Whether hosting dinner for a huge crowd or dining with an intimate group of close family members the night before your wedding, the rehearsal dinner really kicks off the celebration. It’s traditionally hosted by the parents of the groom, but can the parents of the bride be involved, too? Our experts weigh in.
Before the event itself is planned, both sets of parents may want to discuss the formality and size of the event — with the happy couple, of course! If they have different expectations, such as one set of parents is envisioning dinner for the entire guest list and the other set is imagining something more casual, followed by drinks with anyone who is already in town, it’s best to have these conversations early on. The parents who aren’t hosting should defer to the hosts, especially if the event will end up being smaller than they’d imagined. Having what can essentially turn into a second wedding reception can be very expensive, and they should be respectful of the hosts’ budget!
If the parents of the groom are hosting (read: paying for) the rehearsal dinner, the involvement of the parents of the bride may be minimal once the planning is underway. They will probably be consulted on the guest list and will definitely be asked for contact information for those who will be invited, but their traditional role doesn’t extend much further.
Unless the bride’s parents are paying for some, or all, of the rehearsal dinner, any further involvement should be at the request of the groom’s family. If the bride’s parents are familiar with the area, they might offer to help the parents of the groom find a location -- following the hosts’ desires as far as size and formality, of course! And if the hosts need assistance locating a local florist or a good caterer, the bride’s parents shouldn’t hesitate to offer recommendations.
At the rehearsal dinner, they should allow the groom’s parents to serve as hosts, but should make a point to greet and welcome guests as they arrive. They should introduce their family members and friends to the groom’s parents (if the bride and groom haven’t done so already), and then should follow the hosts’ lead as the evening proceeds.