Your wedding will be one of the greatest roles you’ll ever play, so a rehearsal is always in order. Your clergy will be very helpful in setting up the rehearsal time and answering questions, but here is some information you may need to know.

• Whom to invite?
• Who hosts?
• What happens?

Here’s a guideline to help you plan and execute a most memorable rehearsal dinner.

WHO HOSTS: Traditionally, the groom’s parents host the affair. It’s perfectly correct, however, for the bride’s family to do so or another family member on the groom’s side.

WHEN IS IT HELD: The rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner are usually held the night before the wedding. Everyone travels directly from the ceremony rehearsal to the dinner site. Of course, you can have the rehearsal and dinner several days before the wedding if you prefer, especially if it’s to be a morning wedding. You want to be sure everyone is up on time and well rested for the Big Day!

WHO’S INVITED: Send rehearsal dinner invitations after you receive your RSVP’s from your guests. The rehearsal dinner guest list usually includes attendants, immediate family members, spouses/significant others of married attendants, children in the wedding and the parents of child, and the officiant performing the ceremony and his/her spouse. You may also wish to invite any special attendants (musicians, vocalists, readers, guest book, etc.) and also consider inviting out-of-town guests, family relatives, and special friends not involved in the wedding, but that may have traveled long distances for the wedding.

THE CELEBRATION ITSELF: Your rehearsal dinner dose not have to be a dinner at all! It can be a cocktail party, a pool party, a barbecue, or luncheon. It can be formal or informal. The idea is to relax, enjoy and have fun with family and friends.

WHAT GOES ON: Toasts, of course! In fact, they can be longer than at the wedding itself, with more of a “story-telling” touch. You can even perform skits, show videos, movies, or slides. After the host says a few words, the best man offers a toast to the couple. Then, the groom toasts the bride and her parents, the bride toasts the groom and his parents, and so on. The best man acts as master of ceremonies (MC). He should have an organized list for the toasts, etc. and introduce each one, like this: “And now (groom’s name) would like to say a few words.” The MC can also ask the guests if anyone would like to propose a toast. At this time, any other guest or relative can toast the couple.

The rehearsal dinner is also a great time for the bride and groom to give attendants their gifts. This is also a good time for everyone to go over any last-minute details, transportation arrangements, seating and receiving line procedures.

Now that you’re all “rehearsed” and confident, make sure to have a good time with your friends. Remember not to overindulge yourself, you have a big day coming and need to be your best. On this night make sure you get to bed early and get plenty of sleep. As much as your friends would like to ‘Party’, wait until your reception.