Elizabeth Swanson, BRIDES
Mix in-laws and out-of-town guests with your own pre-wedding nerves, then add alcohol and public speaking-what's not to love about the second-biggest party you'll ever throw? Our step-by-step plan to kicking the weekend off right. Cheers!
1. WORK WITH YOUR WEDDING
"Think of the rehearsal dinner and the reception as parts of one event-the wedding weekend," says Richard Nix Jr., owner of Butler's Pantry Catering & Events, in St. Louis. Having a formal wedding? Consider complementing it with a more low-key event. A huge trend is to serve up regional comfort foods, like a lobster boil or pig roast. "We threw a Vices of Virginia dinner before a Halloween wedding in The Plains," says Maria Cooke of Ritzy Bee Events, in Washington, D.C. "There were local wines, oysters, bourbon milkshakes, and a cigar roller. It was totally sinful, and guests loved it."
2. DO THE MATH
The average cost of a rehearsal dinner is $1,330-about one-twentieth of the price