Seaside wedding rehearsal dinner at sunset
event planner: Keith Willard Events | photographer: The Wedding Traveler
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14 Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas [Photos]

Seaside wedding rehearsal dinner at sunset

Ring in your wedding weekend with engaging and creative wedding rehearsal dinner ideas. For most couples, after all, the wedding weekend begins with the rehearsal dinner. 

In addition to carving out space and time to — well, rehearse — the rehearsal dinner is a fantastic time for family and close friends to connect before the hubbub of the big day ensues. 

So What Do You at a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner?

Good Question. When it comes to planning a successful wedding rehearsal dinner, renowned event planner Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events tells us “to keep it simple.” He rightfully reminds us that guests may have traveled long distances to partake in the wedding celebration. 

With that in mind, we’ve come up with some essential steps to hosting a two to three hour affair. Of course, a lot can happen in a few hours — including great food, memorable speeches, and personalized touches.

When it comes to planning a successful wedding rehearsal dinner, renowned event planner Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events tells us ‘to keep it simple.’ 

Read on to discover our 14 favorite wedding rehearsal dinner ideas. From creative décor to unique catering displays, PartySlate knows all the way to host an unforgettable wedding rehearsal dinner. 

1. Select a Theme with Meaning for Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Think about it. Due to the smaller guest list and more intimate atmosphere, rehearsal dinners are the perfect opportunity to create a theme that represents a couple’s unique personality.

Group of friends lounging in Art Deco costumes at a wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photographer: Arte De Vie

Modern Art Deco

New Orleans, LA

This glamorous rehearsal dinner at Contemporary Arts Center, planned by Blue Gardenia Weddings & Events, combined the groom’s love for modernity with the bride’s passion for Art Deco.

Nuage Designs contributed to the Art-Deco color Palette with gorgeous black, gold, and white linens.

A bubbly bar doubled as an escort card station, while the all-white floral décor by Bee’s Wedding and Event Designs created a classic and modern aesthetic.

We especially loved the etched-metal menu complete with a laser-cut paper jacket.

photographer: Arte De Vie | planner: Blue Gardenia Weddings & Events | florals: Bee’s Wedding and Event Designs | design & décor: Pret a Fete | venue: Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans | linen: Nuage Designs | rentals: Event Rental, LLC | calligraphy: Vcalligraphy | videographer: One Louder Productions | cake: Melissa’s Fine Pastries | lighting: Firefly Ambiance

Tortoise Supper Club decorated with white feather centerpieces for Great Gatsby-themed wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photographer: Shelby Forsyth

Great Gatsby

Chicago, IL

The Great-Gatsby theme was on full display at this rehearsal dinner set at Tortoise Supper Club.

Event planner Becky Randle of Tortoise Supper Club created a 1920s throwback with glittering jewels, feathery centerpieces and plenty of candlelight.

Floral and décor company Ashland Addison Floral and Event Decor perfected the scene with clusters of white roses, orchids, calla lilies, and babies breath.

photographer: Shelby Forsyth | planner & venue: Tortoise Supper Club| floral & event décor: Ashland Addison Floral and Event Decor

Bollywood Rehearsal Dinner at Westin Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, TX
photographer: Harry Photo


Irving, TX

Party hosts took advantage of the long hallway at Westin Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas and rolled out the red carpet (literally and figuratively).

This South Asian rehearsal dinner wowed guests with a vibrant Bollywood theme.

Click to see how retro Bollywood posters, authentic Indian furniture, and a marquee photo op set the scene at this spacious event venue. 

photographer: Harry Photo | planner: The Storybook Event | décor: Divine Decor Of Dallas | venue: Westin Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas | entertainment: DJ Riz

Boho Chic Outdoor Rehearsal Dinner at Baluarte San Francisco Javier in Colombia
photographer: Sergio Sandoná Photography


Bolívar, Bolívar

Boho-chic was the theme of the night at this tropical outdoor rehearsal dinner.
Sergio Sandoná Photography captured every detail and intimate moment. Woven chandeliers hung above every long table centered with whimsical and neutral floral centerpieces.

