The rehearsal dinner is the best place to relax right before the wedding. The name is exactly what the event actually is. It is the dinner after your rehearse the wedding. The dinner is usually held the night before the wedding. The couple and the wedding party will meet at the ceremony location and the officiant will go through the wedding process with them. Afterwards, the rehearsal dinner is held in celebration of the upcoming wedding.
The rehearsal dinner is usually hosted (and paid for) by the groom’s parents. Sometimes the couple may choose to pay for the party, or it may be a collective effort by both sets of parents. The party can be formal or completely casual and does not need to be based on your wedding style (formal wedding doesn’t mean formal dinner).
Typically, the rehearsal dinner guests will just be the couple, their immediate family, and the attendants. Some couples choose to invite more people though- up to 75 guests for the dinner. You may choose to invite close friends or relatives- generally whoever you want to invite can be invited. Make sure you get approval from the hosts for your total amount of guests.
The main activity at a rehearsal dinner is toasting. Everyone will want to get a toast in tonight if they know they won’t be able to (or be able to take long) at the wedding. Since the party is hosted by the groom’s parents- they usually make the first (and longest) toasts. The bride and groom may choose to give toasts to thank everyone that helped them plan their wedding, but it is completely optional.
The bride and groom may choose to give their attendants and family members gifts at this time to thank them for all the time and effort they put into your wedding. Some couples just choose to give a toast or just a hug to thank everyone that was involved. Just make sure you thank everyone somehow in your own personal way.