Monday, January 22, 2007

Rehearsal Dinners

I offer a quick diversion from perfume to discuss what was my obsession for nearly three months of last year - wedding planning. My husband and I managed to say "no" to just about everything that was expected of us (within reason). Therefore, I am very intrigued by the wedding industry's insistence that every couple must plan certain events. Case in point: the infamous rehearsal dinner.

American culture is truly hilarious sometimes. What is the purpose of a rehearsal dinner? To rehearse a dinner? To spend more money? This poignant question was asked by a very innocent poster on a wedding board recently and I thought, "Brilliant!!" What is the point of a rehearsal dinner? My husband and I, newlyweds that we are, chose not to have one since our ceremony was private. Had we had a traditional wedding, I don't know that we would have needed to rehearse anything the night before a very stressful, busy day. Goodness knows, we certainly didn't need the added stress, on our pocketbooks or our psyches.

What we did choose rather was a post-wedding brunch, graciously hosted by my mother for our out-of-towners the day after our wedding. It was fantastic! We got to rehash the spectacular reception, share digital photos from the event, mix it up in a less formal environment (I highly recommend someone's home) and generally put a cap on the weekend.

However, with my curiosity piqued I did some research on this peculiar American tradition. Apparently, rehearsal dinners give the groom an opportunity to host an event that can be casual or formal. Most times, this dinner follows a ceremony rehearsal but not always. Both families get to meet each other before the festitivities while toasts and roasts abound. For larger weddings, the rehearsal dinner gives wedding parties the opportunity to become familiar with the ceremony location and grounds. It also gives the bride and groom an opportunity to gift the wedding party. According to etiquette, those invited should include immediate family, wedding-party members and their spouses and significant others, parents of any child attendants (children are optional), the officiant and his or her spouse.

I would encourage grooms and brides-to-be to get creative if they choose to have this event. There is no need to spend an inordinate amount of money. A cocktail party or a home-cooked meal will suffice. Besides, since you will all be one big happy family, why not see how they interact in a casual setting? It will be interesting for certain. The wedding business will encourage you to spend, spend, spend and host dinner at your ceremony location. This is unnecessary and there are other wedding expenses the groom can pick up. My husband and I split our wedding expenses down the middle and it worked beautifully for us. Besides, if you over spend when it's all said and done, you will simply become a married couple with debt. I would much rather be a happily married, financially secure couple as the result of playing it smart. Best wishes to all!

No comments: