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Wedding Rehearsal Planning Guide, featuring The Lochte’s!



The rehearsal dinner. The last hoorah before the big day, and an event that’s just as important as any other aspect in the wedding planning process. It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding planning, and some often forget about their rehearsal dinner. If you aren’t even sure where to start and are having some planning anxiety, we’re here to help! Here’s your ultimate guide to your rehearsal dinner!

We’re so excited to feature and share an intimate rehearsal dinner that was planned for our very own, Kayla & Ryan Lochte. We were able to chit chat with Kayla about her rehearsal dinner and what she enjoyed most about the whole experience.

“What I loved about our rehearsal dinner most was the intimate setting with our closest friends and family. Family is everything to Ryan and I, so to share such a special night before a special yet busy day is what we needed. Everything was amazing! ” – Kayla Lochte

What is a rehearsal dinner?

An intimate gathering that’s held after ceremony rehearsal at your venue or set location. It can be one day or two days before the actual wedding day and is a great opportunity to spend time with your family and close friends before the wedding day.


Who do you invite to your rehearsal dinner?

Rehearsal dinners are meant to be intimate and considerably smaller than your actual wedding guest count. Anyone involved in the ceremony is typically invited. Family in the ceremony, the officiant and the bridal party along with their dates. If you have out of town guests you might also consider inviting them to join in the festivities which will also act as a welcome party for them.


Who hosts the rehearsal dinner?

Traditionally, the Groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner. However, these days there’s no right or wrong. To help determine, we say whomever has more out of town guests that they might be inviting to the rehearsal dinner should host the gathering.


Where do I host the rehearsal dinner?

The rehearsal dinner sets the tone for the wedding day, but it should never up stage it. It can be extravagant and held at an upscale restaurant, or be relaxed and casual. We’ve seen brunches and late afternoon canapés and cocktails instead of a formal dinner. It really just depends on what the couple hopes for.


Do you send formal invitations for a rehearsal dinner?

This is personal preference. I’ve seen this done as an e-vite, or I’ve seen a formal invitation. If you are stumped on what to do I would consider the location. Nevertheless, send the rehearsal dinner invite one month before. If you have a lot of out of town guests that you hope to attend, I would send it along with your formal invitation. Please consider etiquette here and talk with your planner!


What can I incorporate at a rehearsal dinner besides the food?

I always say a rehearsal dinner can essentially act as a platform for incorporating anything you aren’t in your actual wedding day. For example games or a slideshow of the couple. It’s also a good time to have additional toasts that wouldn’t have been heard at the actual wedding. Maybe one of your groomsmen, who won’t be giving a toast on the big day, wants to say a few words. You can even open up the floor to anyone to give a toast. It makes for some great stories and laughs throughout the evening!


How long should a rehearsal dinner last?

I wouldn’t make your rehearsal dinner more than 4 hours. Remember, it’s just a small gathering before the actual wedding day. The last thing you want is to be exhausted after a long night before. Keep it short and sweet, and maybe hold off on the extra libations!



Venue: Morrow Ranch La Quinta || Photography: Chard Photo ||  Florals & Design: Bottles & Blooms || Linens: BBJ Linen || Catering: The Grand Food & Beverage || Makeup: Tammy Pham Makeup || Hair: Hair with Amanda || Bridal Attire: Rime Arodaky


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