We love how this palette was able to be transformed from day to night with the perfect lighting design.

photographer: Sergio Sandoná Photography l planner & design: Matthew Robbins Design & ROBBINSOTOYA DESTINATIONS l venue: Baluarte San Francisco Javier

RELATED: Best Chicago Venues for Your Rehearsal Dinner [Guide]

2. Opt for a Favorite Venue for Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Yes, you read that right. When it comes to selecting a venue, keep it personal. Willard says, “Using a favorite location will help bond you to your guests.” For many, there’s no more favorite locale than their own home or city. After you peruse our favorite wedding rehearsal dinner ideas, check out some our top private dining spots as well as our favorite beautiful backyard weddings. After all, home is where the heart is.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line boat at dock for a wedding rehearsal dinner party
photographer: Christy Tyler Photography

All Aboard

Elkhorn, WI

For this Wisconsin couple, it was important to choose a venue that represented their deep connection to home.

They threw a spectacular rehearsal dinner, planned by LK Events, aboard the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. As guests celebrated the couple-to-be, they enjoyed views of lakeside estates built between 1870 and 1920.

As Willard tells us, “Try and find a place with a view so that even when the conversation goes quiet, there is something else to look at.” 

photographer: Christy Tyler Photography | planner: LK Events | florals: Lilypots | venue: Lake Geneva Cruise Line | caterer: Gooseberries | entertainment: Bourbon Aristocracy | transportation: Jones Travel

Atrium-style room filled with two banquet tables for a wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photographer: Bayo.Olukotun

Room with a View

New York, NY

This rehearsal dinner at The Press Lounge, designed by Elegant Affairs, stunned guests with panoramic views of New York City.

The glass atrium-style architecture of the Greenhouse gave everyone plenty of talking points and reasons to celebrate this vibrant city — as well as the couple at hand.

photographer: Bayo.Olukotun | design & décor: Elegant Affairs | venue & caterer: The Press Lounge 

RELATED: Best Wedding Centerpieces [Guide]

3. Welcome Guests with Eye-Catching Signage

We’re not through yet. The rehearsal dinner is the first opportunity for a couple to welcome their wedding guests, so do it with style. From neon glow to calligraphy, these rehearsal dinner ideas signal a good time had by all.

Boho-lounge area with neon signage on boxwood backdrop for a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Tamiz Photography

Neon Glow

Lahaina, HI

For this oceanside rehearsal dinner at Fleetwoods on Front Street, event planner Elements by K.H. & co. greeted guests with a neon “so glad you’re here” sign. The sign made the perfect backdrop for a bohemian lounge area.

Other welcoming details included a kid-friendly crafting station and signature cocktails for the adults.

Sunya’s Flowers & Plants added to the whimsical aesthetic with eclectic floral arrangements.

photographer: Tamiz Photography | coordination, design, décor rentals: Elements by K.H & co. | florals: Maui Floral & Sunya’s Flowers & Plants | venue, caterer, & bar: Fleetwoods on Front Street | vintage bottle rental: Rustic Maui Creations

Bar setup with calligraphy signage for a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Rachel Red Photography


Chicago, IL

Christine Janda Design & Events created gorgeous signage for this rehearsal dinner at Ignite Glass Studios.

In addition to a welcome sign, complete with framed photographs of the couple and their family, the party boasted a vibrant bar station decorated with the couple’s names.

Both signs, designed by LBrown Design & Paperie, matched the personalized cocktail straws and colorful ceiling décor.

photographer: Rachel Red Photography | planner, design, & florals: Christine Janda Design & Events | venue: Ignite Glass Studios | paper: LBrown Design & Paperie

RELATED: 12 Small Wedding Ideas [That Make a Big Impact]

4. Set the Scene with Florals at Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Look: Floral décor is often the starting point for determining the overall aesthetic of any party. These floral-forward rehearsal dinner ideas capture the imagination with beauty and creativity.

Banquet table with orange and hot pink florals at a wedding rehearsal dinner party
photographer: Photo Images Inc.

Modern Vibes

Chicago, IL

At this modern rehearsal dinner at Chez, HMR Designs created gorgeous pops of color with bright, minimalist floral arrangements.

Contrasting floral groupings added depth and texture to the industrial setting, while a single sputnik-style centerpiece drew all eyes to the bar.

Event planner Randy Schuster And Associates added mixed metals and lucite chairs to further emphasize the simple, yet elegant vibe.

photographer: Photo Images Inc. | planner: Randy Schuster And Associates | design, décor, & florals: HMR Designs | venue: Chez | caterer: Catering By Michaels | entertainment: Ron Bedal Orchestra

Cocktail table with green tea lights and pineapple centerpiece at a wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photographer: Katie Lopez

Vibrant and Tropical

Palm Beach, FL

At this sea-side rehearsal dinner, planned by Posh Parties, the couple opted for a tropical theme.

