It has become commonplace for couples to practice what will be expected of them and the wedding party during the wedding ceremony. A church or synagogue may require an abbreviated run through of the ceremony, and the officiant will instruct the wedding party on how to enter and leave the building, as well as when to engage in scripture readings, etc. This rehearsal typically takes place the evening before the wedding or a few days prior.
After the rehearsal, it's customary for the immediate family and wedding party to go out to dinner together and get to know each other before the wedding. Traditionally, the groom's parents host the dinner, which gives the mother of the groom a role in the wedding festivities. However, many of today's modern couples factor the rehearsal dinner cost into their overall wedding budget.
The rehearsal dinner doesn't have to be an extravagant affair. It can take place at a restaurant or even in someone's backyard. Some of the best are informal and really allow everyone to mingle. This occasion is also the ideal time to give groomsmen and bridesmaids a gift for their participation in the wedding, especially if a bridesmaid luncheon is not being held. The bride and groom should also thank everyone for being a part of their special day and helped out with all of the wedding planning.