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Wedding Planning 101: Your Rehearsal Dinner

An engaged couple pose for photos at a beer garden. Photo: Sarah Alleman
Photo: Sarah Alleman

Your Rehearsal Dinner is the time to reflect and enjoy the company of close friends and family before the big event. It’s a wonderful time to present gifts to family members and the wedding party and thank them for supporting you during all of your wedding festivities. Restaurants, hotels and other establishments on The NOW List are some of the best in Southeast Louisiana. Visit some of our amazing vendors and sample what they have to offer!



The Rehearsal Dinner is traditionally held in the last few days leading up to the wedding. If you’re having an actual rehearsal at your ceremony site, the rehearsal dinner would follow immediately after. If you are not having a rehearsal, you can schedule the rehearsal dinner at the time that works best for you and your guests. Be sure to check travel itinerary for any out of town guests and bridal party members that you want to be present for the rehearsal!


There are no rules for the location, but ideally it will be somewhere convenient to the ceremony site (if you’re doing an actual wedding rehearsal). Private residences, restaurants or a unique location special to the couple are all great options.


All immediate family (parents, grandparents, siblings and spouses), members of the wedding party (and their plus ones), and out of town guests; other wedding guests may be invited if the budget allows.




This is entirely dependent upon the couples’ desires, the wedding style and the hosts’ budget. Anything from an informal backyard crawfish boil to the most formal 5 course seated dinner at a restaurant is appropriate.

Popular venues book far in advance. Make sure to secure your site at least 3 months prior to your wedding


Book your rehearsal venue, caterer and other vendors at least 3-6 months prior to the event date. If you would like a very popular or specific location, it is wise to reserve your location as far in advance as possible.



1. Do you want a formal, seated rehearsal dinner or something more casual? What places do you love that might be good locations for this event?

2. Will your ideal location be an appropriate size for your expected guest count?

3. Is there convenient and sufficient parking available? ADA accessibility?

4. Will you want to bring in entertainment (Jazz Trio? Piano player?)?

5. Will you want to bring in décor and florals?

6. Will you want a photographer or videographer to capture this party?

7. Will you want to give any formal speeches? If yes, be sure to let everyone who you’d like to speak know in advance so they can prepare.

8. Is there a rain plan available for outdoor locations?

Signature Cocktail bar at a wedding reception. Photo: Sarah Alleman
Choose your favorite drinks as the Signature Cocktails for your Rehearsal Dinner to add a fun, personal touch to the party. Photo: Sarah Alleman

Here are some great planning tools

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