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Does the Wedding Planner Come to the Rehearsal Dinner?

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You know you need to add specific people to your rehearsal dinner guest list because they are a vital part of the wedding. But you may be unsure whether to invite other people involved in the wedding – like the wedding planner.

Is it necessary to invite the wedding planner to the rehearsal dinner? Find out below.

Does the wedding planner come to the rehearsal dinner?

Generally, the wedding planner does not come to the rehearsal dinner. However, if the wedding planner is a family member or close friend, they can come to the rehearsal dinner.

Hands Holding Wedding Planner Checklist

Are you having your rehearsal dinner soon and need some clarification? We’ve got you. Below, we talk about the attendees of a rehearsal dinner, the duration of rehearsal dinners, and more.

Does the Wedding Planner Come to the Rehearsal Dinner?

The general notion is that the wedding planner does not come to the rehearsal dinner.

Of course, this does not apply if the wedding planner has a close relationship with the couple. In other words, if the wedding planner is your friend or family, they can come to the rehearsal dinner.

In many opinions, the wedding planner does not need to come to the rehearsal dinner because they can spend that time updating the wedding plans. The planner can also use that time to rest and prepare for the wedding day.

The thought is that the wedding planner should remain in the background, ensuring everything works out. There’s also the notion that the wedding planner is an employee whose role does not mandate attending the rehearsal dinner.

In converse opinions, you may invite the wedding planner to the dinner. Showing up would be like some time off for them. They will enjoy the moment alongside the couple and the couple’s family.

Besides offering them some relaxation, having the wedding planner at your rehearsal dinner can be beneficial.

For one, they could meet important people (like the bridal party) and receive feedback on some of the wedding plans. Also, if the planner is around, they can improve and alter details to make the event better on the wedding day.

Overall, it is up to you to decide whether you want to invite the wedding planner to your rehearsal dinner. It is also up to the wedding planner to accept or decline your invitation.

Some planners decline because they aren’t comfortable around so many strangers. Then others feel it’s a time for family, so they shouldn’t intrude.

Who Usually Attends the Rehearsal Dinner?

friends toasting at dinner

As said before, you add specific people to your rehearsal guest list because they are a vital part of the dinner.

These people vital to your rehearsal dinner include your mother, father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, siblings, your partner’s siblings, and the wedding party.

The officiant and the ceremony reader are also vital, so they usually attend the rehearsal dinner.

Generally, everyone who is present at the wedding rehearsal can attend the rehearsal dinner. Also, any married member of the wedding party can get an invite for their spouse.

Besides everyone stated above, you may also extend the rehearsal dinner invitation to the following people:

  • A plus-one for the members of the wedding party, even if they are unmarried.
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles
  • Aunts
  • Cousins

While the rehearsal dinner offers the families some time to bond, consider your budget and space when making the guest list.

If you want, you may invite out-of-town guests to your rehearsal dinner. But do this only if you have a few out-of-town guests. If you have many guests coming from out of town, inviting them all to the dinner might leave you with too big of a party.

Inviting out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner is a way to show appreciation for their effort to travel for the wedding. To make things easier for such guests, you can have the rehearsal dinner not far from their hotels.

Should Kids Be Invited to Rehearsal Dinner?

There are various notions on inviting kids to the rehearsal dinner.

Some say you may invite kids to the rehearsal dinner if they are invited to the wedding. Of course, if you invite kids to a rehearsal dinner, their parents must also be involved.

It would be best if you made arrangements for activities to keep the kids engaged. You could also get a babysitter to watch them.

mother and her pretty child girl having dinner in a restaurant

Who Plans the Rehearsal Dinner for a Wedding?

Ordinarily, the plans and cost of the rehearsal dinner for a wedding are up to the groom’s family.

But these days, there is no strict rule. The couple can plan their rehearsal dinner. Any close family member or friend can also fund and plan the rehearsal dinner.

In any case, whoever plans the rehearsal dinner should let the couple know about the plans. This way, they can avoid planning a rehearsal dinner that will affect the wedding plans.

How Long Does a Rehearsal Dinner Last?

Generally, rehearsal dinners last two to three hours. So you may schedule yours to last within the same range.

When creating a schedule for your rehearsal dinner, factor in the time it would take for the guests to arrive from the rehearsal location. Of course, this only applies if the rehearsal dinner isn’t in the same place as the rehearsal.

Ensure the guests do not spend too much time trying to get to the dinner location by choosing a place no more than 30 minutes away from the rehearsal.

The Timeline

Guests Arrival

People typically set aside 30 minutes for the guests to arrive from the rehearsal location and settle down. But you can work with what applies best to your situation.

The Dinner

The actual rehearsal dinner typically lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Other Activities

For non-dining activities like speeches and games, 10 to 30 minutes should do. You could schedule some of these “other activities” between dessert and the final course.

Some Other Things You Should Factor Into Your Rehearsal Dinner Timeline

  • You can allot more than 30 minutes for speeches and other activities if you have to. Just customize the 2-3 hour block to suit your specifics.
  • More times than not, people have the rehearsal dinner after the rehearsal. However, it does not always have to be this way; you can have a pre-rehearsal lunch if you want.
  • Try to end the rehearsal dinner early enough. You, the wedding party, the guests, and everyone else will need to rest for the big day.

Do Bride and Groom Sit With Parents at Rehearsal Dinner?

The bride and groom do sit with their parents at the rehearsal dinner. It is customary to reserve the two best seats for the couple, and those seats should be beside their parents.

Also, if the dinner host is someone besides their parent, the host should sit close to the couple.

Laughing members of the family holding glasses of wine during dinner

Do You Give Gifts at Rehearsal Dinner?

As the bride or groom, you can give gifts to the guests at the rehearsal dinner. However, it is not customary for guests to bring you gifts at the rehearsal dinner.

The wedding reception is where guests present their gifts to the couple.


Generally, wedding planners do not come to the rehearsal dinner except if they have a close relationship with the couple. You may invite your wedding planner to your rehearsal dinner if you want.

However, know that each wedding planner has different policies. While some will accept an invitation to the rehearsal dinner, others will decline.