture has reduced by 1/3 (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Strain the syrup into a large canning jar or thick glass bowl. Discard the ginger and sage leaves.
4. Place a few pieces of the cooked pear into each stemless wine glass followed by 2 tbsps of the simple syrup. Add Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore and serve.