The Best Summer Rehearsal Dinner Ideas
Planning a summer wedding weekend comes with a lot of perks, especially if you've decided to host the big day and all of the coinciding pre-nuptial parties outdoors. This is often the biggest advantage of all: Getting to spend the majority of a weekend outside, surrounded by the people you love most. That sound like your definition of an idyllic celebration? Then be sure to kick off your own weekend of outdoor fun with a rehearsal dinner that doubles as an homage to the season.
Not sure where to start when planning your warm-weather party? You've come to the right place. Ahead, you'll find a myriad of summer rehearsal dinner ideas, all taken from seasonal events we love. From party attire options (for both the bride- and groom-to-be!) and tabletop décor motifs to in-season flowers and food and drink (rosé, anyone?) menu must-haves, there are plenty of rehearsal dinner additions to bookmark on the following slides.
Ultimately, though, crafting the best-possible summer rehearsal dinner rests on several factors—the most important of which is its cohesion with your venue. While an intimate, open-air party covered in florals works best in a garden locale, a celebration on the beach calls for simpler décor overall. Hosting your dinner on a casual restaurant's patio? Bookmark this tabletop by Mari Foster; white bistro chairs gave a blush velvet La Tavola tablecloth a relaxed vibe that suited the location (small floral arrangements from Evergreen Flower Co. and streamlined white dishware via Something Old Dayton completed the look). Wherever you choose to hold your summer rehearsal dinner, there's here something that will speak to you, your venue, and, of course, the season.
Modern Summer Attire
If you've planned a summer wedding weekend, you know that the temperature will—most likely—be on the higher side, which is why you'll want to dress accordingly. Take notes from this stylish duo, who were as prepared for their warm-weather celebration as they were stylish. The bride-to-be chose a semi-sheer Rasario dress with a breathable skirt (we like that she went for a pop of black, to contrast the white she'd wear the next day), while her future groom donned a Richard James cream-colored suit and easy loafers from Belgian Shoes NYC.
Your rehearsal dinner's flowers won't necessarily be as involved as your reception's but there's nothing wrong with adding a bold floral focal point to each tablescape. This multicolored pastel centerpiece, composed of purple delphinium, peach garden roses, creamy Japanese anemone, and pink scabiosa, by Kelly Lenard anchored this party's central table, which was kept otherwise simple with creamy linens and neutral dinnerware from The Top Rentals.
If you've decided to assign seats during this pre-wedding party, go for a simple escort card concept that pulls double-duty—and nods to the season. These fruit-filled mini baskets from Etsy, reminiscent of the ones you'd find at a summer farmer's market, were filled with seasonal favorites, like oranges and raspberries. A calligraphed note, courtesy of The Lazy Creative, atop each helped guests find their tables; they also served as yummy snacks.
Not hosting your rehearsal dinner outside? A glass-enclosed greenhouse is the next best thing. Sezana Botanical Garden, the locale seen here, is a bohemian couple's dream: Filled with potted cacti, crawling air plants, and lush tropical trees, the green-filled space was the perfect backdrop for this duo's boho-chic event. On the tabletop, green vinyl chairs, goblets, and candles tied the setup—curated by Mareli Wedding Planner & Designer—to its surroundings.
The sun sets later during the summer, which means you still might need protection from its rays even if you're kicking off this party around dinner time. Copy this bride-to-be and pair a cropped two-piece ensemble (it helped her beat the late-evening heat!) with a wide-brimmed hat; the Free People accessory featured a fun fresh floral component by Natasha Kolenko.
New Red, White, and Blue
Planning a wedding over the Fourth of July weekend? Reinterpret the holiday's signature red, white, and blue color scheme in a newfangled way for your rehearsal dinner (this is particularly fun if your wedding has a completely different palette). A dusty blue La Tavola tablecloth contrasted the vintage red-and-white patterned dinnerware on this Smith + James Events setup; an ultra-colorful centerpiece, which Kelly Lenard filled with orchids, mums, ranunculus, lilies, sweet peas, and kumquats subtly referenced the shades below.
Summer is a lush, verdant season; pay homage to its vibrancy by donning rehearsal dinner ensembles that pay homage to one of its more natural shades (green!). Note how this couple's outfits feel intentionally complementary. The bride-to-be choose a colorful, but green-centric ensemble in a summery print, while her groom went for an opaque emerald suit.
