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But while etiquette is what you make it, there are families that live and die by Emily Post’s words regardless of how outdated they might be.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!
While a wedding gown should always be timeless, it’s always fun to see what’s new and unique. We sat down with our friend and owner, Rachel Sweebe, of Bridal Atelier Montclair to find out the top wedding gown trends for 2018. Check out our full list of wedding trends for 2018 and share with us what you’ll be wearing down the aisle!
1. Is there a style that you see brides looking at more than others for their 2018-2019 weddings? What are the wedding gown trends for 2018?
I would say one of the most common requests has been for minimalist gowns. Be it A-line or fit to flare, deep V-necks, or off-the shoulder, clean lines and in high demand.
2. The boho chic and farm wedding trend is still on the rise. Do you meet with brides having this style of wedding and what designer would you recommend?
I usually recommend Flora and Claire Pettibone. Both of these designers (through fabric, details, and silhouette) appeal to the boho trend while still making girls “feel like a bride”.
3. What are some new and interesting features that designers are showcasing for next year? For instance, are you seeing a lot of florals or lace? What details should brides expect to see trending in wedding gowns for 2018?
Some features that we are seeing for next year include dramatic bow details, removable overskirts (for 2 in one looks), bridal capes, and off the shoulder sleeves are making a big statement!
4. Is there any one wedding gown trend that was strong for a while that you now see brides no longer looking for?
The most obvious one that comes to mind is the step away from strapless. It used that be that girls wanted strapless gowns almost exclusively, and now straps and sleeves are more sought after.
5. When brides come to your store, are they prepared with pictures and details, or not sure what they are looking for? What is the 2018-2019 bride’s personality like?
It really depends. Some girls come with photos and very specific ideas, whiles other girls come in with more broad inspiration. In general, though, I find that most girls are open to trying on multiple silhouettes and styles in order to find what best suits their event and body type. Today’s brides are very savvy, they do their research, and have typically looked at tons dresses online before making an appointment.
6. What’s the most popular cut right now?
I would say fit to flare and A-line are the most requested.
7. Any surprising trends to look forward to in the next year?
Black accents and details are definitely trending! Particularly in belts and sashes. Many designers also showed “bell” sleeves this fall. It will be interesting to see which trends truly resonate with brides!
What do you think about the wedding gown trends for 2018? Will you rock bell sleeves on your big day? Share in the comments below if you’re going to be a trending bride in 2018!
One thing I know as a wedding planner is that brides want to look their best on their wedding day. My clients ask me about everything from personal trainer recommendations to where the best spas are. I have incredible teams of stylists for the day of a wedding and I can even send brides coolsculpting leading up to the big day. I’m always learning about new products available and in the spirit of the shopping season, I have put together my list of the 10 best beauty products for brides.
Check out my favorite products below that are perfect for any bride to be. Whether you’re picking up these items for yourself, or as a stocking stuffer, there’s something here for every bride. Some items can even be received before Christmas, so don’t wait to get that perfect gift!
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with Pink Travel Case
If you haven’t heard by now, Dyson makes hair dryers and they rock. A bride’s hair is pretty featured on the wedding day and it’s important to take care of it until then. Using the right blow dryer is an easy way to take care of your hair. This hair dryer monitors the heat on your hair so you’re not frying every strand. The great travel case makes it easy to bring to a destination wedding or even a honeymoon location. Plus, the drying time is cut in half so you can spend less time drying your hair and more time planning the wedding!
La Mer Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
With the winter wind constantly smacking me in the face, unless I wear a ski mask everywhere I go, my skin is rapidly drying out. La Mer is one of my favorite moisturizers and it’s truly the best of the best. If there was any time for a woman to splurge on her skincare, it’s while she’s wedding planning. La Mer reduces fine lines and is a well-known staple of the beauty industry. It was a no-brainer to include this product on my list of the top 10 best beauty products for a bride!
Kylie Cosmetics: The Nice Palette
This eyeshadow palette is so gorgeous! I am not a big fan of palettes that have one of two neutral colors with a bunch of bold ones, so this is one of my favorites. This is a great palette for brides to use on the day of the wedding and even bring along on the honeymoon. The pigments are incredible and the powder doesn’t flake onto your skin during application. Try this out before your wedding day and have fun discovering the look you want when you walk down the aisle!
Juvalips Lip Plumper
Lip liner can make your lips look a bit fuller, but injections can be too extreme for some. Juvalips lip plumper is the best choice for brides looking for something in between. It only takes two minutes for an instant impact as Juvalips increases blow flow to your lips. Results last for 8-10 hours, and longer with continued use. Pick this up now to use in the months before the wedding day, and be sure to use it on the morning your get married as well. Helping to make that first kiss even more amazing, Juvalips was an easy choice for my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides!
