vibrant invitations for a rehearsal dinner fiesta
vivid flowers and cacti for a fiesta
Years ago, when I was just a newbie wedding photographer, it was rare for my clients to request that I shoot their rehearsal dinner. After all, the dinner was usually a low-key meal attended by the couple’s families and bridal party. There were a few toasts and some heartfelt hugs, but little else that I could be called upon to document.

WOW, have times changed!!

More and more often, I’m called upon to photograph rehearsal dinners as couples host large parties to welcome their guests. A rehearsal dinner is not only a fun time to blow off some steam before the wedding, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for friends and family on both sides of the aisle to mix and mingle. But as the rehearsal dinner expands beyond a mere meal, it also adds the pressure to make it cool. Make it fun. Make it special!

I love this trend toward making rehearsal dinners more creative and memorable, and I thought I'd offer three suggestions for making your rehearsal dinner theme fun and unique!

1. Focus on your relationship
Think back on the history of your relationship with your fiancé. Maybe there was a movie that was especially meaningful in your dating history. Use that as a springboard for a fun Back to the Future or Breakfast at Tiffany's dinner. Perhaps you spent a vacation together that you will always remember. That's a great way to tie your history into an Italian menu! Below are a few photos from Blake & Dominique's rehearsal dinner. The couple met when they were both attending the University of Arizona, and they drew on that shared history for their rehearsal dinner.
football centerpiece for a college themed rehearsal dinner
football centerpiece for a college themed rehearsal dinner
University of Arizona themed decor for a rehearsal dinner
University of Arizona banner celebrating the wedding of 2 alumni
sunset view of a desert resort
2. Focus on the locale
There are so many cool venues where you can hold your rehearsal dinner! Let the location guide you to a perfect theme. Whether you're holding a wine and cheese party in a vineyard or a country dinner at a farmhouse, capitalizing on the location of your dinner can be a perfect way to make it special! In the images below, Liz & Joe had many guests coming in from other parts of the country, so they wanted to highlight the desert location of their rehearsal dinner with a fun, Western theme.
the boulders in north Phoenix
vintage style glass lantern
Burro wearing a sombrero serves drinks
fire pit ready for s'mores
3. Focus on an activity
One of the joys of the rehearsal dinner is that there are so few rules -- it can be as structured or as relaxed as you would like! So if you want to incorporate an activity or hobby that you and your fiancé share ... go for it! Adding an activity will make your rehearsal dinner stand out, and it can also be an excellent way to break the ice if your families don't know one another well. My clients Fergus & Amanda both play in bands, so they had a big jam session for their rehearsal dinner. And below are images from Sean & Tiffany's bowling alley rehearsal dinner. Everyone had the BEST time!
retro styled bowling alley
smiling couple bowl together
watching their friends bowl
electric sign at a vintage styled bowling alley
black and white photo of a bowling alley
Remember, like all other aspects of the wedding, the rehearsal dinner is about you and your fiancé, and the families that you're combining! Whether you choose to have a themed party that is over-the-top or a simple, sit-down meal, your loved ones are going to be so happy to share this time with you!
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3 great suggestions on how to make your rehearsal dinner fun and personal
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