Exhausted by wedding plans? Turn your Rehearsal Dinner into mandatory wedding downtime. Skip all the formalities, and keep the event casual.
Start with simple invitations.
Type up the details on your PC. Print them out on brightly colored paper, and mail to guests in matching envelopes. Throw some rice inside the invitation, just in case anyone forgets the reason for the festivities.
Host the event at home.
Instead of meeting at a restaurant or club, invite the wedding party to your home or that of a close relative, to keep it cozy. Decorate the main party room simply using crepe paper streamers, metallic streamers and balloons in the wedding colors. In fact, a few strands of string lights might be all you need. Or you can tie balloons together to form a long length, then curve them over the doorway to welcome guests through a balloon archway. Use streamers to create a canopy in the party room. Starting at the middle of the ceiling, swag the streamers out to the walls, and let them drape down the wall. For atmosphere, place votive candles in the wedding colors all around the room and on the table. Forego the romantic wedding music for this night, instead get out your favorite CDs and let everyone kick back.
Make the Rehearsal Dinner simple but special.
Use disposable plastic cutlery, paper party plates and cups. You won’t want to be doing dishes in the morning. Even set the table with a paper tablecloth in the wedding colors.
Serve a light buffet to leave room for the wedding meal. You can make it a potluck and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. Or offer a cheese and meat buffet, with different types of breads and spreads to make sandwiches. A wine-tasting theme might be a fun way to spend the evening, or hold the dinner outside in a rented party tent, and make it a garden buffet on a table covered with fresh flowers.
For dessert, have a small version of the wedding cake made or cupcakes that look like little wedding cakes. Use small cartoon figures as caketoppers! And if you didn’t get the ice cream cake you wanted for your wedding day, now’s your chance!
Entertain your guests with wedding rehearsal activities.
Have a blank book on hand. Ask each guest to write a fond memory or amusing anecdote about the wedding couple. When the stories are finished, ask the guests to sign their pages, then present the notebook to the bride and groom.
Set disposable cameras on the tables and let the guests take pictures whenever they want. Collect the cameras at the end of the party and develop the film. You should have an amusing collection of candid shots of the rehearsal dinner party to put in your wedding-proofs album.
Send the wedding party home with memories of this special event.
Buy the bridesmaids a special piece of jewelry to wear at the wedding, such as a necklace, bracelet, ankle bracelet or pair of earrings. When the wedding is over, they can use the jewelry for other occasions. Get the groomsmen cufflinks, neckties or bow ties to wear at the event, or some good cologne. Give everyone picture frames. Take candid Polaroids of them to place in the frames. Or give them bottles of champagne with the wedding party label.
Wrap up the party early and get a good night’s rest! It’s uphill from here!