Real Simple Weddings Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Planning Checklist Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Planning Checklist Step by simple step, here’s how to plan a wedding rehearsal dinner for both families to meet, mingle, and relax before the formality of the big day. By Real Simple Editors Advertisement Save FB Tweet More Pinterest Email Send Text Message Print rehearsal-dinner Credit: Getty Images Four to Five Months Before Checklist Book the venue. Even if one partner's parents are taking the reins, you still need to offer options and be available to weigh in. Don't feel constrained to go the restaurant route. A clambake on a beach or a backyard barbecue could be more fun, more you, and ultimately more memorable. Negotiate the costs and the menu. If your guest list is on the longer side, consider serving cocktails and hors d'oeuvres rather than a full meal—or look into a casual, less expensive venue, like a local pizza parlor. Three Months Before Checklist Enlist those you'd like to have give toasts. This will give them time to come up with an unforgettable speech. Generally, the father of the groom, if he's hosting the dinner, speaks first. Then the best man or a return toast from the bride's father, followed by anyone else who wishes to give a proper toast. You and your partner may want to toast each other, welcome family and friends, and thank everyone for being there. Check with the venue about audiovisual equipment. You—or your parents or friends—may have a slideshow or photos planned as entertainment during the toasts. One Month Before Checklist Mail invitations. The guest list should include the wedding party and their spouses or significant others; the parents, stepparents, grandparents, and siblings of the bride and groom; and the officiant. Out-of-town guests and close friends and relatives may be added as well. If entrée selection is involved, include the choices in the invitation. Draw up a seating plan. You'll probably want both sets of parents (and possibly your maid of honor and best man) at your table, which should be centrally located. Other than that, you can choose to keep families and friends together or mix them up into potentially congenial combinations so everyone can get acquainted. Purchase bridesmaids' and groomsmen's gifts to present at the dinner. This is the time to present your wedding party and parents with thank-you gifts. Alternatively, bridesmaids' gifts may be presented at a bridesmaids' lunch or bridal shower. Touch base with the vendors. Reach out to your wedding pros for clarification on any last-minute questions you may have. Order flowers for tables, if desired. Or, if you have a lot of tables, create numbered centerpieces. Send out final payment to vendors, if possible. Now is also the time to set aside envelopes filled with cash tips for your trusted wedding pros, including your planner, officiant, hairstylist, and reception staff. Week of the Wedding Checklist Send the final guest count to the venue. Typically, companies want to finalize their guest lists about 72 hours in advance. Make up place cards for the tables. Place cards may seem superfluous, but dinner guests deserve to know where they're sitting, especially in social settings where not every person knows one another.