One to three days before the wedding, every bride and groom should walk through their ceremony to ensure that all will go smoothly. The bride often honors a good friend by asking her to “stand in” at this preview ceremony, but the bride herself is definitely present and a participant in the rehearsal. Everyone in the wedding party, including the couple’s parents, should attend. Having the group gather about an hour before this customary practice is a good idea, as it gives everyone a chance to socialize and minimizes late arrivals. After the rehearsal itself, the wedding party typically continues the pre-ceremony events at a rehearsal dinner or party, traditionally hosted by the groom’s family. The party can be held in almost any location and can be as formal or casual as you wish. Many restaurants have banquet rooms that are designed for such gatherings, and even though they may not be able to handle a grand reception, they are perfect for these smaller, more intimate celebrations. The bride, of course, will be the center of attention at the wedding reception, but the rehearsal party is often the groom’s night to shine. Menus and décor can be coordinated to suit his tastes, and themed events reflecting his hobbies and interests are very popular. Many a blushing bride has enjoyed making this an opportunity to show off her future husband to friends and family. Entertainment is always a hit at a rehearsal party, and can range from background music with a band or DJ to something a little out of the ordinary (perhaps a magician or a juggling act). Keep in mind, though, that this is usually a family affair. Save the spicier entertainment (and comments) for the bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Check out our list of reception/party locations.