Rehearsal dinners tend to be one of the last things that my clients worry about. Even though it’s typically the day before the wedding, there is very little focus on this event. Coming up with rehearsal dinner ideas isn’t half as exciting as picking a wedding gown or designing centerpieces. Amiright?
On top of that, if you’ve been to one, you know how easy it is to get bored. I mean, why are there 97 toasts? Is there even a full bar at this thing? Is there even a bar?
Rehearsal dinners don’t get a lot of attention for two reasons: 1. They’re rehearsal dinners so who cares? and 2. How hard can planning one actually be?
As a wedding planner, I like to tackle planning the rehearsal dinner a lot sooner than most of my brides and grooms would prefer. In this blog, I’m going to tell you why that early planning is a good idea and give you 10 rehearsal dinner ideas that aren’t lame.
Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?
One of the struggles my brides and grooms have when planning a rehearsal dinner is similar to a constant struggle they have while planning the wedding: who is paying for it?
Traditionally, the groom’s family is responsible for covering all of the costs associated with the rehearsal dinner. That said, etiquette has become more of a suggestion given that times change and not everyone is dealing with the same exact circumstances.
For instance, if the couple is paying for everything, they could ask for their parents to help with this expense if that is an option. A couple could also choose to handle this and other nominal expenses if their parents are handling the big ticket items associated with the wedding.
But while etiquette is what you make it, there are families that live and die by Emily Post’s words regardless of how outdated they might be. When my couples ask me who pays for what (another blog is coming on this, I promise), I give them the “Post” rules and then work to adjust them according to their situation.
One thing that I always make clear? The person signing the check gets the final say. This means that if you want full control of any part of your wedding, you have to be responsible for the payments.
This part is the reason you want to book this sooner rather than later. You might be surprised how hard it is to get a private room for 30 people on a Friday night. Many locations will only be able to offer a “semi-private” location, which means you will be dining with everyone else….but like in their “V.I.P. area”.
Once you decide those logistics, it’s important to consider other things like available parking, food and beverage minimum, and of course, type of food.
Assuming your wedding is in the next day or two, I always recommend catering that is the polar opposite from what you will be serving at the wedding. Planning a 5 course black tie wedding night? Consider an outdoor pig roast under a tent. The last thing your guests want is the same thing in the same place two nights in a row.
Who Makes The List?
Generally, the people invited to the rehearsal dinner are those involved in the actual wedding ceremony. That includes anyone in your wedding party, parents, immediate family (if you choose) as well as their guests.
That’s right. Their guests. Your Maid of Honor’s boyfriend might not be your BFF, and while he shouldn’t attend the rehearsal, he should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Make that clear on your invitations, or else be prepared for questions from everyone.
Can you invite more people? Absolutely…but I would only recommend that for destination weddings where you truly want everyone to be a part of the evening. Keep in mind that if it is a destination wedding, you will have to be considerate that not everyone will be able to attend both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding due to additional expenses and for many other reasons.
Top 10 Ideas for Your Rehearsal Dinner
1. Hand Out Gifts and Thank-Yous
Rehearsal dinners are a great chance to thank those that have been with you on this journey. The week of a wedding is hectic and this is the only time to slow down and pass out gifts to your parents and wedding party. If you’re looking for a more private moment, be sure to schedule that in, but otherwise, know that this is the best time for everyone.
Not sure what to get those special people in your life? We’ve put together an awesome list in this blog right here complete with links where you can find every item. Whatever you choose, make it personal (no gift cards allowed!!). You can’t go wrong with jewelry and I love this company right here.
2. Offer Fun Dessert
You’ll likely have plenty to choose from at the wedding, but the rehearsal dinner menu should be more limited. Along with not offering 7 entree options, don’t feel pressured to create a huge dessert display.
Express your personality and the vibe of the rehearsal dinner with a super fun cake or even a small sampling of different sorbets. Put out a platter of engagement ring cookies for everyone to take before calling it a night!
3. Show Off Those Engagement Photos
Remember those so in love photos you took when you first got engaged? Why save them for just the wedding day? Put those on display at the rehearsal dinner and guests will be sure to notice!