Kerstin Florian Night Cream
Kerstin Florian is my personal favorite for skin care and I had to include them in my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides. When planning a wedding, a bride can lose plenty of sleep, which is super bad for her skin. This night cream is super moisturizing and you will wake up with softer and more supple skin. So even if you can’t sleep because you’re worried about the wedding details, your skin won’t show it with this beauty product!
Majestic Castor Oil for Eyelash Growth
Every bride wants long gorgeous lashes, not just on the wedding day, but everyday. Even if you’re planning to wear false lashes on the day you get married, there are plenty of other times you won’t…like while on the beach during the honeymoon. An obvious choice for my top 10 best beauty products for brides is Majestic Pure Eyelash Serum. Castor oil has been used for years to increase hair growth and this product isn’t tested on animals and is completely cruelty free. Don’t wait to pick up this amazing product for your wedding day!
Amope Pedi Perfect
Besides winter taking a toll on the skin on my face, my feet aren’t exactly ready for sandal season. To get ready to wear those open toe slingbacks under your wedding gown, and those flip flops on the honeymoon, pick up this incredibly beauty product. Amope is heavily advertised and by now, everyone has seen the commercials. It has never been so easy to make your feet super smooth and look perfect in any shoe from any angle. Perfect for in between those pedicures you won’t get to during wedding planning, this is a must have beauty product for any bride to be!
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This product has been in my bathroom for over ten years now so I had to include it in my top 10 beauty products for brides list. Got a pimple? No you don’t…not with this! Pack up this little stocking stuffer in your overnight bag for the night before the wedding because it works that fast. Great to have for the whole wedding planning process, especially for brides that break out due to stress.
Vassoul Blackhead Remover Mask
You’ve seen those crazy black masks that you peel off from your skin to get rid of blackheads. Well, this is the mask that actually works! Not only does it effectively clean out your pores like in those weirdly satisfying videos, but it softens and firms your skin too. If you’re worried about it being painful, then don’t. The secret is to applying a really thick layer all over your face before letting it dry to peel off. Brides will notice a different immediately and since I am all about instant gratification, this had to make it onto my top 10 best beauty products for brides list!
Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanner
This self-tanner is my total and absolute favorite self-tanner on the market. If you didn’t know this, let me inform you that I am super pale. Right now I can basically use my summer concealer as a contour because I look like a cloud. Self-tanners have always been tough for me to love because they are either too orange, or they streak or smell. I found Fake Bake Flawless about two years ago and I haven’t looked back since. With the mitt that comes with the spray, you get an even look that smells great and doesn’t streak onto your clothes either. Grab this to look great for your bachelorette weekend, the wedding, the honeymoon and forever as a wife!
Whatever your beauty routine is, every bride wants to take it to the next level. Now it’s even easier with my 10 Best Beauty Products for Brides and I can’t wait to hear which ones you try. What are you looking to improve before the big day? Share your beauty secrets in the comments below!
As a wedding planner, I am always asked about wedding gifts. The bride wants to know something crazy amazing to get her groom. The groom wants to know what to get that isn’t jewelry. They both want to know what to get their wedding party and their parents. A lot of my couples start this search early because leaving it to the last minute is like leaving holiday shopping to Christmas Eve, which everyone hates. Well if you’re looking for such a gift, check out the list below of 10 crazy amazing wedding gifts and where to get them!
My couples know that when they work with me as their wedding planner, they have access to all of the advice they need. As their planner, they can trust the advice that I give them because it stems from real experience. The amount of surprise gifts I have helped plan with my brides and grooms is more than you could ever guess.
Amazon is Amazing for Wedding Gifts
I am a firm believer in the art of gift giving and taking the time to find something amazing. Whether it’s the couple buying something for each other, gifts for the wedding party or their parents, it’s a way to say “thank you” to these people. But what can you buy that isn’t some version of something you’ve already bought before?
Amazon is the website that has it all. Seriously. Like, everything is there and yet none of my couples consider this resource (until I tell them). They even have those wedding gifts that are on a totally different level like…
1. Rolex for Him
Everyone knows that a watch is the classic gift for a bride to give her groom. Of course, if you’re me, your husband doesn’t wear a watch because “Why should I wear a watch when I have a cell phone?” So, this wasn’t something that I could’ve considered and if you’re in the same boat, there are other options in this list, don’t you worry.
If you know the groom will love a watch as a wedding gift, but you don’t know how to compete with his already massive collection, this is your answer. First off, it’s a Rolex, and even those groom’s that already own a Rolex will want another one. Second, it’s likely to be different than anything else he already has, and a watch collector always appreciates diversity. This amazing wedding gift is one of a kind and will remind him that you are too.
2. Rolex for Her
If you’re that couple that first bonded over your love of watches, then obviously the perfect wedding gift is a watch. For the bride I am obsessed with this Rolex and the details like that pink dial.
