I attended a wedding last month of a friend who had a Western-themed rehearsal dinner that was incredibly fun, and it got me thinking about other unique wedding rehearsal ideas that couples planning their wedding can do. Though the sky's the limit when it comes to ideas, the ones below are all things that are easy to implement and are relatively affordable compared to the more traditional, fancy restaurant rehearsal dinner.
As someone who is always up for an insanely fun group wedding activity, I want to do every single wedding rehearsal activity that is on this list. It's not necessarily because each activity is awesomely fun on its own (which obviously they all are), but because each one has a unique way of bringing people together and breaking the ice easily.
Granted, as long as there is a welcoming vibe at any rehearsal dinner, your guests are going to start getting to know one another real fast, but if you're looking to speed up the process, the wedding rehearsal dinner ideas below will help you do just that.
1. Go wild with a Western-themed night
An excuse to wear a comfy plaid shirt, a cowgirl hat, cowboy boots, and occasionally yell "Yeehaw"? Yes, please! This is such a fun rehearsal dinner option, because it gets guests quickly talking about their attire and lots of laughs.
Bonus: If you actually live out west, you can have dinner at a historic cowboy bar like J.T. Basque Bar in Gardnerville, Nevada. This is where my friend's rehearsal dinner was, and everything from the family-style dinner down to the throwback 1800s wallpaper was a conversation starter.
2. Get messy with a New England clambake
Nothing says summer wedding fun like a good old-fashioned New England-style clam bake. There's something about wearing lobster bibs, attacking shells with various tool-like utensils, and dipping food in melted butter that turns an ordinary rehearsal dinner into a festive, fun-filled one.
3. Spread team spirit with a corn hole tournament
This idea is inspired by Toss 'Em Tuesdays at Sugarbush Ski Resort in Warren, Vermont. Every Tuesday during the summer they hold a corn hole tournament, and before the night is through, complete strangers are talking like the best of buddies. Just imagine what an activity like this could do for your wedding guests! Hire a caterer with a mobile brick oven like Woodbelly Pizza to serve on-the-spot, oven-baked pizza, and you and your guests will be having the "Best time ever!" in no time.
Bonus: Get a custom corn hole set, and have the guests sign it at the wedding for a unique guest book alternative.
4. Get guests sipping and sampling with a beer or wine tasting
A beer or wine tasting is great, because you can literally include it in practically any rehearsal dinner idea. Simply pick out a few beers and/or wines, have someone who knows a thing or two about them pour, and discuss them with guests. Ta-da! Suddenly you have an engaging activity for guests to participate in and chat about to break the ice.
5. Get funky at the bowling alley
Bowling is another great option for getting the crowd interacting. Plus, a bowling alley and all the other things it comes with these days (food, bar, game machines, pool tables) mean a night of fun for everyone — kiddos included!
6. Help everyone get a sugar high at the ice cream parlor
Looking for an affordable way to save on your rehearsal dinner? Try an ice cream parlor. Some ice cream parlors have full dinner menus, while other stick to the sugary good stuff. Either way, this is a more affordable option than many wedding rehearsal dinner options, because rarely will you find a bar at an ice cream parlor. Another perk is that the ice cream parlor is such a unique way to spend the night that no one even misses the bar, and everyone's well-rested for the wedding day.
7. Have a throwback dinner at a classic diner
Having a rehearsal dinner at a classic diner can be another affordable and fun option. Encourage your guests to wear their best Grease-inspired outfit, and order their favorite food. Looking to kick the party up a notch? Turn on the jukebox or rent a karaoke machine, and let the good times roll.
8. Let someone else throw a "surprise" party for you
Feeling like you have enough to do let alone think about planning the rehearsal dinner? Give the reigns to someone else, and let them surprise you and your partner for a memorable evening before the wedding. Don't want to ask them to foot the bill? Just give them your budget and let them work their magic.
Looking for other alternative ideas for your wedding? Check out these unique wedding reception ideas your guests will love.
Caitlin Frauton is the Founder and Lead Coordinator at DIY Wedding Mentor, and developed the DIY Wedding Planner's Guide, an affordable alternative to hiring a wedding planner. The DIY Wedding Planner's Guide provides couples with a proven-system for planning their DIY wedding and a private Facebook group for couples to ask all their specific wedding planning questions while getting answers from actual wedding coordinators. To learn more, visit http://www.diyweddingmentor.com/planners-guide.html. This article also was published on Bustle.com.