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Here’s a take that’s not hot at all: wedding are expensive. Like, really expensive. You’re ready to splurge on a raw bar, transportation, and even a brunch the next day for hungover guests, but what are you doing dropping money on a rehearsal dinner the night before, right? WRONG! Wedding rehearsals and rehearsal dinners are super important to making sure your wedding day runs as smoothly as those oysters slip down people's’ throats. (Ew?)

Even if you know you need to have a wedding rehearsal, you might be wondering what exactly you do at it. Do you actually rehearse your vows? Who needs to be there? And is a dinner afterward really necessary? Who all gets invited? If you’re wondering about any of these things, you’re definitely not alone. We’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about having a wedding rehearsal, and here’s one more important reason to get excited about it: wedding rehearsals and rehearsal dinners are the kickoff party to your special weekend, so make them count.

You And Your Wedding Party Get To Give Things A Trial Run Before The Big Day

The actual wedding rehearsal is crucial so that all of the people — including the adorable flower girls — know just where to stand and when they’re allowed to sit on your wedding day. Think of the rehearsal as a way to minimize stress on your actual day — rehearsing is the only way to confirm all of the details with your officiant, family, and wedding party.

During The Dinner, You Get To Relax… And Eat

The night before your wedding, you definitely need to eat. If you drink, you can indulge in some adult beverages to take the edge off and enjoy your guests. The rehearsal dinner allows you to eat and relax with family and friends. It’s entirely up to the bride and groom, bride and bride, or groom and groom to decide who they want to invite to the dinner, but family and wedding parties are standard. (If you’re having a destination wedding, you may want to invite more people or host welcome drinks as well.)

Rehearsal Dinners Start The Party

Traditionally, speeches are given at both the rehearsal dinner and the reception, so think of the dinner as the official start to your wedding. If you have a member of the wedding party who is not slated to speak on the big day, but who you know would make an excellent toast, invite them to do so at your rehearsal. The rehearsal is also a great time to mingle with guests you may not see on your big day — especially if you’re having a giant wedding. It also allows out-of-towners to get to know each other ahead of the ceremony.

Written by: Kimym Foskett