Rehearsal Dinner: Themes and Dinner Options

I recently had a member of Tulle Nation request a post on rehearsal dinners. She was stuck on what kind of dinner to have and needed some inspiration for a theme. Now, traditionally, the groom’s family handles the rehearsal dinner (allowing the bride’s family to focus on the actual rehearsal and wedding day) but more and more couples are hosting their own rehearsal dinners (just like The Boy and I will be doing for our May nuptials). So the question is? Can you host a rehearsal dinner that’s fun and inspired while on a budget? The answer? Totally.

Rehearsal Dinner #1: The Italian Feast

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Image Courtesy of: Living Lucca

Everyone loves pasta (there’s even gluten-free options!) and pasta is cheap. Do a family-style dinner with two entrees – one with meat and one without (try the ever popular spaghetti plus a caprice-style one). Add a huge garden salad, 3-5 salad dressings, a couple of loaves of homemade bread, and some red wine. For dessert, have sorbet with wafers. To decorate, cover the tables in checked cloth (like large print gingham) and lots of white dishes. Use the bread as a centerpiece (several lined up on a long cutting board would look awesome) and add unscented candles stuck in mismatched candlesticks or old wine bottles.

Rehearsal Dinner #2: The Seafood Feast

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Image Courtesy of: Southern Living

Most of the time, seafood is not the go-to budget option. However, if you’re lucky enough to live on the New England or Gulf Coast, it is completely doable. Simply host a crab or shrimp boil! They don’t need utensils and most people love to drink cold beer with the meal. Add some fresh berries with whipped cream or ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Add some newspaper-covered tables, several buckets (for seafood “skins”), and old glass jars filled with melted butter - and your decorating is done. Cooking and clean-up is minimal but the fun is in the getting messy while you and your friends eat up.

Rehearsal Dinner #3: The Forkable Feast

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Image Courtesy of: Seattle Times

Want something casual but tasteful (heh) for your rehearsal dinner? Try a forkable buffet – a sandwich bar and/or salad bar where everything requires fingers or just a fork to eat. Gather together 2-3 pre-sliced meats, 2-3 pre-sliced cheeses, and 2-3 bread options. Pair with some sliced veggies and condiments for a simple and tasty meal. For a salad bar, lay out some lettuce plus 5-6 chopped vegetable options and several dressings. It’s also nice to include a few pre-made salads (like macaroni or green bean) but not required. For drinks, stick with lemonade spritzers or soda and for dessert – homemade pie. Have a pile of blankets and quilts handy for lounging on.

Rehearsal Dinner #4: The Breakfast Feast

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Image Courtesy of: Design*Sponge

Breakfast for dinner? Always a winner. Host a pancake rehearsal dinner and just listen to your friends ooh and aah. Set up a few griddles with pre-mixed pancake batter. Let guests choose toppings (chocolate chips, blueberries, bananas, flaxseed, etc.) and be served by a helpful volunteer ***coughcoughfamilymembercoughcough***. Add breakfast sausage or bacon and fruit slices for a yummy (but super budget-friendly) dinner. Decorate tables with old sheets (no need to worry about spills) and lots of brightly-colored flowers in old jars and tin cans.

Rehearsal Dinner #5: The Pizza Feast

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Image Courtesy of: A Well-Traveled Woman

Remember when you were a kid and your class would earn a pizza party? Everyone still LOVES that feeling so bring on the nostalgia and host a rehearsal dinner pizza party! Either order delivery, buy frozen, or do a make-your-own station but make sure to buy several different kinds (including veggie and meat-lovers options!). Pair with soda or beer and a huge garden salad. For dessert, do root beer floats! Use old paint dropclothes as tablecloths and the pizzas will make a delightful centerpiece!

So there you have it, Tulle Nation – 5 very different but very affordable rehearsal dinner ideas. How many of you are planning to have a rehearsal dinner? Who will be hosting it? Do you know what theme or food you’ll be serving? As always, we’d love to hear all about it in the comments.