4. Keep Food Casual With Fun Displays
Rehearsal dinners are a great chance for the most important people in your wedding to get to know each other. An open floor plan filled with stations will keep guests mingling all night while enjoying the incredible food!
5. Signature Drinks Aren’t Just For Weddings
Couldn’t decide between signature drinks for your wedding? Offer up one for your rehearsal dinner instead! Don’t forget to give it a fun name and let it compliment the total evening.
Consider having them passed as guests enter or even placed on a fun station mixed in with the food choices.
6. Show Guests To Their Seats
Depending on your guest count, you have the option of using escort cards or place cards. Escort cards are typically used at weddings to show guests which tables they are sitting at. Place cards sit at the tables to show guests what seat they should be in.
Keep this part casual no matter which option you choose. Letterpress escort cards are ideal for a wedding, but there’s nothing like an engraved shot glass for the rehearsal dinner! Escort card and a favor? Jackpot!
7. Family Style It
Quite often, couples tell me they want to use long or farmhouse tables for their reception and sometimes it’s not possible. Reasons like lack of space or expense of rentals can make this a tricky request to accommodate for wedding days.
Since rehearsal dinners often have a much lower guest count than a wedding, this is the perfect time to use those gorgeous tables. Plus, with everyone sitting together, it’s a great chance to get to know one another!
8. Keep the Decor Simple
An engagement party might call for big tall centerpieces, and sometimes a bridal shower will too. However, a rehearsal dinner is not the time to flaunt a floral budget.
Rehearsal dinners keep people at the tables, so it’s important that the centerpieces not be a distraction. A long table feels warm and cozy with a long floral runner and candles, while smaller tables call for classic arrangements.
9. Rehearsal Dinner or Lunch?
The only rule I have for my couples is that their rehearsal dinner doesn’t run so late that it’s a chore to get up the next morning. Often times, the rehearsals are later in the evening due to work schedules which forces the dinner to be even later.
If it’s possible to host a rehearsal dinner earlier in the day though, then go for it! Take it outside and enjoy the fresh air, which will allow you to end early enough to get some serious rest. Just make sure you host the actual rehearsal first…you know, before the mimosas.
10. Skip the Rehearsal Part Entirely
One of the questions I am consistently asked is “do we really need a rehearsal?” My answer is always the same:
The exception to this is if you are getting married in a religious house that requires a rehearsal. Or, if you really would just feel more comfortable running through everything at least once before the big day. The only reason I am mentioning this is because, in my experience, people do just fine without a rehearsal and one less thing to do the week of your wedding is always a win.
How are you going to make your rehearsal dinner special? Have any tips you want to share? Do you plan on ditching the whole tradition all together? Share what your plans are in the comments to help inspire other engaged couples!
The rose is a classic flower and often used in wedding design. It’s currently trending on social media, probably because Valentine’s Day is in 5 minutes.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” -Shakespeare
No offense, Bill, but a daisy will never be a rose. It’s not a rose, unless it’s a rose.
More than ever, couples want a unique wedding with traditional elements. Roses are something a lot of my couples want to ditch because “everyone uses them”.
But just because everyone uses them, doesn’t mean you have to use them in the same way. In this blog we’ll talk about the unexpected ways you can use roses in your wedding design.
A Rose By Any Other Name
There are over 150 different varieties of roses, making this flower one of the more versatile ones. Brides can be extremely specific as to what type and color rose they want for their wedding.
Despite this, roses have the reputation of being boring and overdone. This could not be further from the truth. That’s actually about peonies. *shots fired*
Unlike some other flowers, roses work in everything from boutineers to bouquets to centerpieces. It’s about finding the right rose.
Garden roses, on their own, have different varieties. They are all massive in size and have layers of petals, making them the perfect choice for weddings. These babies are in a league of their own and while every other bride is using peonies for their bouquets, you can stand out from the crowd with these instead.
Mixing different roses is a great way to add texture to centerpieces and even ceremony design. While garden roses can steal the show, spray roses are perfect supporting cast members. Create a unique look by using them in both the bridal bouquet as filler and as part of the groom’s boutineer as well. Make that boutineer unique by adding a splash of color or adding something funky such as berries or a small succulent.
