The rehearsal dinner is the perfect occasion for the families of the bride and groom to become acquainted, so create a comfortable atmosphere for the event to encourage casual conversation. Traditionally, the groom's parents host the rehearsal dinner, but there's nothing wrong with offering your assistance to make planning a little easier on your future in-laws. Work together on the guest list, and remember that while you should invite the key players of the wedding -- your immediate family members, the wedding party and their spouses -- it's completely up to you, the groom and his parents whether to include dates for single wedding party members and any out-of-town guests. Be sensitive to budget constraints, and if you need to, politely negotiate where the event takes place.
The rehearsal dinner is the first party to kick off the weekend's festivities, so don't neglect any personalized details of the evening! Offer your florist's number to the groom's mother to assist with centerpieces, or lend her some of your favorite framed engagement photos to decorate an entry table. A slideshow featuring childhood pictures of the bride and groom is a memorable end to the rehearsal dinner. Make it easy on the mother of the groom, and delegate the slideshow as your maid of honor's responsibility.
Finally, remember that the rehearsal dinner doesn't have to match the formality of your wedding. The groom's parents might choose to throw a less formal party, like a barbecue bash in their backyard or a low country boil complete with smoked sausage links, red potatoes and fresh shrimp.