How many (or how few) people speak at the rehearsal dinner is totally up to you as a couple. But just so you know the rules before you break them, we asked Sharokina Pazand and Kerrie Gallagher, CEO and Event Planner, respectively, of Citygirl Weddings & Events, to share the list of people who are typically expected to give a toast the night before the wedding.
The Groom's Parents
Since the groom's parents are traditionally the hosts of a rehearsal dinner, they should be prepared to say a few words of welcome to guests in attendance. "Typically, the parents of the groom, will start off the dinner by inviting guests to be seated (if it is a seated event) and welcoming everyone in attendance to the wonderful evening that has been planned," Pazand and Gallagher explain.
The Maid of Honor and Best Man
Even though these two will be expected to shine on the main stage, it's nice for the maid of honor and best man to play a role at the rehearsal dinner, too. If they intend to say a few words, their toasts should follow the parents of the groom. Keep it short and sweet—maybe share a story that didn't fit into your big reception speech. If you're having co-maids of honor and two best men, whoever isn't speaking at the wedding should give a speech now.
The Bride and Groom
Your rehearsal dinner is one of the few occasions during your wedding weekend when you'll be able to spend uninteruppted time with your VIPs. They've no doubt invested a lot of time, money, and emotional support during this time, so now is your chance to thank them and let them know how truly excited you are to have them by your side. (Pro tip: Don't forget to thank your parents, too!)
The Bridal Party
While the maid of honor and best man are usually the ones to talk at the wedding, everyone in your bridal party is there for a reason. This is their chance to say a few words. A good way to prepare for this is to reach out in advance and take stock of anyone who would be interested in speaking. Be sure to assure your friends there's no pressure to be the next Hemingway—sharing a favorite memory is totally fine. "We encourage more detailed, story-based speeches to play a role at rehearsal dinners rather than at the wedding," Pazand and Gallagher say. "The rehearsal dinner guest list consists of the wedding party and close family that are involved in the wedding. They will likely understand and appreciate the more 'inside' stories."
Extended Family Members
Maybe grandma wants to say a few words. Give her and any other special family members the option to speak, but have a plan in place for the number of guests who will speak overall. "We don't recommend an open mic situation," Pazand and Gallagher add. When the allotted time for speaking is up, have a plan for communicating this to guests. "Ask a trusted friend or relative to emcee or diplomatically segue from speeches back to the dinner portion of the evening so as not to have too many irrelevant toasts or speeches continuing on into the evening after more alcohol has been consumed."