How to Plan a Casual Rehearsal Dinner

If there is one party that ushers in the ambience of an upcoming wedding, it is most definitely the Rehearsal Dinner. If the bride wants a formal wedding, the rehearsal dinner will most likely lean toward the more stately occasion. However, more and more brides are choosing a more relaxed, casual affair that creates a carefree, fun, party atmosphere. The recent nuptial exchange between my nephew and his bride-to-be presented a great example of how to plan a casual rehearsal dinner.

  • Create a guest list even if it’s strictly email for the wedding party and family members who will be attending the dinner.
  • Send an announcement to all of your loved ones to put dates on their calendar of the wedding weekend happenings. Include date, location and time of rehearsal and rehearsal dinner along with hotel addresses and reservation links if applicable. If the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception is to be held at a different location than the wedding, include the name and address of the venues. Also advise the wedding party and family of the time and locations of wedding photos. Most email apps now have templates for stationary if you want to create a fun, party-themed invitation. Here’s an example:

Save the Dates

  • Plan the menu and contact caterer. For this party, a simple nacho and taco bar was planned.
  • Once the menu is set, determine the decor and make purchases.

Simple Mexican Theme

A simple festive striped square was placed on each table with coordinating flowers and napkins. Candles were added for a softer ambience.

Mexican Centerpiece

Each centerpiece was created with a casual vase of flowers with all of the colors of the table square. Flowers add so much life and are an easy centerpiece to keep the atmosphere fun, simple and festive.

Dessert Table

Large ferns were used on each table. Simple, lively and pretty. This is the dessert table before all the sweets were added.

Double Assembly Line

This taco and nacho bar included chicken, pork and beef to begin the layers of goodies. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, cheese sauce and salsa were delicious toppings for the chips or tortillas. Dessert included cheesecake and key lime pie.

Using Ferns for Decor

The caterer created a double assembly line for ease of service.

Beverage Table

Here in the south, the beverage table had sweet and Splenda sweetened iced tea.

  • Decorate the space about 2 hours prior to the rehearsal.
  • Ask someone ahead of time to say a blessing over the food and couple.
  • Have a designated place for the bride and groom to sit.

Place of Honor

  • Ask members of the wedding party to “roast or toast” the happy couple.

Roasting the Bride and Groom

Making this a fun, relaxed event can set the tone for the wedding day.

Mother of the Groom

The happy couple with the mother of the groom.

Party Planners

Party Planners with the happy couple.

Fun Guests

Just two of the fun guests in attendance! (My daughter and niece.) Hey, I’m the writer and photographer, I have creative license here!!!

Memories to last a lifetime. Congratulations to Ashlyn and Dustin!

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