Want to make the most of your rehearsal dinner, but coming up short on rehearsal dinner ideas?  The rehearsal dinner can often be an overlooked, but is a very important event because it not only kicks off the wedding festivities, but also provides a time for you to connect with your family and bridal party before all the guests arrive. However, the rehearsal dinner guest list can be made up of a variety of people – immediate family, out-of-towners, childhood friends, college roommates – and, therefore, the value of the dinner can be lost in awkwardness if the guests don’t know each other.

Here are some ideas to help break-the-ice between the rehearsal dinner attendees and ensure that the celebration begins with fun that continues into the wedding day.

Creative Menu

The rehearsal dinner provides an opportunity to spice up the menu a bit because it is a more intimate group compared to your reception.  At Commellini Estate you can have a pizza buffet, a taco bar, spaghetti dinner, sushi boats…the options are endless!  Take advantage of this and get creative!  Some unique ideas include:

  • Finger Food – The rehearsal dinner doesn’t necessarily need to be a full dinner.  Provide your guests with a chance to mingle as they nibble on assorted meats and cheeses or a fruit platter.  Create a popcorn bar, mini sandwiches, or a make-your-own pizza station!

  • Wine Pairing – This can be a fun, unique, and memorable activity.  Head out to a winery or restaurant that offers wine pairing.  Or, if you have a wine connoisseur in the family, host is at someone’s house.

  • Dessert Only –   A dessert buffet can be designed in endless ways!  Enjoy cakes, pies, or brownies.  Offer a variety of options for ice cream sundaes.  Candy bars can be themed and add a pop of color!  One of our favorite dessert ideas is a s’mores bar…our “campfire” brings a little chocolatey, gooey goodness to you.  “Life is short, so eat dessert first!”

Family Style

Hosting a family-style rehearsal dinner offers a unique opportunity for people to get to know each other.  Since rehearsal dinners are fewer guests than the wedding reception, it offers a wonderful setting for guests to share a meal together and engage in conversation.

What is family style?  At Commellini, family-style service is a bridge between a buffet and plated food service.  All the guests are seated at the table, then large platters of food are brought and the guests serve themselves…similar to how your family may eat around your dinner table at home!  Depending on your guest count, you can either sit at various smaller tables or at one large banquet-type table.

Family style is a fun way to encourage guests to chat and get to know each other because, if nothing else, they at least have to ask the other people at the table, “Will you pass the bread?”

Offsite Catering

The day before your wedding can be jam-packed with manicures, picking up flowers, ceremony rehearsals, and any other last minute details.  Having a rehearsal dinner at home can be an enjoyable and relaxing environment, however, the last thing you want to be worried about is cooking dinner for all of the guests.

Hiring a caterer can be a perfect solution to this problem!  It allows for the dinner at home, but with no additional set up or clean up.  You can have a pizza buffet, taco bar, spaghetti dinner, sushi boats…the options are endless!

Tip: As you’re searching for a caterer, make sure to check what service options are available.  Do they deliver?  Do they provide someone to oversee the food service? What type of clean up is involved?  Commellini Estate, for example, provides many different options for our offsite catering events.  We can just drop off the food.  Or we can include a buffet set up, optional serving staff, or event an optional coordinator to help facilitate the dinner.  Our goal is to provide delicious food and excellent service to each of our clients, whether they are having an event onsite or offsite!


Adding a game or two can be the best way to introduce the bridal party.  Here are two ideas for you to try:

1) Introductions

Each rehearsal dinner guest most likely holds a special place in the bride and/or groom’s heart(s).  Although they hold a special connection to you and your significant other, it is quite possible that the guests don’t know each other or each persons’ connection with you.

Therefore, use the rehearsal dinner to make some introductions!  Go around the table and introduce each of your guests.  Tell everyone who they are, what they do, and why they are important to you.  These are the people who will be there for you as you, to support you both through the ups and downs of this journey you are both about to embark on.

And have fun with it!  Share a favorite memory…reveal a funny quirk…you can even let the guests share stories about you!  Show the other guests why this person is important enough in your life to have been asked to be in the bridal party.

2) Bride & Groom Trivia

Try incorporating some Bride & Groom Trivia to see who knows you and your fiancé the best!  Try these two variations of this popular rehearsal dinner activity:

      • Fend for yourself – Come up with a variety of questions about the bride and groom to ask your guests.  Each guest answers the questions and sees how many they know.  Whoever gets the most questions correct wins!

      • Bride vs. Groom – In this variation, the guests split up in teams…one team for the people who know the bride the best and one team for people who know the groom the best.  The bride’s side answers questions about the groom and the groom’s side answers questions about the bride!