Designer and florist Xquisite Events brought this theme to life with vibrant floral arrangements and pineapple vases.

Tea light in various colors and golden linens added additional color to this celebration at Eau Palm Beach.

photographer: Katie Lopez | planner: Posh Parties | design, décor, florals: Xquisite Events | venue: Eau Palm Beach

La Sirena dining room with colorful tapered candles and a white wall decorated with red and yellow flowers at a wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photograph courtesy of Ovando Design and Production

Whimsical Fun

New York, NY

Designer and florist Ovando Design and Production brought vibrant colors to the forefront at this rehearsal dinner set at La Sirena.

Blue-and-white patterned linens perfectly accentuated the colorful candles and floral arrangements.

We especially love how a white wall decorated with red and yellow flowers made for a unique dining backdrop.

photos courtesy of & event design: Ovando Design and Production| venue: La Sirena

Couple kissing on top of stairway at Palmer House Hilton in Chicago for a wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photographer: Averyhouse

Classic and Refined

Chicago, IL

This rehearsal dinner at The Palmer House Hilton, featured lush fern arrangements by Erin McDonald Co. Engaging Events by Ali, Inc., created an elegant vibe with personalized signage and chic acrylic table-top décor.

Don’t miss the classic black linens provided by BBJ Linen.

photographer: Averyhouse | planner: Engaging Events by Ali, Inc | florals: Erin McDonald Co | venue: The Palmer House Hilton | invitations & print: Clementine Ink + Paper | rentals: BBJ Linen, Northern Décor, Inc., & Hall’s Rental Service, Inc | lighting: Frost Chicago | entertainment: Ron Bedal Orchestra | videographer: Poetic Productions

RELATED: 8 Wedding Aisle Décor Ideas for a Walk to Remember [Photos]

5. Get Creative with Décor at Your Rehearsal Dinner

In case you may be wondering, florals aren’t the only way to add beauty and color to your venue of choice. In fact, the rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to think outside of the box and get creative. When it comes to wedding rehearsal dinner ideas, the sky’s the limit.

Cascading coral balloon installation in courtyard at a wedding rehearsal dinner party | PartySlate
photographer: Julie Pepin Photography

Balloons Galore

Ojai, CA

Event planner Lindsay Piram Creative partnered with Balloonzilla to create a stunning cascade of coral balloons for this rehearsal dinner at Ojai Valley Inn.

Ornate metal tableware and embroidered linen napkins added additional bursts of color at this stylish celebration.

photographer: Julie Pepin Photography | planner & design: Lindsay Piram Creative | florals: Tulipina | venue: Ojai Valley Inn | stationery: Gretchen Berry Design Co | custom chocolates: maggie louise confections | furnishings: Revelry Event Designers | tableware: Casa de Perrin | balloons: Balloonzilla

Outdoor wedding rehearsal dinner with colorful uplighting in palm trees
photographer: Divine Method Photo

Magical Uplighting

Miami, FL

Uplighting by Evoga Events transformed this rehearsal dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami into a wonderland of color.

Event planner Premini Events partnered with designer Gilded Group Décor to create a memorable evening filled with refined floral arrangements, sumptuous catering, and plenty of reasons to toast.

photographer: Divine Method Photography | planner: Premini Events | décor: Gilded Group Décor | venue: Mandarin Oriental, Miami | lighting & sound: Evoga Events

Wine bottle and clear vases filled with wine corks at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Kara Mercer

Unique Details

Saint Helena, CA

Pops of vibrant colors combined with rustic elements (like these cork-filled vases) made this rehearsal dinner at Merryvale Winery a photographer’s dream.

Event planner Marilyn Ambra Party Consultants joined forces with Standard Party Rentals to create a romantic candle-lit dining experience.

Florist Plan Decor completed the look with colorful floral décor.

photographer: Kara Mercer | planner: Marilyn Ambra Party Consultants | florals: Plan Decor | venue: Merryvale Winery | caterer: Cindy Pawlcyn Catering | furnishings: Standard Party Rentals

RELATED: 14 Small Backyard Weddings That Prove Home is Where the Heart Is

6. Honor Your Guests with Personalized Touches 

Wedding rehearsal dinners are often intimate affairs, attended by the couple’s family and closest friends. At PartySlate, we know that personal touches go a long way in creating a meaningful celebration that honors your most important guests. These wedding rehearsal dinner ideas are guaranteed to make your guests feel extra special.

