Rehearsal dinners are great for a couple of reasons. First, they allow you to run through the ceremony and work out any kinks before the actual wedding day. Secondly, it is a chance for your friends and family to get to know each other in a light-hearted and casual setting. Rather than have a formal (and often expensive) sit down rehearsal dinner, why not opt for something a little more… fun? This doesn’t mean some hotdogs on a grill (unless that’s your jam) but loosen the expectations and do something that speaks to you as a couple and celebrate with a low-key – but awesome– event.

Here are six ways to make your rehearsal dinner (almost) as memorable as your wedding:

1. Great food:

The best way to bring people together is food. Opting for a few passed hors d’oeuvres or a giant charcuterie table will allow your guests to eat as much as they want without feeling the pressure to finish a three-course meal. Go a step further and get creative with your food options- maybe have a food truck or reflect your favourite meal as a couple.

2. Give your guests an experience:

Create a focal point of the evening by playing up the location of your wedding. Is your venue on a big, gorgeous lake up North? Have your rehearsal dinner on a boat. Maybe you’re nestled in beautiful wine country and have your rehearsal dinner in a tasting cellar of your favourite winery. Get creative!

3. Have a bonfire:

The best conversations happen with a few casual drinks, an open fire and maybe an acoustic guitar. Finish your night by coming together and feeling connected with a bonfire. Bonus point if you provide s’mores.

4. Get creative with your bar:

While there is no need to hire a bartender for the night, you should definitely have drinks available. Now is your chance to do something cute, like fill a canoe or vintage bathtub with drinks. Or even serve your beverages from the back of an airstream!

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5. Have a (curated) photo montage:

If you think having a photo montage at the wedding is cheesy, opt for one at your rehearsal dinner instead. This will allow your guests to see your relationship through the years and remind you and your partner of all the great times you’ve had thus far.

6. Lots of room for activities:

When you and your bridal party are doing the actual rehearsing, there is a lull where the other guests haven’t quite gotten to know each other yet and they are usually just standing around awkwardly. Avoid this by providing some lawn games like Jenga or cornhole (along with a few bevvies) and they will be besties in no time.

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There is no need for your rehearsal dinner to be a stuffy and boring affair. It is your chance to get excited about your wedding and to spend quality time with those closest to you. Make it an evening to remember and have fun – Happy Planning!