Photo By Jonathan Connolly Photography

Of course, the wedding day itself is the most important of the various events involved with upcoming nuptials. However, the rehearsal dinner plays a crucial role as well. Rehearsal dinners provide the couple a chance to relax and express gratitude for everyone involved in their big day. When it comes to planning the rehearsal dinner there are few things to consider such as location, theme, and decor. Here are seven simple steps to guide you through the planning process.

Select a Reasonable Date

In many cases, the rehearsal is the night immediately before the wedding. The ceremony venue, however, plays a role in the rehearsal dinner date. In the event that the ceremony venue allows for rehearsals, you need to ensure that the space is available the night before the wedding. Many times when weddings are held in churches, for example, the rehearsal is the night before. However, if the church has an event the night before, the rehearsal may need to be at a different time, such as two nights before. Keep in mind that you shouldn't schedule the rehearsal for too far away from the wedding date. Doing so could be problematic for bridal party members who have to travel a distance to your celebration.

Choose the Venue

You get to select from a wide array of options when it comes to the venue for your rehearsal dinner. Some couples decide that they want to have a backyard celebration with their closest relatives and friends. Others decide for a catering hall. Regardless of what you choose to do, keep the dining location close to the ceremony location. While your bridal party members are there to support you, you don't want to have to ask them to travel all over the place so close to the wedding. For example, if your ceremony site is in the city, you might want to consider Tribeca Rooftop + 360° as a venue.

Discuss Costs

At this point in the wedding planning process, you likely know that everything comes with a price tag. Unless you have specifically discussed the budget for the rehearsal dinner in the past, now is the time to talk about the details of this arrangement. Traditionally, the groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner, but for a variety of reasons this custom has changed through the years. You know your relationship best, and you can likely gauge whether or not one or both families will contribute to the rehearsal dinner. In the event that they are unable to do so or that you want a dinner out of their budget, think about picking up the bill yourselves.

Narrow the Guest List

You might want to have all of your favorite people at the rehearsal dinner but do keep in mind that they are all already likely on the wedding guest list. To keep the task simple and to prevent hurt feelings, tailor the guest list to include immediate family, bridal party members, any other individuals involved directly in the ceremony, such as readers, and the guests of these invitees. Remember that you should absolutely avoid inviting someone to the rehearsal dinner who is not on the guest list for the actual wedding.

Create a Vibe

While you likely want to save the big theme for the wedding date, you can still create a particular atmosphere for the rehearsal dinner. For example, you might want to have a more subtle theme at the rehearsal dinner, or you may decide to have some elements of your wedding theme at this meal. Once you have decided what approach you want to take, infuse the vibe into the invitations, the menu and the decorations.

Gather Decor

In order to create that atmosphere, you'll need to get some decorations together. When the budget is a concern, you might want to look through your house to see if you have items that could fit with the vibe. Another option is to talk to your wedding vendors. Find out if they are willing to give you a discount in the event that you book their services for both the wedding and the rehearsal dinner.

Appreciate Your Guests

On the night of your rehearsal dinner, take the time to talk to your guests. On the wedding date, you may not have as much time as you think to speak with each individual guest. Of course, you want to enjoy your reception too. Remember that it is traditional for the couple to give their bridal party members gifts at the rehearsal dinner. Consider giving gifts to the other people who have supported you, such as your parents and grandparents, at this celebration too.

With some simple steps, you can have a lovely rehearsal dinner. This dinner will get everyone excited for the upcoming wedding.