This watch is perfect for any bride, whether or not she is a collector. It’s a classic piece that she can wear everywhere from the mall to the first wedding you attend as a married couple. What truly makes this an amazing wedding gift is that she can wear it everyday, which means she’ll be thinking of you just as much.
3. Personalized Frame for Mom and Dad
There is a reason that many of the most popular wedding gifts involve some level of personalizing. It shows time and thought went into the purchase of the gift and it also means that no one else has exactly that gift. Total home run for parents of the bride and groom, trust me.
This wedding gift can be given to mom and dad before the wedding or after as a birthday or holiday gift. If given before, you can include photos from a special day you had together. After the wedding, this can be given as a little extra thank you with your professional wedding photos that you know they want to display at their home.
4. Tried and True Wedding Gift: Those Hangers
If you haven’t been in a wedding party and been given one these hangers, I know you have seen them before. Maybe on Pinterest, maybe in someone else’s wedding photos, but you have seen them.
This wedding gift is a trend that I have loved as a wedding planner since the day it became “a thing”. The bridesmaids all need a hanger for their dresses and gifting them these hangers with their names is a beautiful sentiment. Bonus? They look great in photos, unlike whatever random hanger your girls bring on the day of.
5. The Tote Every Bridesmaid Needs
Let’s be honest, ladies stuff their purses with plenty of stuff daily. This means on the wedding day, when they can’t fit everything into their dress pockets or itsy bitsy clutch, they will need something to hold their stuff.
I always loved the idea of the bride presenting a few small gifts to her bridesmaids instead of one big ticket item. It’s a more thoughtful wedding gift when there are a few small items like this tote. If you’re the bride that wants to select the necklaces that your bridesmaids wear, you can even use this tote to act as the packaging. Surprise! More stuff!
6. Shave and a Haircut
Assuming the groomsmen have been in a wedding before, or are over the age of 21, it’s safe to assume they all have flasks already. Even if they don’t, unless you have some weird concealed alcohol bond with your guys, a flask is a wedding gift that is done and over.
This shaving kit is such an awesome wedding gift for your groomsmen and even the father of the groom and father of the bride. On the day of the wedding, while the ladies spend 17 hours getting ready, I recommend to my groom that he takes the men in the group for traditional shaves and haircuts. It always results in great pictures and amazing memories. This is the perfect wedding gift whether or not you decide to hit up the barbershop on the wedding day, and one your guys will appreciate.
7. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
Jewelry is the number one wedding gift from a groom to his bride, but after the hardship of selecting the perfect engagement ring, most grooms are done. No matter what your bride wears, if that engagement ring is a diamond, you can bet she’ll wear that same stone in her ears too.
The grooms I work with all want a piece of jewelry that their bride can wear down the aisle. Common concerns? That she won’t like it and then won’t wear it (or will wear it and be miserable). Grooms also worry that their jewelry wedding gift won’t work with the gown, or that the something borrowed will be worn instead. Diamond earrings are classic, so they go with any gown…just check in with mom to make sure you’re not competing with her wedding gift.
Being a bride can be stressful, but being a bridesmaid can make any girl lose her mind. Between attending vendor appointments with the bride to paying more than they thought for the dress and that bachelorette party in Miami you just had to have, it’s not always easy being part of the squad.
Let your ladies know that you appreciate their efforts and you recognize things weren’t always easy with this super cute Revel and Glow wedding gift. It comes with fun bath bombs and anti-wrinkle under eye masks for those tired eyes. This product can check off boxes in the organic, natural and vegan categories too, which means it’s not just an amazing wedding gift, but a really thoughtful one too.
9. Tears of Joy
The one item that I have to replace in my emergency kit after every wedding are the tissues. While the bride and groom might cry, it’s the parents of the couple that tend to shed the most tears. Show how much you know your parents and present them with something they can hold onto all night to wipe away their tears of joy.
You can use the words provided, or you can use your own to be printed on this personalized handkerchief. It’s the perfect accessory for a parent of the bride or the groom, and something they will cherish long after the big day is over.
10. For the Romantic Marriage Ahead
When the wedding is over and the honeymoon has ended, many couples go through a stage of sadness as their is suddenly nothing left to plan. If you spent the better part of a year (or longer) planning your 5 hour party, there’s always a let down when it all comes to an end. This is why I love wedding gifts that can be used for your future.
This picnic bag is the perfect wedding gift for a bride to give her groom or vice versa. Complete with a wine bottle holder, plates, utensils and even a blanket to sit on, this bag has everything for the newlywed couple and the couple going on 20 years. Every time you use it, you’ll think back to your wedding day and be able to look back on how far you have come as a couple.
What wedding gifts are you planning to give? I’d love to hear what creative ideas you all have so be sure to share in the comment section below!