The Reasons Behind the Rehearsal Dinner: Is It Necessary?

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Table setting at a luxury wedding reception

 Whether you’ve been a member of a bridal party or you just know a decent amount about weddings, you’ve probably asked yourself “Why do we have rehearsal dinners? Although this event might seem superfluous, especially when the couple has already hosted numerous soirees, asking “What is it?” can actually lead you to some reasonable answers.

Meeting Relatives and Close Friends

When you ask why we have rehearsal dinners, you’re probably assuming that all couples’ relatives and close friends know one another before the wedding weekend arrives. While that is often the case, not everyone lives near their family and friends. By asking if they are necessary you are, in some cases, asking if it is important for the couples’ loved ones to know each other. Since the couple plans to unite their families into one, the answer is yes. The rehearsal dinner allows people to meet one another if they have not done so before.

Allocating Time for Speeches

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During the wedding, the maid or matron of honor and the best man usually speak. Sometimes, other people make a toast as well. However, if the reception is packed with speeches, guests are probably going to start getting bored. Couples can ask relatives and friends who will not have a chance to speak at the wedding if they would like to talk during the rehearsal dinner. Couples themselves can use this time to thank their closest relatives and friends for playing a role in their day.

Practicing the Ceremony

Couples who are marrying in a house of worship are often required to have a rehearsal. The officiant wants to ensure that everyone knows when to exit and enter and where to stand before the wedding day. People doing readings may also come to the rehearsal so that they are aware of their cues during the actual ceremony. Throwing a dinner reception after the rehearsal is a way of thanking bridal party members and family for coming to this additional event.

Allowing the Grooms’ Parents to Host

Tradition has often dictated that the brides’ parents pay for the wedding. While this tradition has started to fall to the wayside to some degree, the bride’s parents often do tend to put in more money toward the wedding than do the groom’s. Therefore, the bride and her family get more of a chance to host the event. The rehearsal dinner provides the groom’s parents with an opportunity to do so as they are traditionally the ones who host.

Reviewing Final Details

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Even if the couple is not hosting an actual rehearsal at a house of worship or the ceremony site, they may still have a rehearsal. Now, you might really ask, “What is it for?” On the day of the wedding, couples are usually quite busy getting ready. They do not have the time to provide instructions to all of their bridal party members about where to be, what to do and where to go. During the rehearsal dinner, they can distribute a timeline or a pamphlet of information for the upcoming day to ensure that everyone knows what to do.

Helping Children to Feel Comfortable

Many couples decide to have children in their weddings. When the kids see the doors open on the wedding day, they might panic. Therefore, the rehearsal gives them an opportunity to get a bit familiar with the idea of walking down the aisle. When no rehearsal happens, kids can at least get used to the other people in the bridal party. They may not want to walk down the aisle after a stranger; however, if they establish good rapport with another bridal party member the night before, that person can help coax the kids through the steps.

The rehearsal dinner can also help kids get comfortable in another way, which goes back to another one of the answers to “What is it for?” Sometimes, both members of the couple may already have children. While the kids have likely spent a decent amount of time together, they may not have had time with the other relatives or friends. The rehearsal dinner gives them a chance to get more comfortable around these people.

Wedding banquet table with baby blue gifts
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Distributing Gifts

Although the tradition of  the grooms parents paying for the dinner might be changing a bit in the modern era, that is not really true for the tradition of giving gifts. Couples usually buy presents for the people in the bridal parties and for close relatives who are associated with the event as well. They may also purchase these presents for their readers. Trying to distribute gifts during a wedding, no matter how small or casual the soiree might be, can prove overwhelming for brides and grooms. Therefore, they can take the time to give out these presents during the rehearsal dinner.

Celebrating Love

Some people become grumpy and sour when they hear that they need to attend another wedding event or that an invitation for another event has arrived in the mail. These individuals should consider what it is that they are celebrating at these events. The world is filled with so much anger and hatred. Therefore, taking the time to celebrate a joyous occasion is a smart idea instead of continuing to contribute to the negativity that frames so many environments. Rehearsal dinners exist because they are another way for people to get together in a positive atmosphere.

Whether or not the rehearsal dinner is truly necessary depends upon your perspective. However, think about how it can help you to coordinate better and to celebrate more.

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