Magenta dinner napkins with each guest's name spelled out in gold lettering at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Brett Hickman

Distinguished Dining

Orange, CA

For this rehearsal dinner, planned by A Good Affair, Wedding & Event Production, each table setting was distinguished with a guest’s name spelled out in gold lettering.

Guests knew exactly where to sit as they gathered to enjoy catering from Made By Meg and toast to the happy couple.

photographer: Brett Hickman | planner, design, florals, & rentals: A Good Affair, Wedding & Event Production | venue: The Villa -Tender Hearts | caterer: Made By Meg

Seating chart of white seashells for a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Chris Joriann Photography

Themed Seating

Palm Beach, FL

Event planner Something Fabulous and design studio Painted Palettes improved on the traditional seating chart at this rehearsal dinner, set at Eau Palm Beach, with calligraphy-decorated seashells.

Xquisite Events contributed to the boho theme with colorful floral arrangements and marbled linens.

Click to see how seashell-style plates made for a photo-worthy dining experience.

photographer: Chris Joriann Photography | event planning & design: Something Fabulous | florals, linen, lounge, & chairs: Xquisite Events | venue: Eau Palm Beach | calligraphy: Painted Palettes | entertainment: South Florida’s Heatwave Band

RELATED: 20 Wedding Trends for 2020

7. Dress Up the Table with Chic Linens

But wait, there’s more. A wedding rehearsal dinner, as the name implies, means wining and dining. With that in mind, we love stylish linens as much as a delicious meal. From paisley to tie-dye, these wedding rehearsal dinner ideas will elevate your tablescape.

Banquet round with paisley tablecloth and whicker candle holders at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Matt Simpkins

Paisley Passion

New York, NY

This rehearsal dinner at Tarallucci e Vino Events, planned by Sidekick Events, featured paisley-inspired tablecloths.

Polka-dotted napkins, wicker votives, and black dinner plates completed the sophisticated look.

With Prosciutto di Parma on menu, the celebration took dining to the next level.

photographer: Matt Simpkins | planning & design: Sidekick Events | décor: Lewis Miller | venues: Tarallucci e Vino Events | Home Studios Inc.

Banquet table with pink-and-white stripped tablecloth in courtyard at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Christine Doneé Photography

Simply Romantic

Solvang, CA

Event planner Percy Sales Events added to Hotel Corque’s inherent romance with pink-striped linens and ruby-and-blush floral arrangements.

Guests enjoyed award-winning cuisine and passed hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening.

photographer: Christine Doneé Photography | planner: Percy Sales Events | venue: Hotel Corque

Blue-and-white table cloth with orange floral centerpiece at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: The Edges Wed

Tie-Dye with Style

Napa, CA

Event planner Cole Drake Events partnered with La Tavola Fine Linen to make tablescapes a top highlight of this rehearsal dinner at Black Swan Lake.

Coral flower arrangements by M Design and wooden chairs by Bright Event Rentals were a perfect contrast to the elegant tie-dye linens.

The venue’s backdrop of wine barrels made for a picture-perfect scene.

photographer: The Edges Wed | planner: Cole Drake Events | florals: M Design | venue: Black Swan Lake | caterer: Elaine Bell Catering | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | rentals: Encore Events | chair rentals: Bright Event Rentals

Outdoor rustic space featuring wooden banquet tables with colorful linens at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Donna Von Bruening

Rustic and Charming

Bluffton, SC

Printed linens stole the show at this rehearsal dinner set at Montage Palmetto Bluff.

Ornate glass votives, crimson dinner plates, and pink roses created an aura of romance during the dining experience.

We especially love how the venue’s exposed-wooden beams and brick fireplace added to the rustic aesthetic.

photographer: Donna Von Bruening | venue: Montage Palmetto Bluff

RELATED: 11 Wedding Planning Tips for Couples Affected by COVID-19

8. Experiment with Inventive Catering Displays

It’s true, cooking is an art form. So why not display your catering in an artistic fashion that accommodates mobility? Willard says “Stations or buffets allow people to meander and not be tied down to a seat.” He also tells us, “Comfort food is always appropriate, and make sure you have vegetarian options available.” Keep reading for engaging (and delicious) wedding rehearsal dinner ideas.

