5 Rehearsal Dinner Planning Mistakes to Avoid

wedding rehearsal dinner tips

There are so many details that go into planning a wedding. Everywhere you look a box that needs to get checked, a decision that needs to get made, details or items that need to get ordered in time for the wedding. The wedding's rehearsal dinner can often times get lost in all of the planning, because it isn’t part of the wedding day itself! Today, it is all about the night before the big show! We are talking about all of those rehearsal dinner planning mistakes and things to avoid when organizing the perfect rehearsal dinner.

If you are looking for what to wear, don't miss our post on best wedding rehearsal dinner accessory ideas and we have this post on what to wear to your rehearsal dinner. You know we love the fashion around here!

flowers for rehearsal dinner


I’ve shared quite a bit of wedding planning advice and recommendations on all things rehearsal dinner planning and prep. I even wrote this post on my favorite rehearsal dinner invitation ideas. I hope you’ve found everything you need to plan the perfect night before the wedding day!

Traditionally, the one family handles the planning and preparation for the rehearsal dinner while the other family does for the wedding day. If you plan to do the same, great! You can find helping hands and individuals who may want to take the lead and give you a break while you focus on the wedding day itself. Alternatively, you may be planning the rehearsal and wedding day all on your own. This is great too, because you can be really thoughtful about how the rehearsal and wedding relate to one another and the experiences your guests will have at both.

In either case, check out some important mistakes to avoid to make sure that your rehearsal dinner is just as memorable as the wedding ceremony and celebration itself!

rehearsal dinner tips

Photo Credit: Amanda Adams Photography

1. Forgetting The Little Details  

The rehearsal dinner is an event in and of itself, don’t forget to give it a little love and attention! A guest list should be made, invitations and RSVPs tracked, and put a little bit of time and energy towards what the night will look and feel like! Do you want a formal sit down dinner with just the immediate wedding party, or a big cocktail welcome reception for all out of town guests?

Once you decide what event you want, give some style to the event too! Don’t forget flowers, decorations, and other fun celebratory details that can really make the night special. It doesn’t have to be too much or too expensive, just something to show you put some time and consideration into the rehearsal dinner plans too!

2. Outshining the Wedding Day

While you take the time to make the rehearsal dinner special, consider how it relates to the wedding day too. This is especially important if different families or individuals are paying for the various events over the course of the wedding weekend and you don’t want one “outdoing” the other in planning efforts.

The big “wow” moment should be the wedding day itself, that is why everyone is coming together isn’t it?! So, just be mindful of how the decorations, flowers, and even meal compares to the wedding day.

Are you serving only beer and wine at the wedding? Maybe stick to the same at the rehearsal and not have an open bar. Are the wedding day florals very simple, with minimal centerpieces? Maybe opt out of a big, floral display at the rehearsal then.

While the rehearsal dinner planners may want to go "all out" planning a special moment for the happy couple - which is SO sweet and amazing - be sure to not outshine the wedding itself and find a happy balance between planning an amazing rehearsal (in its own right!) in partnership with the wedding.  

3. Forgetting Important Guests

Deciding the guest list for the rehearsal dinner can be difficult. At the end of the day, the people you want at the rehearsal dinner is completely up to you. Whether it is just the wedding party itself, immediate family, or out of town guests - think about what type of night you want before the wedding day. One that is close-knit, quiet, and an early evening? Or one that is celebratory, engaging, and a later night saying "hello" to all your wedding guests who have already arrived in town?

Whichever you decide to do, be thoughtful when creating your invitation list so you don’t accidentally leave someone out. I image you’d hate to hear from a one wedding guest that he or she didn’t get an invite to your rehearsal dinner, but heard that some other friends or family members did!  

4. Not Taking Everyone’s Considerations Into Account

If you are the bride or groom and are leading the planning efforts, be sure to take into consideration your parents', friends', and guests' preferences. Especially if your parents are more traditional and had hoped to part of the planning process. They can respect your wishes to take charge in planning while you return the favor by asking what their hopes and wishes are for the evening.

If you are a parent, member of the bridal party, or friend who is tasked with planning the rehearsal dinner evening, don’t forget to consider what the happy couple wants! Ask what they envision for the evening and take the lead to make that dream a reality!

The last thing you want to do is accidentally hurt feelings because you didn’t include people in the planning effort, so it doesn’t hurt to always ask for thoughts and ideas along the planning process way.

5. Forgetting To Plan One!

Don’t forget to actually plan a rehearsal dinner! With all of the effort and detail that goes into planning the wedding day itself, the night before might take a back seat until it is too late to plan the rehearsal dinner you really want.

Ask for help and spread the planning out across the wedding party to make sure that the rehearsal dinner gets planned, invitations are sent out, and everything is taken care of. Even if it is a simple backyard hang out over beers and pizza, get the details ironed out ahead of time, so it is smooth sailing once the wedding weekend officially kicks-off!


There you have it! A few of the most important mistakes to avoid while planning your wedding rehearsal dinner. Has this helped point out some potential pitfalls in the planning process that you can be sure to not fall into?

The rehearsal dinner is the moment when your wedding weekend really becomes real. You’ve run through the ceremony and have a moment to begin the celebrations with those you love. Enjoy it!

Don’t stress out too much about all of the planning and details, just be sure to block off some time during the wedding planning process to put your efforts towards the rehearsal. Think about what you envision for the evening, and then ask others to help you make it a reality!   

Remember, you can shop for garter heirloom anytime in my garter shop or get in touch with me at info@thegartergirl.com for information on custom designing a garter just for you! Also, if you have any more garter questions, check out my garter 101 blog series or find all of my wedding planning advice on my blog too!

wedding day emergency kit - pre-packed bridal fashion emergency kit from The Garter Girl