Ring Around The Rosie
One of the reasons roses are frequently used for weddings, is that they don’t have a season. You could get married in the dead of winter or in the middle of summer, and roses are available.
Peonies, by the way, are available for about 30 seconds, so let that bandwagon pass you by.
Since roses are readily available in plenty of colors, it’s easy enough to incorporate them into your wedding design. The pink, white and gold color combination might be trending for weddings right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to use pink and white roses. Work with your florist to explore other options like earl grey and quicksand roses.
Along with working with any color combination, there is a rose for every style of wedding. This classic bloom is not just reserved for a sit down dinner at a castle in France with a sunset ceremony.
Rustic brides can give a boring wedding cake a unique twist by adding fresh roses and greenery to the design. Create a seamless look by using the same florals on the cake as you did for other decor like the centerpieces and bouquets.
If you’re hosting a trendy garden style wedding, using roses seems like the obvious choice. Just because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean the design has to be. This is another great chance to discuss color options with your florist that will leave guests asking you just what type of roses you used.
Create a natural look by using roses to enhance a mantle or by placing them inside a fountain. Or go over the top and put them in places that are unexpected like trailing down the inside of a banister. Just make sure you have permission from your venue first!
Everything’s Coming Up Roses
What about those brides that aren’t using flowers for their centerpieces, but want to incorporate a floral feel? Just because you’ve ruled out real flowers, doesn’t mean you’ve ruled out all flowers.
And I’m not talking about using fake flowers, don’t worry.
Floral designs are huge right now in the fashion world. From the wedding gowns to what your bridesmaids will wear, designers are showcasing floral details in everything.
The “all-white” trend is just as popular as the floral trend, and I am dying over this gorgeous bridesmaid dress by Dessy.
If the idea of putting your bridesmaids in full on floral is too much, consider adding subtle pops of the style instead. A gorgeous floral belt is the perfect touch to add to a wedding gown. Of course, who’s doesn’t love seeing a flower girl rock an adorable rose detailed dress like this one?
Roses are Red…
A lot of my brides shy away from using red roses. Too many bad memories of the losers they dated showing up with gas station roses on Valentine’s Day.
I’ll refrain from calling out any of my ex-boyfriends here.
But red roses are perfect for all seasons, especially late Summer, Fall and even Winter. Basically every season except Spring is what I’m trying to say here.
As a designer, I like to use the season of the wedding as inspiration. It has nothing to do with that myth about using “in season” flowers, which we talked about in this blog right here.
The key to using the colors of the season and still making your wedding look original, is all in the combinations. Let’s be honest, plenty of brides are going to use “Fall colors” for their fall wedding, which includes those deep red roses. Give your guests the unexpected by taking your wedding vibe to the next level.
Note, I said “vibe”, not “theme” because this is a wedding and not a prom. Just saying.
Red garden roses are showstoppers because they are huge. This means a few go a long way, and you can add in other florals and even fabrics. Create a warm and welcoming reception for your guests with long tables covered in sparkly runners, garden roses and plenty of candle light.
When using red roses, or any dark colors, it’s important to make sure they are seen. When working them into a centerpiece, candles aren’t going to be enough. Use a talented lighting designer to pinspot each table in order to see the centerpieces both in person and in your photographs.
Some Say Love, It Is A Flower
Roses can play a big part in your wedding ceremony design, just as much as the reception. You don’t need a flower girl to create your walkway. Instead of using a runner or lining the aisle with candles, create a design using rose petals all the way to the altar. Wedding planner tip: rope off the end of your aisle to make sure the design isn’t destroyed by guests looking for their seats.
Even in small doses, roses can make a big impact. Since it is often regarded as the most romantic flower, using it for your ceremony is an easy decision.
