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How to Decorate for a Rehearsal Dinner

by Susan Lundman ; Updated September 28, 2017

White napkins in a pink ring decorated with a sprig of beach grass.

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Whether your rehearsal dinner takes place in a casual brewery or an upscale hotel, decorations, centerpieces and favors can make the event one to remember. Decorate the dinner area using the same style, colors or themes as your wedding, or contrast the formal wedding style by holding a rehearsal dinner in a casual setting such as a friend's backyard.

Room Decorations

If your rehearsal dinner takes place in a park or backyard, you have plenty of decorating options. String lights or pennants from trees or structures and set up a poster board or chalkboard welcoming guests. Decorations that work for either a backyard, a casual restaurant, or a high-end hotel include streamers wrapped around upright pillars, candles on tables, and photo display boards with pictures of the wedding couple.

Table Setting Decorations

Personalize the dining tables with mementos from the dinner location. For example, use homemade napkin holders with ribbon or yarn that attach a Space Needle replica, if the dinner is in Seattle, or the St. Louis arch for a dinner in St. Louis. Make the place settings a combination decoration-and-party favor by using cable car toys if the dinner is in San Francisco, recommends Party411.com.

Casual or Formal Centerpieces

You can never go wrong with flower centerpieces on each table or placed in a row down the center of one table. Choose your favorite flower or pick flowers that represent the wedding location, such as tropical flowers for a Hawaiian wedding or azaleas in Georgia. Photos of the wedding couple give a fun, casual appeal to the table; glue them onto dowels and place them in vases, or make paper dolls replicas of the couple and set them on pedestals decorated with colorful ribbon or paper.

Favors as Decorations

Favors are not required for rehearsal dinners, but they do commemorate the event and double as decorations. If someone plans to read a poem in honor of the wedding couple, for example, place copies of the poem rolled into scrolls and tied with ribbons in a decorative basket for the guests to pick up as they enter the dinner room. Or, give each guest the couple's favorite cookie wrapped in colored cellophane; hang the cookies on a "cookie tree" made from a branch placed in a vase.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.