5 Fun Rehearsal Dinner Party Themes To Calm Pre-Wedding Nerves

Photo from Green Wedding Shoes by Michèle M Waite

The wedding rehearsal dinner has come a long way from the stuffy and ridged sit-down dinner. Rather than renting out a bland and boring conference room at a hotel or the back room of a restaurant, more and more couples are infusing their rehearsal dinner with more fun and flair.

There are plenty of rehearsal dinner party themes that don’t involve the traditional notions of your last supper before the ring. You can easily spice up the night before your wedding with a fun theme and give your two families and wedding parties something to write home about to their friends. If you are looking to make your rehearsal dinner almost as memorable as the big day and even calm those pre-wedding jitters, here are a few fun and fancy-free rehearsal dinner party themes to consider.

1. Play Ball

One of the easiest ways to set your rehearsal dinner apart is by taking it to an uncanny yet spirited location. For the sporty couple, the ballpark might make for an ideal rehearsal dinner location. Most ballparks offer the opportunity to rent out a suite during a game or during the off-season. Group packages can also include food and drink along with the placement of your names on the scoreboard. Complete with frothy beers, hot dogs, Cracker Jacks and peanuts, you can celebrate the night before your wedding and also take in a baseball game. This fun rehearsal dinner wedding theme requires very little effort on the part of the couple, as generally the venue will take care of the details.

Fun Rehearsal Dinner Party Themes: Go to a ball game

Photo by tbridge

You can even schedule your big day around a game that might be important to the bride and groom. For example, my sister had her rehearsal dinner at AT&T Ballpark when the Giants, her groom’s team and the Rockies, her team, were playing against each other. It created a fun rivalry between the two families with dueling teams coming together the night before the wedding.

2. The Perfect Vintage

Wine tasting rehearsal dinner

Photo by noviceromano

The rehearsal dinner generally kicks off the wedding weekend. If you want to uncork the celebration in style, a wine tasting rehearsal dinner might be your vintage. If your wedding location is close to a wine producing region or perhaps directly on a vineyard, you can keep your rehearsal dinner in the same theme by hosting a wine tasting rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal dinner ideas: Go Wine Tasting

Photo by irene

Couples can either rent out vineyard spaces and cellars of their favorite winemakers or even arrange to have their favorite vineyard come to a rehearsal dinner location and educate the wedding party about wine. The wine tasting rehearsal dinner lends a fun theme and also an easy way to relax before the wedding while learning a thing or two about the area’s winemaking. A wine tasting rehearsal dinner is also good fit for smaller rehearsal dinner groupings. If your party is more into beer than wine, you can host a similar celebration at a local brewery or bring in your favorite brewery for a taste test of local pints.

3. Food Truck Fare

Many cities have embraced food that travels on wheels. Frequenting a food truck is not just a good idea of killing time on a Saturday. It can also be a viable option for your rehearsal dinner fare. Couples can bring in their favorite food trucks for a sampling of local cuisine that moves. Most food trucks allow you to rent out their services for a certain time slot or even for a specific amount of food. This rehearsal dinner party theme is especially fitting for the foodie couple.

Rehearsal dinner ideas: Food Truck

Photo from Green Wedding Shoes by Joielala Photographie

While I didn’t hire out food trucks for my own rehearsal dinner, we did have a waffle food truck come to our after the wedding brunch. Guests could step right up to the food truck and order what they wanted in waffle form. It made for a fun way to celebrate the wedding and sample something special and sweet from the area. For your rehearsal dinner, you can arrange for just one food truck or several perhaps featuring different courses such as an appetizer truck, main course truck and a dessert food truck.

4. Let’s Fiesta, Ok?

Rehearsal dinner ideas: Fiesta

Photo from Once Wed

The rehearsal dinner should be fun and relaxing, rather than uptight and ridged. One rehearsal dinner theme that is sure to keep things light is the Mexican fiesta. A couple can use this opportunity to embrace Mexican dishes, bright colors and plenty of flare.

You can even hire a mariachi band to come play during your dinner and adorn tables with cacti instead of flower arrangements, similar to what Kate Bosworth did to kick off her wedding week. The Mexican fiesta is much more casual than the wedding day, adding that touch of whimsy and fun to the wedding weekend, perfect for calming pre-wedding nerves.

Rehearsal dinner party ideas: Fiesta

Photo from Martha Stewart Weddings

5. Beach Bonanza

Photo from Once Wed by

Photo from Once Wed by Aaron Delesie

If couples are on the nervous side for their big day, a beachside rehearsal dinner theme might just be what the doctor ordered to calm those nerves. The natural setting with waves crashing and sand between toes creates a relaxed atmosphere to unwind before wedding bells ring. Perhaps you couldn’t have your wedding on the beach or you are marrying at a venue with a beachside view instead. A beach location for your rehearsal dinner can be the perfect opportunity to enjoy the location, without worrying about too many details, as it’s not the wedding day.

Clambakes, crawfish bowls, barbecues and fish fries are all popular rehearsal dinner meals that promote the relaxed tone of the beach. If you want to add more of a refined touch to your beach rehearsal dinner, you can go with more of a nautical theme. Bottom line, the beach rehearsal dinner lends one of the few locations where you can truly kick off your shoes and unwind before saying, “I do.”

Photo from Elizabeth Anne Designs by

Photo from Elizabeth Anne Designs by Brooke Roberts Photography

Your Turn…

Did you have a fun rehearsal dinner theme? Share your story with us in the comments below.