Our rehearsal dinner very closely rivaled our wedding in terms of how special and fun it was to me. Here are my best tips to make yours equally awesome:
Love your look My best friend once said she thinks brides can look even more beautiful the night of their rehearsal dinner. I knew exactly what she meant - although then I felt pressure to live up to it. But brides can glow with anticipation on this night, take some fashion risks, wear something short, let their hair down... It's an opportunity to go in a completely different direction than you will on your wedding day and to have fun.
DON'T TAKe IT LITERALLY Breaking from tradition, we decided to have the rehearsal dinner on Thursday because we knew our crowd would keep the party going as late as humanly possible and we wanted to support that! I loved having the freedom to stay up as late as I wanted - and drink as much as I wanted - without worrying about getting up early for hair, make-up... and vows the next day.
Speak Up about speeches Everyone varies on their love or hatred for speeches -- personally, I'm a big fan and since we had our venue for the entire night, I wasn't concerned about how long people spoke for. I told all of my bridesmaids ahead of time that they were welcome to say something, and should also feel zero obligation to. I think that balance was key because everyone who spoke felt prepared, had something to say, and felt comfortable doing so. My husband wasn't so clear and wished he had been because a few of his close friends didn't speak thinking he would have specifically asked them to if he'd wanted them to.
Devote some SOLID time to cocktail hour Just like at the wedding, I think a good 60-90 minutes lets everyone warm up and sets the right tone for the night.
TAKE MUSIC SERIOUSLY As with the wedding, music was SUPER important to me and I did not want to rely on the venue's house music so that this could be a real dinner party, not just a dinner. Months in advance, while I had the time and mental bandwidth, I made a playlist that worked well with our venue and for dinner conversation, and then a more festive playlist for what became a huge dance party after dessert.
A few of my favorite photos from our rehearsal dinner, in order of classy to messy:)