Here's a quick and easy checklist/cheat sheet for getting the rehearsal dinner underway with limited fuss and lots of ease:
5-6 Months Prior
* Book Venue
* Negotiate Costs and Menu
Note: The venue doesn't have to be a traditional restaurant. Think a bit outside the norm and do something that is more in line with the personality of the bride and groom. Typically, this expense is covered by the groom's family, though, not always.
3 Months Prior
* A/V Requests
Note: Get the word out to those you want to make toasts. This isn't something you randomly tell someone 15 minutes before. Also, if you want to have access to show video or slide show, with a mic, you need to get all these requests and requirements cleared through your venue. If they don't have A/V equipment, you may have to borrow or rent it.
1 Month Prior
* Mail invites
* Create a seating chart
* Check in with vendors--make sure all is set and on track; make final payment(s)
* Gift exchange (gifts to bridesmaids and groomsmen)
Note: Don't forget to invite the Officiant and out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner.
1 Week Prior
* Final guest count to venue (and caterer)
* Table cards, escort cards, table numbers