Unique & Casual Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

by Barbie Carpenter

After rehearsing for the wedding ceremony, couples bring together their family and bridal party for one final celebration before they become husband and wife. Many couples choose to leave the formality for the wedding day and throw a casual rehearsal dinner. A casual rehearsal dinner celebration can take place at a restaurant, home or outdoor venue. The invitations and food can also reflect the rehearsal dinner’s casual theme.

Backyard Barbecue

The couple, parents of the bride or groom or a close family friend can host a casual rehearsal dinner in their own backyard. Choosing someone’s home for the event means that you can open the rehearsal dinner to more guests. According to The Knot, the rehearsal dinner can be as large as the couple pleases, and a large outdoor venue will accommodate more guests. Couples can grill food like chicken, steaks or kebabs and serve classic barbecue sides like potato salad and baked beans. Lanterns hanging from trees, twinkle lights or candles add ambience to the event. Guests will enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of this rehearsal dinner, and couples will be able to relax with the people they care about before they exchange vows.

Family-Style Restaurant

Since guests will likely enjoy a formal plated or buffet meal at your wedding, choose a unique meal for your rehearsal dinner. Many restaurants serve family-style meals, in which you choose a number of entrees, and guests pass the meals around the table and share. This casual serving style encourages guests to interact and enjoy a relaxed meal. Choose from hearty Italian entrees like manicotti and chicken Parmesan, or even offer a pizza buffet for guests to nosh on. For privacy, reserve a banquet room at a restaurant so that you and your guests can enjoy each other’s company away from the restaurant crowds.

Hawaiian Luau

Whether you’re getting married beachside or honeymooning in Hawaii, a luau is a casual and festive rehearsal dinner theme. You can throw this event at a waterside restaurant or someone’s home. Decorate the venue with leis and tiki torches, and top tables with tropical flowers. Serve Hawaiian-inspired food like teriyaki chicken topped with pineapple and sweet-and-sour meatballs. Encourage guests to wear their favorite tropical attire to get everyone in the mood for a casual, beach-themed celebration. Play Hawaiian music, and let guests transport themselves to a tropical paradise to kick off your wedding weekend festivities.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.