006. Philip Casey Photography

7 Tips For Your Rehearsal Dinner


December 6, 2022
Words by Be Inspired PR
Photos courtesy of various

Think of your rehearsal dinner as the first impression for your wedding day! It’s the perfect way to welcome guests, share your excitement, and give a preview of the fun to come on the wedding day itself. We’re major fans of going big for the rehearsal dinner to not miss a chance to wow your guests – and luckily, we’ve teamed up with Be Inspired PR to gather ideas from industry pros to get your rehearsal dinner planning started on the right foot!

Think outside of the box! “The best rehearsal dinners are creative and fun! Consider hosting a sunset cocktail voyage for your guests. Cruise around the local harbor as you sip champagne and enjoy a cocktail-style dinner rather than a formal seated reception. Be wary of accidentally hosting two weddings! When planning your rehearsal dinner, choose a venue and menu that are completely different from what you plan to offer during your wedding. The rehearsal dinner sets a fun tone for the celebration ahead and it’s a great opportunity to let your hair down with an event that looks and feels different from the wedding day itself.” – Mandy Connor, Owner, Hummingbird Events & Design

Lean into a theme that didn’t make the cut for the wedding day. “The rehearsal dinner is often the first glimpse that guests will have of your wedding style. For this reason, consider having the decor and feel of the evening complement your plans for the wedding day/celebration, but not duplicate it so each event feels fresh and different. This can mean that you lean more heavily into a culture-driven theme – like Havana Nights for a couple with Cuban roots – or a theme that represents something that means a lot to you as a couple, but perhaps didn’t make the cut to incorporate into the wedding day.” – Alexandra Denniston, Owner & Lead Planner, Eventlightenment Planning

Don’t underestimate the power of epic transportation. “Rehearsal dinners can be so fun and special and with them being more intimate than the wedding itself, there are some unique ideas couples can use to bring it to the extra level for their friends and family. Providing transportation for guests staying at the block you’ve set aside at the hotel is nice and accommodating to guests and bonus points if you can secure some sort of “fun” mode of transport here (think trolleys, double-decker bus, horse-drawn carriage, boat, golf carts).” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning

Choose an unforgettable venue. “Yes, you need to feed your guests at the rehearsal dinner. But that doesn’t mean you’re relegated to a traditional restaurant! Get creative with your venue to make the evening even more memorable. This could mean hosting at an activity-based location such as a bowling alley or karaoke joint, a stadium suite at your favorite sporting event, a casual local brewery, or even a sprawling outdoor space where you can bring in food trucks and have a classy picnic. We also love the idea of hosting the rehearsal dinner at a location that has a special significance. Perhaps it’s the site of your first date or the place you popped the question. Or if the two of you live together, invite everyone into your home by hosting the rehearsal dinner in your own backyard. Guests will love being brought into your love story in such a personal way!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director, Here Comes The Guide

Ditch the formal menu! “Ditch the formal menu and serve fun food that everyone likes – think family style, pasta stations, Mexican, Asian action stations, etc. We also love when couples opt to bring in fun yard games or arcade games to entertain guests or even entertainers such as magicians or fortune tellers. Many couples add a welcome cocktail reception after the rehearsal dinner for all out-of-town guests who would like to stop by. Whatever you do, make it a memorable celebration!” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning

Add colorful flair. “If you went a more traditional route for your wedding decor, don’t be afraid to go wild with your color scheme at the rehearsal dinner! It’s a fun way to show your creative side and guests will remember your flair.” – Philip Casey, Philip Casey Photography

Prioritize entertainment. “For your rehearsal dinner, think “entertainment is everything!” Spruce things up with customized playlists, bring in board games and social games to energize the party, create a flow in the setup to arrange guests so that they can socialize and get to know each other (or catch up with friends and family they haven’t seen recently!), and of course, set out those signature drinks and cocktails that guests will be sure to love!” – Lisette Gatliff, Lisette Gatliff Photography

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