How Can I Help: Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Reception

Almost every wedding that takes place at French’s Point is a family affair for our clients. Often times parents and other family and friends participate in the wedding planning at various points in the process. Many hands make light work, right? With such a momentous occasion to look forward to, it is very common for family to offer their assistance as wedding plans are being made. We find that many mothers of the bride and mothers of the groom, in particular, really want to help. However, they don’t know exactly what they can do to help the happy couple with their plans, without overstepping the bounds of “helpful.” In this How Can I Help blog series, we will offer some ideas about how you can help your son or daughter and their partner with the planning. In our last post in this series, we offered ways you can assist with the Venue Search. This time, we will discuss how you can provide support relative to the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal Dinner and/or Welcome Reception?

Here are a few options to consider for wedding-related events that usually take place the day before a wedding:

  1. Ceremony Rehearsal – Typically takes an hour for the wedding couple, the wedding party and officiant to walk through the ceremony planned for the following day. It is important to keep the wedding rehearsal limited to the people involved in the ceremony to ensure questions are addressed and you can make it to the rehearsal dinner on time.
  2. Rehearsal Dinner – Can be open to just the wedding party and family participating in the wedding ceremony for an intimate affair or can be open to the whole guest list. This event typically takes place around dinner-time the night before the wedding.
  3. Welcome Reception – Typically open to the entire guest list. Allows an open arrival time over the course of 2 – 3 hours. These events often have a bar available and hors d’oeuvres or bite-sized sweet treats and take place sometime between 6 – 10 p.m. Make sure you understand the Maine laws around serving alcohol.

Questions to Ask Before Planning the Pre-Wedding Festivities

Before you begin making plans, we suggest you have a candid conversation with the future married couple and ask them about their vision of the wedding rehearsal dinner and/or welcome reception. Because traditionally the parents of the bride are the major contributors to the wedding day, it has historically been the case that the parents of the groom contribute toward the expense of the events around the rehearsal dinner. But these traditions have changed and are different for each family and circumstance. So, identifying who wishes and is able to contribute toward the cost of these events and who wishes to be in charge of planning the event is an important place to begin before planning this event.

Here are the questions you need to ask:

  • What will it look like?
  • Who will plan it?
  • Who will pay for it?
  • What is the budget?

Once these questions of have been answered, you can now begin the planning process.

Possible Pre-Wedding Day Timeline

We have had a number of clients opt to have the ceremony rehearsal at 5 p.m., and then host an intimate Rehearsal Dinner lobster bake, BBQ, or wood fired pizza party from 6 – 8 p.m. followed by a welcome cocktail reception for the entire guest list from 8 – 10 p.m. where desserts are served. I think this is my favorite combination of experiences. It gives the family and wedding party some quality time together to celebrate before they additional guests are welcomed to the weekend wedding festivities.

You can opt to host these events here at French’s Point, or you can host them at one of the alternative event locations in the area. Regardless of where you have the rehearsal dinner or welcome reception, you will want to talk about the plans with the happy couple to make sure the event is customized in a way that reflects who they are and the tone they want to set for the wedding weekend.

Featured photo by Mikhail Glabets Lifestyle Photography.