Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My son is getting married in November and my husband and I are hosting the rehearsal dinner. The couple expressed a desire for a more casual rehearsal, given the very formal wedding and reception. Our families have always celebrated rehearsal dinners at one of the charming fine dining restaurants in New Orleans, so I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to make it more casual and where to have it. Also, is it an acceptable alternative? Is it OK for the rehearsal dinner to be casual if the wedding is formal?

Answer: Congratulations on this happy occasion for your son and his bride-to-be. It’s lovely of you to be so thoughtful about the couple’s wishes. While traditionally the atmosphere of the rehearsal dinner mirrors the wedding ceremony and reception, as with many things, the rules have relaxed where this is concerned. Many couples opt for a casual rehearsal, not only to distinguish it from and emphasis the formality of the next day’s festivities, but also to encourage a little more interaction between families, members of the wedding party and guests who might be meeting for the first time. Everything from seafood boils and bowling nights to cocktail to buffet-style parties at a favorite casual eatery or backyard barbecues are all festive options. Brainstorm with the couple and have fun with it. With the right décor, even a seafood boil can be elegant. 

Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.