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kaitlin jeremy rehearsal dinner guests outside

A formal sit-down rehearsal dinner used to be the norm, but many contemporary couples are using the night before the wedding as an opportunity to welcome their guests to the celebration. Whether you like the idea of doing something more modern or sticking with a traditional rehearsal dinner, the options for how you orchestrate this pre-wedding are pretty much endless. So how can a couple decide which kind of rehearsal dinner is right for them and their celebration? We're breaking down some options for you, based on your style.

The More the Merrier

If you're hosting a destination wedding or have a lot of out-of-town guests, you might want to consider turning your rehearsal dinner into a blowout welcome party. Skip the sit-down formalities and focus on passed hor d'oeuvres, an open bar, and a casual setting. We love the idea of a distillery, vineyard, or industrial space. Of course, inviting more people often means spending more money, so you might opt to forgo food all together and re-brand the event as welcome drinks instead. Make sure to let your guests know to fill up on food beforehand, so they don't leave disgruntled and hangry.

Casual and Charming

Maybe your wedding is an hour or so from where you and your guests live, or you're throwing a hometown bash-either way, you know you don't want to throw a formal sit-down rehearsal dinner, but you do want something that definitely involves a good amount of food, mingling, and a smaller head count. Consider renting out a private room at a restaurant or loft space with a limited buffet or hefty passed h'or deourves. An open bar, cocktail tables or picnic tables, and plenty of conversation makes this down-home dinner a relaxing foray into your wedding weekend. A backyard BBQ or even a catered meal at someone's home are some other great ways to get into wedding mode.

Intimate and Romantic

You can't go wrong with candle-strewn tables and a three-course meal. Look into renting out an upscale restaurant (maybe one that even has special meaning to you and your fiancé) and invite only your closest family members and bridal party. Formal toasts, glass clinking, and tableside conversations will set this scene.

A Mini Wedding

You want to go all out? Then do it. We're talking flowers, candles, a clear décor theme, cocktails, and a sit-down meal with your nearest and dearest. The guest list will likely still be smaller than the one you've created for your ceremony and reception, but that doesn't mean you can't splurge on the details.

Invent Your Own

It's your day, so feel free to get creative! Rent a bowling alley, fly in your favorite pizza-the world is truly your oyster. It's your wedding, and there really aren't any rules, especially for a rehearsal dinner.


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