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A Groom's Survival Guide To...

The Rehearsal Dinner

by Rusty Fischer, author of SUPERGROOM: 101 Ways to be the Most Romantic Groom EVER!

Although this traditional meal full of history, family, and duty could just be the least romantic dinner of your married life, don't pass up this unique opportunity to embrace special friends, thank valued family members, and show your bride-to-be that you are the most romantic groom -- ever!

The Longest Yard

On your computer or at a stationary store, make or purchase ten to twelve quality, impressive certificates, complete with classy gold foil seals, to present at some point during the rehearsal dinner. Think of clever, fun, or witty categories, such as "Farthest Distance Traveled," "Oldest Guest in Attendance," or "Tallest Family Member" and present the already-filled in certificates, signed by you and your future bride, of course, to the winners.

Your guests will enjoy the lighthearted break from long-winded toasts and speeches, and your future bride will admire your thoughtfulness.

Special Soundtrack

Whether your rehearsal dinner is at a barbecue joint, the mother-of-the-groom's house, a banquet room at a local hotel, or the back room of some snooty restaurant, bring along your best boom box and play a special mix of guests' favorite songs in the background.

With your invitations, include a pre-printed slip of paper asking guests to list their favorite song or recording artist. Then, download songs off the Internet or scour your family, friends, and local libraries for specific songs or songs by their favorite recording artist. Combine all these on a self-made cassette or a burned CD, and keep it continually playing in the background as your guests eat and mingle during the rehearsal dinner.

Not everyone will appreciate, or even hear, your sensitive song effort, but those that do will never forget the time and effort you took to track down, record, and play one of their favorite songs on one very important night!

Blue (Or Pink Or Yellow Or Orange) Plate Special

Ahead of time, number one slip of colored construction paper for each guest who will be attending your rehearsal dinner. Arrange for the restaurant, caterer, or busboy to place each slip of paper underneath the plate setting, or if the plates are being brought in from the kitchen, under their seat.

Then, at some point after dinner, a la Regis Philbin, have your bride-to-be pick a number and have guests look for that number under their chairs. Award the winner a special prize, such as a fancy frame containing your wedding invitation, a specially made T-shirt in honor of the occasion, or just a generic prize such as a gift certificate to a local chain restaurant.

No matter who wins, all your guests will be impressed -- your future bride included!

The Enforcers!

The close friends you have chosen to be your best man and groomsmen are not just your pals, not just your buddies, not just your stand-ins should you faint at the alter. They are also "The Enforcers," your right-hand men and muscle in all the ways and circumstances you can't quite be as you're rushing here and rushing there to make sure your bride-to-be is as happy as she can be.

On this night, the all-important rehearsal dinner, make full use of your "enforcers" to assure that your bride's family, out-of-town relatives, and old college chums are happy, satisfied, and enjoying themselves. Don't rely on an overworked waitress to fill her mom's drink. If she needs a glass of wine, ask an "enforcer" to go fill it. Her sister needs a light? Send an enforcer over to do the honors.

Chances are, they won't get as much of a workout as you might think (although they'll act like it!), but just in case, bribe them with a six-pack each -- after their enforcement duties are over, that is.

Guilt-free Groomsmen Gifts

Among your future bride's many wedding chores is the dubious task of buying, making, or selecting gifts for her bridesmaids and your groomsmen. Depending on the size of your wedding, this can be an intimate, or intimidating, chore. However, your bride-to-be will be extremely appreciative if you step up to the plate and offer to select, purchase, and deliver your own groomsmen's gifts -- just like a big boy.

After all, you know your lifelong friends and family members better than she does. So why make her scour all over town for the perfect monogrammed flask or bronzed football helmet? Do it yourself.

On the scale of wedding duties, groomsmen's gifts are right down there with Jordan almonds and birdseed. So how bad could you screw it up?


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