Casual Rehearsal Dinner Ideas and Inspiration

Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner was thrown the night before the wedding by the parents of the groom. It was usually a formal affair that would involve both families and the wedding party. However, like a lot of wedding traditions, couples are tailoring them to their own tastes, rehearsal dinner included. In many cases, rehearsal dinners are becoming a lot more casual, and are used to kick off the wedding celebrations. If you were thinking of having a more casual rehearsal dinner, here are a few ideas.

Open Seating

Rather than having a full course sit down dinner, why not have open seating. Have buffet or family style food service instead of having servers deliver each course. This will not only be way easier to plan and cheaper, but it will get your guests mingling and getting to know each other before the wedding.


If the weather stays this hot all summer, consider having an outdoor rehearsal dinner. Borrow a marquee from a friend and use the neighbour’s spare chairs and tables to keep in budget. If it is possible, host the rehearsal dinner in a family or friends house so your house is clean and free for wedding prep the next day. If you want to have it at home, I’d advise hiring cleaners or assigning family members to do the honours at the end of the night.


Depending on the style of event you are going for, you have a good few casual food options to choose from. If you’re having an outdoor rehearsal dinner, barbequed or finger food is a safe bet. If you’re casual rehearsal dinner will be indoors, I’d suggest potted food that won’t be too much trouble to cook or serve. A big chilli, curry, or lasagne would go down a treat. Try have at least two options to give your guests a choice. If you have a bit of wiggle room in your budget, you can hire in caterers or get a food vendor to come to the event.

Dress Code

As you are planning a casual rehearsal dinner, the dress code should match. Jeans should be encouraged and suit jackets and ties should be left at home. The guests will be getting dressed up the next day for your wedding, so this will be a welcome change of events. However, make sure to tell your guests in advance if you are having a casual dress code because a lot of people will assume it will be fancy attire.

Here at Marry Me Ireland we have a wide variety of exceptional celebrants who can deliver the wedding ceremony of your dreams – traditional, unique or otherwise. So get in touch today and we can start planning your special day!