A table with two glasses and a flower arrangement with a couple in the background.

10 FAQs about Planning the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner

You’ve spent months planning your wedding day. From choosing the perfect wedding dress and tux to selecting the right venue and food, you have poured your heart and soul into this day. Now, you’re just down to planning the final small details for your big day, including planning to host a rehearsal dinner.

While planning a rehearsal dinner in Lancaster, PA, can be daunting, choosing the right venue, such as Melhorn Manor, is easy. We know it is the night before your wedding, and the nerves may be creeping in. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure everything goes according to plan and your guests have a great time.

Afterward, you’ll feel prepared for the remainder of your wedding weekend and be able to enjoy the culmination of your months of planning. To help you get started planning your rehearsal dinner, here are 10 frequently asked questions to ensure your rehearsal dinner is perfect in Lancaster, PA. Then, get in touch with us to schedule a tour of our rehearsal dinner venue.

1. Is It Mandatory to Have a Rehearsal Dinner?

While a rehearsal dinner is not required for your wedding, it does give the bride, groom, and family members a chance to get together and celebrate before the big day. You typically run through the actual ceremony, then gather for a special dinner. It’s also an excellent opportunity to introduce the families and friends of both sides and show appreciation to your wedding party by giving them gifts.

This celebration is a bit more relaxed than your reception and allows you and your future spouse to wind down and enjoy the start of a memorable weekend. So, while it isn’t required to have a rehearsal dinner, it is a great way to begin your wedding festivities in a calmer, relaxing atmosphere.

2. How Much Should I Budget for My Rehearsal Dinner?

The average wedding in America cost $34,000 in 2021, just over $30,000 in Lancaster, PA. Of that money, a typical rehearsal dinner costs about $2,300. While it’s just a fraction of your wedding budget, it is still a substantial amount.

Your rehearsal dinner budget can vary depending on the size of your guest list and your chosen location. Ideally, the cost of a rehearsal should not exceed 10% of your total wedding cost. It’s easy to go over budget on your rehearsal dinner, but with proper planning, you can stay within your specified parameters.

3. Who Should Pay for the Rehearsal Dinner?

Traditionally, the groom’s parents are responsible for hosting and paying for the rehearsal dinner. However, depending on your family situation, this may not be possible or desired. Before you host a rehearsal dinner, talk to both families and see the best option for everyone involved.

Some rehearsal dinners are paid for entirely by the couple getting married, while others split the cost between the groom’s and bride’s parents. It’s dependent on your unique situation, the total cost of the rehearsal dinner, and any extras you may want for that night.

4. How Far In Advance Do I Need to Schedule the Rehearsal Dinner?

While you can be flexible about your wedding date based on venue availability and your preferred wedding month, the same can’t be said for the rehearsal dinner. Most rehearsals are the night before the wedding because your out-of-town participants will be available. In unique circumstances, rehearsals may be the weekend before the wedding.

But because the rehearsal date doesn’t offer much flexibility, you must ensure that everything you need, from the venue to the catering, is available the day before your wedding. This scheduling can be challenging in Lancaster, PA, which is a popular wedding destination. You should book your event as soon as you know the date of your wedding to ensure availability.

When you book your rehearsal dinner with us, we can provide you with a list of caterers to simplify your rehearsal dinner planning. Get in touch today to schedule a tour and book your dinner.

5. What Type of Food Should I Serve?

The food you serve at your rehearsal dinner can be more relaxed than your wedding-day fare. Finger, classic comfort, and family-style dishes are good options to satisfy your guests. Don’t forget to include vegetarian and vegan options.

However, if you opt for a more upscale rehearsal dinner, you can find gourmet catering options to satisfy those needs. It’s your preference, but you should at least plan for a few entrée options, plenty of side dishes, tasty desserts, and beverages.

6. What Venue Is Best for a Rehearsal Dinner in Lancaster, PA?

The right venue can make or break your rehearsal dinner. Look for a place that fits the theme of your wedding and one that can accommodate all the guests. For example, if you’re having a barn wedding with us, you can also schedule a barn-themed rehearsal dinner here. We have plenty of barn, parking, and picture opportunity options to help you get the most from your rehearsal.

7. Who Should Be Invited to My Rehearsal Dinner?

Typically, only the wedding party and close family members are invited to a rehearsal dinner. However, consider inviting out-of-town guests that have traveled long distances for your big day to thank them for making the trip. It would be best if you also invited your officiant since they will be involved with the rehearsal before the dinner.

8. Should My Rehearsal Dinner Match My Wedding?

Your rehearsal dinner should complement your wedding day, but it doesn’t have to be an exact match. Pick a theme or color scheme that complements your wedding style and décor. Some couples prefer to keep their rehearsal dinner more casual or intimate than their wedding day, while others prefer formal celebrations for both.

A buffet table full of assorted desserts.

9. Do I Need a Cake at the Rehearsal Dinner?

The cake is a staple at weddings but is not required for a rehearsal dinner. Having some dessert options is customary, but nothing says it must be a cake! You can opt for something simpler like cupcakes, pies, doughnuts, or a cookie bar. Get creative and have fun when deciding on a sweet ending to your dinner.

10. Is There a Strict Order for the Rehearsal Dinner that We Should Follow?

The rehearsal dinner is generally more relaxed than the wedding day. But just like creating a wedding day timeline, you should have a general timeline for your rehearsal dinner. For example, set a start time for your wedding party to meet at your ceremony venue to rehearse. Then, when it’s finished, everyone can return to the dinner venue to celebrate.

You may have a few toasts or speeches from special guests, but you don’t necessarily need to follow a strict order of events. Having a set end time is also helpful to ensure you have time to do everything you need before the morning of your wedding.

Choose Melhorn Manor for a Stunning Rehearsal Dinner in Lancaster, PA

Planning a rehearsal dinner in Lancaster, PA, takes a lot of forethought but is usually one of the most relaxed portions of a wedding. At Melhorn Manor, we aim to make your rehearsal dinner unforgettable and as easy as possible. Our venue offers an elegant yet comfortable atmosphere that will please your guests and fit within your wedding budget. Our experienced staff can advise on rehearsal dinner venues, themes, décor, food selection, and more. Contact us today to start planning your rehearsal dinner!