How To Plan Your Rehearsal Dinner

I'm Kari!

Wedding planner, designer, photographer and creative entrepreneur who helps curate epic events and sparks joy for clients through curated photography art. Let's hang and chat!

hey there

Get My Free
Venue Guide

Gimme that

Sharing more about my personal life, products I love + books I'm reading and daily habits.

TOp categories

Spilling the tea on business and everything I've learned over the last 9+ years as well. 

Check out our prints, our process and why we started the shop and more!

Get inspired with our wedding designs and all the details. Whether it's color, neutral palettes, traditional or very non-traditional. Plus lots of wedding planning tips!

Our Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Tips + Tricks

Fairmont Hotel Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Welcome back, friends! As we enter the spring wedding season, I wanted to dive more into wedding rehearsals + dinners. We’ve talked about what to expect at your wedding rehearsal but after helping our couple, Michael + Maral with their welcome party (see their pics below), I was inspired to share our tips to creating the best wedding rehearsal dinner! 

Who Is Invited to The Rehearsal Dinner?

The first group you should invite to your rehearsal dinner is anyone who is part of the wedding ceremony. Then, most couples also choose to includes any close friends or family members who may not have a big role in the ceremony but, are essential figures in their lives; such as grandparents. Additionally, consider adding any of your guests that have traveled to your wedding as a way to thank them! The caveat is if it’s a destination wedding where everyone has traveled, then this doesn’t necessarily apply. However, whoever you decide to invite to your rehearsal dinner is ultimately up to you. If you want to extend the invite to your entire wedding guest list, there’s no rule saying you can’t! Consider your budget and the vibe you want to have.

Alternatively, you can always keep your rehearsal dinner intimate with your immediate family and wedding party and host a welcome party afterwards with just drinks and maybe light apps for those that are out of town. Maral and Michael did just that by hosting a welcome reception for those that were out of town and then they hosted a private more intimate dinner following that reception. This allowed the other guests to go explore the area and make dinner reservations at great restaurants nearby.

Choosing A Venue

If you have the option, I love when couples are able to have their rehearsal, dinner + wedding at the same venue. (Like this pool side rehearsal dinner in Palm Springs). It helps set the tone for the wedding weekend, and allows guests to get familiar with the space. If it’s not an option for you, choosing a space depends on how many guests you invite (see above) and the type of food you want. Considering hosting at your favorite restaurant or in your hotel with some favorite foods catered in. Each option has a different set of costs associated, especially if you need to include rentals, so keep that in mind when deciding.  

Design + Details

Your rehearsal dinner is a great way to set the tone of your wedding weekend by incorporating similar designs and décor elements that will also be at your wedding day. You can even double up on décor on items like the bar sign, or having custom cocktail napkins at both events. You could also lean into a theme for the rehearsal dinner then use the same color palette for the wedding like this couple did for their country themed wedding welcome party

Guest Speeches

The biggest piece of advice while planning a rehearsal dinner is to allow time for speeches. Guests will want to speak at the reception, understandably. However, a long list of speeches can start to affect other parts of your timeline, such as photos, dances, etc. Therefore, I like to tell couples to limit speeches at the wedding (4 speakers with a 2-3-minute speech maximum). And let’s be honest, when emotions are flowing, most will have more than 3 minutes of things to say! So for anyone else who wants to give a speech, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity. (This is also a great option if they have a hard time speaking in front of large groups.) A small guest count at your rehearsal dinner might help make it easier.  

I hope you found these tips helpful! For more inspiration, check out this casual wedding rehearsal dinner , this lively Sangeet, and my very own intimate rehearsal dinner

And if you’re ready to start planning your own pre-wedding events, contact us on our homepage + let’s chat! 


Planner/Designer: Feathered Arrow Studio

Venue: The Fairmont

Photographer: Kari Tello

Videography: Rempel Co.

Florals: Poppyhill Flowers


Expert Party Planner, Podcaster, and Creative Entrepreneur.

I'm a creative entrepreneur at heart and have been running my business for over 10 years and have planned and executed over 150+ weddings. I'm an expert in this industry and care deeply about my clients and making sure they have the best experience. I just launched a podcast with my work wife, Gabby Pinkerton of Cause We Can Events, called Just Another Biz Podcast! Go check it out!

Learn more

Did you just get engaged and wondering how the heck you should budget for the big day? Download my free guide to help you lay out a budget and how to plan for your big day.  



Download HERE

Take Me to the blog

Before You Go, Don't forget we have free stuff!

If you're looking for free tips to get started planning your dream wedding, head to this blog post for a round up of all our secrets and best planning advice.

© Feathered Arrow Studio 2014 -2023. All rights reserved. | Legal | Design by TONIC


Planning epic celebrations + curating one of kind weddings since 2014. 
Los Angeles based but open to travel!

Feathered Arrow studio