Brides shouldn't spend the rehearsal dinner preoccupied with stress over the next day's nuptials or fretting over the rehearsal itself going smoothly. After months (possibly years!) of planning, it's about time she let her hair down and relax. So we asked wedding planners for tips on how the star of the show can enjoy actually sit back, relax, and enjoy the party before the party.
Recruit your planner.
Julia Pavlovski, founder of Wedding Wise, cannot overstate the importance of having expert help on hand. "Rehearsal dinners can be almost as overwhelming and elaborate as the wedding day itself," she says. "Ask your coordinator to oversee logistics, meal selections, dinner speeches, etc., so that all you need to do is show up and enjoy the pre-wedding party!" Knowing that the same planner is taking care of things the next day will help you to relax and not stress over any last-minute details.
If you aren't using a planner, ask friends and family to research the best rehearsal location and decorate the space in your preferred color scheme so they take some big tasks off your plate. Or, have one of your more charismatic pals be the emcee for the evening to make sure things run smoothly, Pavlovski says. If your future-in-laws are hosting the dinner, let them take charge and simply show up ready to have a good time.
Trim the guest list.
"When the rehearsal dinner guest count starts skyrocketing, not only does the cost and amount of planning go up, the bride will often find herself playing hostess for all the guests by making sure everyone is welcomed and enjoying their dinner," says Pavlovski. To avoid having to play the same role two nights in a row, opt for a small rehearsal by inviting only people playing a role in the wedding.
Host an early dinner.
A late dinner means less time at the end of the night for unwinding and wrapping up loose ends before getting a full night's sleep. Pavlovski advises that an earlier dinner gives brides more leeway, allowing more time to put the final touches on DIY projects or relax with girlfriends and go to bed early.
Turn over your phone.
This is a great way to embrace your guests without being distracted by your device. Aviva Samuels, founder of Kiss the Planner, recommends handing your phone to a trusted friend or relative who is willing to field calls if a vendor needs to reach you.
Striving for perfection is natural for many brides, but it shouldn't keep you from enjoying the evening before your wedding. Accept the fact that many things are out of your control, which should give you some perspective. "You're marrying the person of your dreams. Isn't that what really matters?" says Samuels. So keep the bigger picture in mind and you'll be ready to sip champagne, mingle, and enjoy your last night as a Miss before becoming a Mrs.