If you are hosting an outdoor ceremony, you might not be able to create an aisle design. It’s easy enough to design an over-the-top arbor with cascading florals, but not every couple wants that. If you’re looking to keep things simple, but never boring, add in touches of roses to “hold together” the design at the end of your aisle.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Roses have always been a part of weddings, and like the traditional white wedding gown, they are here to stay. More than ever, brides want to make their wedding different from the rest. Even though roses are considered a standard wedding flower, when used correctly, they’ll help create that unique wedding design you haven’t seen on Pinterest 100 times before!
Will you be using roses for your wedding day? What ideas can you share with other brides? Share in the comments below what your ideas are!
CoolSculpting: The hottest wedding trend for 2018 that you may have heard about but maybe not. Well, what if I told you to eat whatever you want during the holidays? What if I said you don’t need the gym in 2018? What if I said you could target problem areas without going under the knife?
No more “what if”, because now, you can.
What Is CoolSculpting?
Essentially, CoolSculpting targets fat cells by freezing and killing them. There are no needles, no incisions and you are awake the whole time. It’s painless and a fraction of the cost of any invasive procedures. The best part? The fat never comes back no matter what you eat. Obviously, CoolSculpting isn’t just a hot trend for 2018, but rather, it’s the hottest.
Can I Really Eat Whatever I Want?
It’s hard to believe right? When I visited with our partner, Below Body Bar, I had to ask Monica about 30 times to make sure I heard this correctly. While no one on their team advocates an unhealthy lifestyle, it is true that the fat will never return. Monica walked me through how it works and explained how fat cells stop developing after a certain age. Basically, if they stop developing, and you kill off the ones you have, you’ll never see more. Amazing right?
Wedding Trend Winner for 2018
When I was first introduced to CoolSculpting, I knew very little about it. Now, I can’t imagine why anyone would spend money for a surgical procedure when this is offered! There are no scars and no down time, and the procedure is relaxing and chill…see what I did there? You can finally spot treat problem areas so you look amazing in your wedding gown and on your honeymoon.
What About My Squad?
If you’re the bride looking for an amazing spa trip with your bridesmaids and moms, this is totally for you. Besides offering CoolSculpting, Below Body Bar has everything from Cryo-Facials to increase collagen and reduce fine lines along with an infrared himalayan salt sauna that burns up to 600 calories a session. You can create the ultimate girls’ night out and customize a package as Below Body Bar will close the spa for your private event!
How Do I Do It?
Our friends at Below Body Bar recommend visiting for a consultation early in the wedding planning process. During this consultation, you’ll discuss your goals and the staff will create a program just for you. With background in health and wellness, they also offer nutrition and work out counseling. Best of all your consultation is complimentarywhen you visit the website and enter the code: BFITWEDDING
CoolSculpting: The Hottest Wedding Trend for 2018
Whether or not you’re planning on making (and keeping those New Year’s Resolutions), coolsculpting will help you achieve your best wedding day look. From cryotherapy to cryofacials, you can create any kind of package with Below Body Bar. Don’t forget to use the code BFITWEDDING for your complimentary consultation with our amazing partner. Get that wedding day and honeymoon look you are dreaming of and tell them Rothweiler Event Design sent you!
They should’ve stopped there… and then removed Aruba and Jamaica. I have no idea where Kokomo is and I do not care. Why? Because about two weeks ago I spent time at Coral Beach & Tennis Club in Bermuda to learn more about this new and secret destination wedding location you can finally get married at. While there are plenty of photos in this blog, make sure you check out the full behind the scenes video here, on my YouTube Channel.
Now, when I say “new” I don’t mean just built with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Coral Beach is a members only AKA private club that has been around longer than I have been alive. What that basically means is: no membership, no wedding.
But that has finally changed as Coral Beach will be available for up to 15-16 destination weddings each year. Only this time, part of the package, is a membership to this upscale club. Why would you want a membership? Glad you asked.
Maybe you didn’t grow up belonging to a country club. Or maybe you did, and like me, you were bored out of your mind attending countless dinners and seeing the same (boring) people and eating the same (tasteless) beef, chicken or fish. If you’ve got a vision of Gossip Girl episodes in your head when I say “country club”, then dismiss those immediately because that is not what this is.
