The Purpose of a Rehearsal Dinner

You have everything prepared for your wedding, and now it’s time for the big day. If you are feeling a little nervous, you are not alone. To alleviate the prenuptial jitters, many couples and their wedding parties opt for a rehearsal. Wedding rehearsals are helpful in ensuring the only thing that gets hitched on the wedding day are the newlyweds-to-be. They are test runs for the events of the day, allowing the wedding party to gather and review the ceremony and their roles. It is customary for the rehearsal to be followed by a wedding rehearsal dinner. If you have never attended a rehearsal dinner or are planning one of your own, keep reading to learn about the different aspects of the dinner and how you can get prepared!

The History

The original rehearsal dinners began as little gatherings in the churchyard the day before the ceremony. They were typically small barbeques or cookouts, increasing in importance and scale throughout the years.

Modern-day rehearsal dinners have become integral to the success of the wedding. These dinners have grown to become significantly more elaborate and far larger than their humble backyard origins. With so many components, vendors, and guests to coordinate, a rehearsal day and the subsequent dinner are the best way to gather all of the participants together to practice. The rehearsal dinner is meant to bring your two families together before the big day and go through test runs to make certain everything goes smoothly.

Who Attends the Rehearsal Dinner?

The guest list for the rehearsal dinner can be very different from the wedding day total guest list. If you have a huge wedding planned, the rehearsal dinner will be much smaller and more intimate. So who should you invite the night before?

A typical rehearsal dinner is limited to the wedding party with a few other participants from the ceremony included, such as the ushers, readers, and of course, the parents and grandparents.

In recent years, these dinners have expanded to include select guests, usually close friends. With it more common to travel greater and greater distances to attend a wedding, occasionally early arriving out of town guests will be invited to the dinner as well.

The Location

Since the rehearsal dinner is a crucial component of the wedding and the planning, choosing a beautiful, memorable location for this event is undeniably important. The Event Center in a Historic Barn™ at Green Acres makes hosting a magical, memorable dinner as easy as walking through the doors of our gorgeous space. Its rustic charm updated with modern conveniences make a beautiful backdrop for an elegant evening.

What Does A Typical Rehearsal Dinner Include?

Though there is not a strict schedule or formula that all rehearsal dinners follow, a few common features are customary on that evening. Don’t worry! We’ll break down the course of events.


As the name suggests, dinner is the focal point of the evening. With a more selective guest list and many participating in the events of the day, an elegant, carefully curated menu with attention to detail sets the tone for the ceremony the next day. It shows how much you appreciate the contributions of everyone in attendance.

If you choose to host your rehearsal dinner at Green Acres Event Center, you will be able to experience catering that perfectly compliments our gorgeous event space. Green Acres Event Center proudly partners with local award-winning catering companies. These companies offer complete packages including staffing by their experienced catering teams and, of course, exquisite menu options providing you with an abundance of delectable dishes. 


In a similar vein, many couples choose to present the wedding party and parents with gifts as a thank you for their support. These are typically given at the rehearsal dinner.


Toasts are also made at the rehearsal dinner and are usually given by the hosts of the evening. This can be the parents or close friends of the couple. If you are looking to reduce the number of speeches given on the actual wedding day, asking more friends and family to contribute their thoughts during the rehearsal dinner is a great way to cut down the run time.


You’ll want to treat your guests for being extra sweet with dessert. Many choose to cut the groom’s cake the evening before the wedding.


Tried and True Rehearsal Dinner Tips

Give It Personality

Your rehearsal dinner sets the tone for the rest of the events. With its smaller scale, staying true to who the couple is by weaving in elements of their personality keeps things fun and light. Small things like naming a drink after a shared pet or incorporating a favorite hobby give the evening a little spark.

Short and Sweet

After a long day of reviewing the ceremony and preparing for the big day, a short, simple, intimate gathering will keep everyone excited. Guests, especially those who may have traveled to attend, will appreciate a quicker dinner so they can get some rest and prepare for the most important event the next day!

Comfort Is Key

Nerves tend to run high in anticipation of such a major event, so successful rehearsal dinners maintain a joyous, relaxed tone. You will also probably have many guests in attendance who are just meeting for the first time. The rehearsal dinner is an excellent opportunity to promote mingling in a casual setting.


Plan Your Rehearsal Dinner at Green Acres Event Center in Eden Prairie, MN

For your rehearsal dinner, you want to show your guests and the members of your wedding party how much they mean to you with an elegant, intimate rehearsal dinner. Ambiance is everything at Green Acres Event Center, and there is no better way to create an enchanting evening for you and your guests than at our Historic Barn™, which has received many honors that include The Knot’s “Best of Wedding Hall of Fame for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.” If you are looking to create a magical evening to treat you and your guests before the big day, contact Eden Prairie’s premier event space, Green Acres Event Center, for your wedding rehearsal dinner today!

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