Trays of food displayed on swings at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Nicee Martin Photo & Design

In Full Swing

Chicago, IL

At this rehearsal dinner at Chez, event planner Kesh Events teamed up with Jewell Events Catering to create picture-perfect food stations.

Elegant food carts and swings doubling as food trays (yes, you read that right) enticed guests to take out their cameras before indulging in the delicious cuisine.

photographer: Nicee Martin Photo & Design | planner, décor, & lighting: Kesh Events | venue: Chez | caterer: Jewell Events Catering | linen: Tailored Elements & Delma Zia | stationery: Parchment By Dami

Artfully plated pork chops at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Krysta Holden Photography

Perfectly Plated

Lake Geneva, WI

The Geneva Inn brought their award-winning (and artistically-plated) cuisine to this intimate rehearsal dinner.

Florist Willow Design graced the banquet table with white and blush roses.

Ivory-tapered candles and gold-geometric votives added additional elegance.

photographer: Krysta Holden Photography | design & florals: Willow Design | venue: The Geneva Inn | rentals: Collins Custom Creations

Passed appetizers on silver spoons at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
Carrie Holbo Photography

Silver Platters

Chicago, IL

This rehearsal dinner at Pacific Standard Time wowed guests with exceptional cuisine cooked in two onsite-hearth ovens.

The venue’s breeze walls and abundant greenery were the perfect backdrop for the geometric-copper votives, minimalist floral arrangements, and deep-blue accents.

photographer: Carrie Holbo Photography | venue: Pacific Standard Time

RELATED: 9 Unique Wedding Ceremony Ideas for a One-of-a-Kind Celebration

9. Give Your Rehearsal Dinner Guests Plenty of Reasons to Toast

We haven’t even started. Your guests will want to toast to your happiness, so make sure to include a bar station. Besides, as Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”

Airstream bar at an outdoor wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Kelsie Corbett Photography

Airstream Pop-Ups

Orleans, MA

We love how this tented rehearsal dinner at Winslow Estate, planned by Daylynn Designs, created the perfect photo op with an Airstream bar by Hive Events.

This bar-on-wheels also served as a chic lounge area for relaxing guests.

The trailer’s chalk backdrop allowed the couple to display their names along with on-theme hand-drawn seashells.

photographer: Kelsie Corbett Photography | planner & design: Daylynn Designs | florals & flower crown station: Whitemoss and Twigs | venue: Winslow Estate | tent rental & lighting: Undercover Tent | tables & chairs: True North Event Rental | airstream bar: Hive Events | mini ice cream sandwiches: Ellie’s Providence | stationery: Modern Vintage | caterer: Clambakes, Etc. | tabletop rentals: PEAK Event Services | transportation: Cape Destinations

Three guests drinking rosé at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Taylor Rae Photography

Eye Candy

Charleston, SC

Cannon Green turned on the magic at this rehearsal dinner, planned by Ooh Events! with bubbly rosé.

In between delicious bites and beverages, guests had the opportunity to watch photos of the couple projected on a spacious-white wall.

Twinkling string lights and towering palm trees made for simple, yet elegant décor.

photographer: Taylor Rae Photography | planner & rentals: Ooh! Events | venue: Cannon Green

Wedding rehearsal dinner set at City Winery Chicago
photographer: I Luv Photo

Fashionable Winery

Chicago, IL

Wine was in abundance at this rehearsal dinner set at the elegant City Winery Chicago.

Guests enjoyed cocktails in the outdoor Wine Garden before moving into the main dining room for the evening.

Indoors, guests enjoyed the comforts of a majestic brick fireplace.

Shelves of wine wrapped around a curving staircase for dramatic (and photographic) décor.

photographer: I Luv Photo | venue & caterer: City Winery Chicago

RELATED: 13 Wedding Balloon Décor Ideas to Inspire Your Unique Nuptials

10. Get in the Celebratory Mood with Music

Look: No celebration is complete without music. Whether you want to get guests out on the dance floor or simply serenade them while they dine, music infuses a party with energy. These wedding rehearsal dinner ideas are bound to get the party started.

Three guests dancing with DJ in background at a wedding rehearsal dinner.
photographer: Unique Video Creations

Hip DJ

Louisville, KY

This rehearsal dinner at 21c Museum Hotel Louisville kept the party in full swing with music by DJ Brian B.

The venue’s vibrant modern art served as a gorgeous backdrop for playing the hottest tunes.