Love the idea of a Champagne tower, but are nervous about putting together a multi-tiered, complex iteration for your reception's 200 guests? Try out this fun drink setup come the rehearsal dinner, which often entails a much smaller head count (and, therefore, requires less coupes!). Two white floral arrangements by Florésie flanked this tower, arranged by Jennifer Fox Weddings.
Not into the idea of getting hitched by the sea? Consider a romantic on-land option, like a garden venue. Find a sweet nook on the property—this celebration took place near the The Estate at North Mowing's central fountain, which bubbled in the distance—for your rehearsal dinner, like this duo did here. Events By Sorrell crafted the ultimate pre-wedding setup with dusty rose linens, wicker chairs, and dreamy Emily Herzig florals.
Looking for even more rehearsal dinner outfit for your groom? Make this this handsome gent and draw color inspiration from a bright summer sky when ideating his suit.
If you choose to serve a cake during your rehearsal dinner, keep it small (leave the over-the-top confection for the main event!). A fun way to make your tiny dessert feel special? Sugar flowers, like the ones on this Sheila Mae cake. Bonus points if they match the fresh florals seen throughout the party.
Arguably one of the most important things to consider when planning a summer event—especially one hosted outdoors—is hydration. Ensure your rehearsal dinner guests are safe under the blazing setting sun by providing an infused water (or lemonade!) station, like this one by Danae Grace Events; these drinks will supplement all the Champagne going around.
Fruity Grazing Station
When mapping out your rehearsal dinner menu, consider the heat—and avoid heavy, rich foods, like creamy pasta bars, that might make guests feel bogged down. Serve lighter bites (think salads and lean proteins) instead—and offer a fruity grazing station, filled with seasonal favorites, for dessert. Grupo Dani Garcia set up this colorful food table, complete with fresh plums, grapes, bananas, and more.
The Couple in White
Make the most of weddings' signature color (white!) by wearing the neutral—in tandem—during your pre-wedding celebration, à la this couple (she wore a custom Elie Saab dress, while he donned a bespoke suit from Derby Suit and Tailoring). It's a fun way to foreshadow a major detail of the following day: your wedding dress.
Draw inspiration from wedding receptions' classic décor elements when brainstorming your rehearsal's design. This duo worked with Ashley Nicole Events to map out a cozy lounge (an idea most often executed during an actual wedding!), complete with rugs and furniture from Yonder Floral & Décor House, for their pre-nuptial party.
Encourage your guests to take advantage of your venue's grassy lawn by setting up a few game stations near the dinner setup; a sunset round of croquet is a fun, low-key option.
Now here's another fun way to serve rosé on the night before the wedding. Frozen wine pops are casual and easy to eat—which make them absolutely perfect for your laid-back rehearsal.
A Locale-Ready Dress
Ultimately, your rehearsal dinner dress should speak to the event's overall aesthetic—this obviously involves your location. Take this bride-to-be's Nardos Design ensemble, for example. Loose and flowing, the simple number—complete with mesh sleeves and a breezy sheer lace skirt—felt elegant, but still casual enough for her Jackson Hole party.
If you're already hosting your destination nuptials on the beach, why not throw all of your wedding-weekend's soirées alongside the water, as well? After all, you chose your sandy locale (at least) partly for its epic views. Though your backdrop will do most of the talking, pretty tabletop décor can't hurt, as evidenced by this flower-filled setup by Anna Le Pley Taylor.
You can't host a summertime rehearsal dinner without ice cream—that's just a fact. Enlist a local creamery to serve up cups of gelato (these were provided by Splendora's) in your favorite flavors. Finish off the treats with personalized stickers, complete with your names and wedding date.
In need of a healthier dessert option? Wedge lollipop sticks into watermelon triangles and serve them frozen.
Just a Few Blooms
For simplicity's sake, stick to just a few floral varieties as you design your rehearsal dinner centerpieces. As this mostly-greenery peony, garden rose, scabiosa, and ranunculus (all in-season blooms!) garland by Bloomwell & Co. proves, less really is more.
Take a bold approach to your rehearsal dinner attire and step into a nontraditional pantsuit for the celebration. This bride, for example, wore a strapless Lela Rose top over white wide-legged pants on the big night.