On my trip, I saw first hand what life would be like as a member of this club. It meant coming with your family to the beach for a BBQ on a Tuesday night in May. It meant running around in the sand with the multiple families you’ve become friends with over the years. It meant what many of us fantasize about, for ourselves and for our children as well.
When you get married, you are opening the door to a new chapter in your life. For the first time, Coral Beach is giving you the key. The odds that you’ll go back for dinner at your reception hall are not in your favor and may not even be possible. But at Coral Beach, you start that new chapter and the pages will fill themselves up because you can return…. as newlyweds….new parents…..grandparents…. See how this works? In a time with so much uncertainty in the world, where stability is a luxury and marriages are constantly challenged, there seems to be a chance at serenity here. A chance to lay a solid foundation before building a home.
What about the wedding part though? How does this one place stack up against the rest?
As a wedding planner I always want to know about the newest whatever that no one knows about yet, and that goes double for venues. My clients, not unlike most couples, are always looking to make their wedding day unique, even though they hate using that word. If you’re planning a wedding, there’s a good chance that you’re also attending 900 of them as well. You’ve seen it, you’ve done it. All of it. 50 times.
Often times, couples feel that there just isn’t a banquet hall or barn that they haven’t been to and there’s isn’t a version of Caprese salad they haven’t had. It’s all the same and it’s all on Pinterest, and the ability to make a wedding as individual as the couple, can be an Olympic feat. The easy answer is to have a destination wedding.
The hard question is: Where? I don’t believe you can learn enough to decide your opinion on a venue by just reading some details on a website and looking at a few pictures. This is why I hopped on a plane to visit Coral Beach!
Let’s start with the flight. I can basically see Bermuda from my office in New Jersey. It’s like, right there. I’m a classic east coast girl that went to an east coast college and have been on vacation and spring breaks in the typical areas. It never occurred to me, someone who really hates to fly, to go to an island that I could get to in less than 2 hours. Once I landed in Bermuda, I was shocked at how quickly we arrived. You don’t really understand a less than 2 hour flight time to a gorgeous island until you actually do it. Two hours to fly to some business meeting in that Central Time Zone can make you feel like you slipped into the seventh circle of hell. Two hours to Bermuda?
Take my money. So if you haven’t gotten the point by now, let me drive it home: your guests, your wedding party (not just you two) when given the choice between connecting at The North Pole and potentially losing their luggage on the way to your “guacamole goes on everything” Cancun wedding or taking a direct flight on a legit airline to a wedding that will blow their mind in Bermuda…well, I think you know what wins here.
Ok, now let’s talk about actual Bermuda. Bermuda is this super small island divided into sections. Each section is a “Parish” and each Parish offers a wide selection of food, activities and style. The island appeals to the rustic bride just as much as it appeals to the elegant chic bride. There are countless churches to host your ceremony including a gorgeous building, pictured below, The Unfinished Church.
Often times, destination wedding clients never become destination wedding clients because they know it’s a hassle to have a religious ceremony. But in Bermuda, not only are countless religious houses available on the island, many of them rival the ones you’d find back home in terms of physical appearance alone.
In addition to that, it’s my experience that not every beach destination couple wants to get married on…wait for it…the beach. Believe it or not, many couples feel their wedding will become a cliche if they live in a state with a beach, and then ask their friends and family to get on a plane and watch them get married on a different beach. Bermuda, in general, is lush and vibrant. There are gardens and arboretums and a lot more grass takes up the island than you would probably guess.
Being a small (wicked small) island, space is a major commodity. Guess which place has plenty of it? If you’re that couple yearning for that destination wedding on an island sans sand, the grounds of Coral Beach have you covered. Besides being secluded, the grounds themselves are reminiscent of Wonderland and include a wedding lawn surrounded by sky-sweeping palm trees. The lawn is available for any or every part of your wedding celebration and can be tented as well. Bonus? There’s electricity. Try finding that at other resorts or even at your local beach.
Past the amazing wedding lawn, there are both beach and terrace options overlooking the water like you have never seen before. The reason you’ve never seen it like this before, is because you’re at the top of a cliff. Depending on the time of year, the sunrise and the moonrise will be something you will never forget.