With walls of artwork on display, event planner John Gandy Events kept the décor chic and simple — opting for minimalist floral arrangements and lucite seating.  

photographer: Unique Video Creations | planner: John Gandy Events | venue: 21c Museum Hotel Louisville | entertainment: DJ Brian B

Music trio performing at 620 Loft & Garden for a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Clane Gessel Photography

Cultured Ensemble

New York, NY

This rehearsal dinner at 620 Loft & Garden was beyond romantic.

A jazz ensemble from Élan Artists serenaded guests (in Italian, even) against the awe-inspiring backdrop of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Event planner Strawberry Milk Events & Styling dazzled guests with lavender-mirrored tables, while florist Birch Event Design perfected the scene with a lavish display of roses. 

photographer: Clane Gessel Photography | planner: Strawberry Milk Events & Styling | florals: Birch Event Design | venue: 620 Loft & Garden | entertainment: Élan Artists | caterer: Great Performances

RELATED: 11 Wedding Theme Ideas for Every Type of Couple

11. Include Meaningful Speeches at Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

It’s true, speeches are a great way to bring the entire room together for a magical moment. Willard offers great advice on how to give a winning rehearsal dinner speech. “I typically say a great speech is two minutes or less. The opening statement should be something that everyone can relate to. A great speech starts with a heartwarming story, a mention of something heartfelt, followed by something funny, then a personal statement regarding the love between the couple, and then the toast.”

Man raises toast to banquet table full of guests at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate

photographer: André Maier Photography

Raise a Toast

New York, NY

We love how the table formation at this rehearsal dinner at Scott Conant Culinary Suite, planned by NYLUX Events, allowed for an engaging moment.

The abstract artwork and fuchsia flowers by Carlos Rivas Design & Production were the perfect décor.

photographer: André Maier Photography | planner: NYLUX Events | décor: Carlos Rivas Design & Production | venue: Scott Conant Culinary Suite

RELATED: Go Beyond the Band With These Unique Wedding Entertainment Ideas

12. Entertain with a Unique Activity Station

Like with any celebration, activity stations are a great way for guests to have fun and make new friends. Willard tells us, “Remember that most of your guests will not know each other, so finding opportunities to interact will help your guests become more comfortable for the following day.” Keep reading to see discover unique wedding rehearsal dinner ideas.

Tarot card reading activity station at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Gruber Photographers

Anticipate the Magic

New York, NY

This rehearsal dinner at Riverpark, planned by NYLUX Events, entertained celebrants with a live tarot card reader.

Designer Sterling Fell got guests excited for the future (aka the next day) with gorgeous succulents and purple floral arrangements.

photographer: Gruber Photographers | planner: NYLUX Events | florals: Sterling Fell | venue: Riverpark

Giant chalkboard word search at an outdoor wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photography: Victoria Angela Photography

Timeless Games

Orlando, FL

Event planner Très Chic Southern Weddings brought fun and games to this outdoor rehearsal dinner at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.

A chalk-board word search from Chalk Shop and giant Jenga set gave guests an opportunity to meet new friends.

Lee James Floral added additional joy to the scene with warm-hued flower cascades.

photographer: Victoria Angela Photography | planner: Whitney Carillon Events | florals: Lee James Floral Design | venue: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes | invitations & print: Chalk Shop | rentals: Hello Florida Destination Management | videographer: LUXECINE

RELATED: 13 Ways to Make Your Wedding Special Through Entertainment

13. Spread the Love with Heartfelt Party Favors

What better way to thank your guests (and get them ready for the weekend ahead) than with a care package? Spread the love with these heartfelt rehearsal dinner ideas.

Gift box with personalized message for a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Di Natale Photography

Get Personal

Palm Springs, CA

For this rehearsal dinner at Parker Palm Springs, event planner The Lynden Lane Company partnered with Madovar Luxury Gift Boxes to create the perfect collection of goodies.

As guest opened their packages, they found far more than just boxed water, dark chocolate, and other edible treats.

Inside the lining of the box was a welcome message from the couple — a harbinger of all the love to come over the weekend.

photographer: Di Natale Photography | planning & design: The Lynden Lane Company | design & styling: Karson Butler Events | venue: Parker Palm Springs | furniture: Hire Elegance & Folklore Rentals | lighting: Amber Event Production | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | paper goods: Katie O’Brien | invite production & design: Swell Press | napkins: For Your Party | gift boxes: Madovar Luxury Gift Boxes | drink stirrers: The Bleu Dahlia

Party favor whiskey bottles displayed against calligraphy signage at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer courtesy of Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events

Get the Party Started

Westlake Village, CA

Event planner Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events delighted guests at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village with take-home (and personalized) whiskey bottles.

