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Wedding Planning

PLANNING A PERFECT REHEARSAL DINNER

In 2020 many engaged couples said “I do” to postponing their nuptials until 2021. Now that couples are revisiting their wedding plans, celebratory events like the rehearsal dinner are getting a COVID-friendly makeover.

“Now, venues that are doing events have had to start thinking outside of the box as to how they can safely host while protecting the guests and their staff,” said Beth Anderson, Director of Events for Sea Pines Country Club. “One such option is to have the event outside.”

Some outdoor venues trending in 2021 are golf and miniature golf courses, parks and nature preserves, and the beach.

 “A couple of details to keep in mind when using an open-air venue are weather, lighting and temperature,” Anderson said. “If you select a location that doesn’t offer coverage, you might want to keep a tent on hold in case of inclement weather.”

If your location does not offer ample lighting in the space, Anderson recommends hiring a professional to install lights so your guests can see, and to add ambiance to the setting.

Lastly, Anderson suggests having heating or cooling sources for your guests and “to inform your guests of attire so they are not too hot or cold.”

Kristen Benoit, Director of Private Dining & Events for the SERG Group, says that “November in Hilton Head is an ideal time to have a wedding because you have the benefits of summer without the oppressive heat” and that February through March is when she receives the bulk of her calls to book venues.

ANDERSON AND BENOIT SHARED THEIR TOP TIPS FOR REHEARSAL DINNERS IN 2021:

TIME: When picking a timeframe, you will want a time that accommodates guests traveling from out of town and does not run too late.

“A non-traditional but fun idea is to have a rehearsal brunch so that you and your guests will have the rest of the day to enjoy,” said Benoit.

FOOD: “Stations have been and remain to be popular for rehearsal dinners. With COVID, you have to take extra precautions as to avoid multiple touch points. If you are doing a presentation, you will need to make sure that the stations are manned and each person is wearing the appropriate PPE such as masks and gloves,” said Anderson.

As far as food presentation, Benoit says this is where you can get clever and creative.

“Instead of our beautiful sushi display, we now use disposable bamboo boats with bite-sized portions, wasabi and soy sauce all presented together. There are so many ways to garnish to make the food fun and colorful.”

DECOR: “Invest in some lighting, linen and floral to add to your set up. Nobody says you have to break the budget, but these items will add a visual enhancement to any location,” said Anderson. 

ENTERTAINMENT AND FAVORS :“We are seeing roast-style toasts versus the traditional father and mother of the groom or best man toasts. For favors people are offering masks with the couple’s monogram or wedding colors,” said Benoit.

As to why so many people choose the Lowcountry as their wedding destination, Anderson said, “People come to celebrate their most memorable day in a location that has supplied them with so many in the past.”

Rehearsal Dinner Checklist

Step 1: Make the guest list (including the officiant).

Step 2: Pick and book the rehearsal venue

Step 3: Set up a budget and theme.

Step 4: Design menu and decor.

Step 5: Send out Invitations


Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, and owner of Female IQ (femaleIQ.com).