In regard to the beach, no matter what you use it for: first look photos, wedding reception, rehearsal dinner…whatever…it’s an extensive beach. You know what you don’t have to do? Search for an area where you won’t be photobombed. It’s a private beach and your photographer will rest easy not having to hold people back or needing to retouch them out of every last beach photo.
One of the most important factors of a destination wedding is creating the experience for your guests. Let’s be honest right now and talk about how you’re not leaving most of the resorts you’ve stayed at before. Because safety. If you aren’t leaving, then neither are your guests. But a destination wedding is more than one day.
With a Saturday wedding, the couple would arrive on Monday/Tuesday, with wedding party and immediate family coming in between Tuesday-Wednesday. Guests come in Wednesday-Thursday and remain until Sunday…Monday….That’s a week’s worth of events, not just a wedding, for about 120 people. Now what?
Take Coral Beach. All of it. They will literally hand you the resort and every last room for your wedding.
Guys. Let that sink in. I can wait.
When immediate family and wedding party members arrive, there are countless activities and things to do around the island. It’s also ridiculously easy to get around the island and the residents of Bermuda are about the most gracious I’ve ever experienced. No matter what your style is, there are things to do for everyone. A calm sail around the island, or a jet ski race…and anything in between. Hiking in the woods to hidden caves and caverns?
And there are no ticks on Bermuda.
How does this place even exist?!
Unlike other locations popular for destination weddings, a couple in Bermuda can create an experience for their guests that reflects who they are. In addition to the fun you can put together for your immediate family members and wedding party, you can design the “wedding weekend” to be just as amazing. As destination weddings go, guests arrive in advance of the wedding and you can create an “itinerary” to enclose with the invitations.
On the first day, it’s a great idea to keep things casual, give people a chance to get to their room, and then join in on the fun. With the entire resort reserved for your wedding guests, you can arrange for everyone to be picked up at the airport and brought to the little slice of paradise that is Coral Beach. You can set up to meet everyone for afternoon tea, or Dark and Stormy’s on the beach terrace before going on a welcome cruise around the island.
The day before the wedding is a great chance to let your guests take a minute to realize they are in this unforgettable place. I can tell you, first hand, that room service breakfast on your own private patio is insane and unreal. French toast just tastes better when you’re watching longtails fly over the ocean. It does.
You should never make your itinerary “mandatory” and it’s good etiquette to let your guests know about any activities they can enjoy on their own. Tennis and squash lovers will feel right at home at Coral Beach, and other guests can enjoy the private beach, a game of croquet, a garden tour or some beach volleyball.
For a group activity, getting back to those hikes and caves…the water in Bermuda is all connected and there’s something romantic and spiritual about that. A destination wedding is all about connections. The connection between the couple and their connection to everyone attending the wedding. Whether you choose to bring everyone on a hike that ends at a lake in a cave, or at any of Bermuda’s famous beaches for some cliff jumping, it’s obvious to include the gorgeous water as part of the wedding weekend.
Of course, at the end of the day before the wedding, a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner is a must. Normally, I would never tell my couples to have their rehearsal dinner at the same location as their wedding. Who wants to see the wedding venue, two days in a row?
But, just like you can use multiple areas for the different parts of your wedding at Coral Beach, the same thing can be done for the rehearsal dinner. Formal, sit down wedding dinner with specific wine pairings, means fish and chips picnic with plenty of rum for the rehearsal dinner. Oh, and did I mention they can customize any menu for your events and their sommelier’s name is Vincenzo?
I meant what I said earlier that Bermuda is a really unique place. The one word I hear the most from brides when describing their ideal wedding is “unique”…and that’s not easy to do. Destination weddings are the hardest weddings to make unique because you’re dealing with the unknown and plenty of restrictions.
At the core of every wedding I plan, is the story of the couple I am planning with. Those stories are unique and a wedding should show that. Frankly, in a world of cookie-cutter, done to death, Pinterest popular weddings, it’s refreshing and rare to put together something different. It’s an Olympic sport to make that happen for a destination wedding.