The sweet (and gorgeous) signage added to the heart-warming gesture.

Designer Revelry Event Designers and florist Mark Garden mesmerized guests with floral-laden tablescapes and sage details. 

photos courtesy of & planner: Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events| florals: Marks Garden& Nancy Kaye | décor: Revelry Event Designers| venue: Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village| rentals: Tacer & The Ark | linen: Resource One Linens | print: Sloane Harmony Design| entertainment: The David Aldo | lighting: Images By Lighting| audio: Clearwave ATV

RELATED: 5 Steps for Hosting the Perfect After-the-Wedding Party

14. Create an Unforgettable Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Moment

Between greeting guests and going through the usual pre-wedding rituals, the bridal couple has plenty of activities to keep busy. With that in mind, we love the idea of carving out time in the celebration for a heartfelt moment.

Man and woman releasing wish lantern over ocean at a wedding rehearsal dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Chris + Lynn Photographers

Make a Wish

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

This destination rehearsal dinner at Esperanza, An Auberge Resort gave everyone the perfect chance to mindfully celebrate the joy of marriage.

Event planner LK Events provided wish lanterns for guests to write down their hopes for the couple.

As the sun began to set, everyone released their lanterns into the evening sky.

photographer: Chris + Lynn Photographers | planner: LK Events | décor, florals, lighting, & rental furniture: ELENA DAMY | venue: Esperanza, An Auberge Resort | videographer: I Do Films | entertainment: DJ Spider and DJ Chris Kennedy

See Any Rehearsal Dinner Ideas That You Love?

It gets better. PartySlate can help you find your dream team of vendors to bring these ideas to life. Click here to discover photographers, caterers, décor teams, and more. You can further narrow down your search by location and services.

Looking for a venue to host your wedding rehearsal dinner? You can also browse PartySlate’s curated list of top venues for a wedding rehearsal dinner here

You can also find more wedding rehearsal dinner ideas here.

Who Comes to the Rehearsal Dinner for a Wedding?

While the final guest list is always up to you, we recommend extending an invitation to immediate family, the wedding party, and any people participating in the wedding ceremony or reception — along with any spouses. 

If your budget allows for it, you may also want to include close friends and out-of-town guests.

Remember, the rehearsal dinner is both an opportunity to spend time quality with loved ones and thank them for their support and participation in the wedding itself.

In the end, you want to feel happy with your guest list. After all, your wedding day is likely to be one of the busiest (and most momentous) days of your life. Let the wedding rehearsal dinner be at time to slow down and bask in all the love and support.

Do Out of Town Guests Attend the Rehearsal Dinner?

Traditionally, couples have often extended rehearsal dinner invitations to out-of-town guests as a way of thanking them for the time and expense that comes with traveling.

However, you may prefer to have an intimate wedding rehearsal dinner that only includes immediate family and close friends. In that case, there are many other ways to make your out-of-town guests feel special and appreciated.

One of our favorite ways to show appreciation includes providing out-of-town guests with welcome gifts or party favors. It also just happens to be one of our favorite wedding rehearsal dinner ideas.

PartySlate can connect you with some of our favorite favors and gift professionals. Often, invitations and print companies also offer chic gift ideas.

You can also use PartySlate’s image search for more gifting inspiration. You’ll find everything from monogrammed swag to personalized party favors. 

How Long Does a Rehearsal Dinner Last?

A rehearsal dinner often begins with a run-through of the actual wedding ceremony. We recommend scheduling this “rehearsal” after working hours for the convenience of your guests.

The rehearsal usually takes 30 – 45 minutes. After that, the festivities begin. Many couples choose to arrange transportation from the ceremony venue to the rehearsal dinner venue. PartySlate can help you find top transportation services in your area.

The wedding rehearsal dinner can last anywhere from an hour to several hours. This will depend on how much time you decide to allocate for dining and additional activities. For example, you may want to include time for a cocktail hour, speeches, and entertainment.

Just remember, you want to make sure you get a good night’s rest for the wedding day. While we hate for any party to end (especially one with so many great wedding rehearsal dinner ideas), we also suggest ending the dinner at a decent hour. After all, the next big celebration is only a night’s sleep away.