Rehearsal Dinner Theme Ideas

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Organizing your rehearsal dinner with a theme in mind will not only give an element of lighthearted fun to the affair, it can also give you ideas for food, activities, favors and setting. The theme you choose could reflect a hobby, a favorite (or dream) travel destination, a beloved movie, a character or a setting. Themes allow you to customize every element of the events leading up to your wedding.

Secret Agents

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Organize a rehearsal dinner with the theme of "secret agents" (or "undercover agents" or "spies") if you are a fan of the James Bond books and movies or if you have always gotten a thrill out of pretending to be somebody else. Include a note in the rehearsal dinner invitation encouraging guests to wear appropriate attire and assume a false name and identity for the duration of the dinner. Or make it a surprise secret agent party--hand out dark glasses and slips of paper assigning each person a temporary new identity, including name, occupation, true government affiliation and secret mission. If budget is no concern, consider hiring a mystery dinner theater troupe to develop an espionage-themed dinner event for you.


Evoke the movie considered among the greatest--not to mention most romantic--of all time with a "Casablanca" theme. Serve Moroccan food. Play the movie soundtrack softly in the background or, ideally, hire a bow-tie-sporting piano player to serenade your guests with big-band tunes and the occasional slow, melancholy song. Hang brass oil lamps throughout the room and turn the lights down low. Hang different versions of the "Casablanca" movie poster on the walls and give them out at the end of the night as favors--perhaps as the prizes for a movie trivia contest. Set up a photo station with a trench coat, hats, and a foggy backdrop so guests can recreate the famous final scene of the film. Alternately, choose a different movie and borrow settings, music and food ideas from it.

Tropical Vacation

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Whisk your guests away to a tropical island for the evening with themed decor and island-inspired cuisine. This theme is particularly appropriate if the wedding is being held at a tropical destination, like Hawaii or the U.S. Virgin Islands, or if that is where the honeymoon will take place. Hire a luau-savvy caterer to roast a whole pig and provide a spread of dishes utilizing traditional and fusion island ingredients like pineapple, avocado, papaya, seafood and Asian flavors. Drop a Dick Dale surf guitar CD into the stereo or pre-mix a playlist that includes retro favorites like Don Ho and the Beach Boys with more current beach-flavored artists. Decorate with coconuts, bright flowers, tiki torches and potted palm trees.