27 Oct All About Our Rehearsal Dinner: Ideas for Food, Decor, Games and More
If you’re looking for rehearsal dinner ideas, you’ve come to the right place! I’m so excited to share the decor, flowers, food and all the details from our wedding welcome party.
Joe and I finally tied the knot at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in August after deciding to postpone in 2020. We invited all our guests to the rehearsal dinner since it was a destination wedding, and we wanted to spend as much time with our friends and family as possible during the weekend. The space was both indoors and outdoors so guests could enjoy the beautiful views of the golf course but also have some A/C as an escape from the summer heat.
We fully embraced the small town Southern charm of Pinehurst and carried that theme through the food, decor and details.
Southern Style Rehearsal Dinner Food
We wanted this event to be more casual than the wedding, so we opted for food stations rather than a formal sit-down meal. To fit our Southern theme and give guests a taste of the town, we had a pig pickin’ with pulled pork sandwiches, a chicken and waffles station, a mac and cheese bar with three varieties, a seafood raw bar and a salad station (we had to have something healthy!). Since Pinehurst is an iconic golf destination, our specialty cocktail was a delicious spiked Arnold Palmer: lemonade and iced tea with vodka. I ordered these chalkboard menus for each station and my mom calligraphed them, which was such a nice personal touch.
Rehearsal Dinner Decor
I based the design around the blue buffalo check linen we rented from BBJ Linen (they ship nationwide). The pattern felt perfect for the occasion and worked with the blue accents in the room. I went with varied sizes and shapes for the tables to add visual appeal. It was also functional — with no assigned seating, this set-up better accommodated groups of different sizes. And to lighten up the room, I swapped the venue’s bulky chairs for white cross-back chairs for a more airy feel.
Overall, I wanted the design to feel connected to the wedding weekend but also be unique and special. Our amazing florist, Hathaway Floral, created similar floral runners but went heavier on the greenery. The florals had a more loose, organic and meadow-like style. Instead of using vases, our florist built them in low clear dishes that were covered with moss so it appeared that the arrangements were growing out of the table. The flower color scheme was a subtle nod to my dress (more details on that below), which was embroidered with red, yellow and green flowers. We used a ton of pretty flower varieties from ranunculus and anemones to solidago and billy balls.
Rehearsal Dinner Dress for the Bride
My dress was from Sarah Seven’s Before collection. They have the most stunning looks for a rehearsal dinner or after party. I went to their NYC showroom to try on a few options, and the customer service was truly top notch. The sequins and embroidery made me feel like a star, and the midi length was really classy. The dress came with bright white straps, but I had my seamstress switch them out for ivory, which I thought matched the dress better. Joe got his suit from Robbie & Co. in NYC, and he also had rave views for their customer service and efficiency.
It’s All in the Details!
The small details are my favorite part of planning! For this event, I ordered custom napkins from For Your Party with a variety of fun sayings such as Welcome to North Carolina and Cheers Y’all and one that had our wedding hashtag #PartyatPinehurst. These were at the bars and passed around by the servers with the hors d’oeuvres. I also had blue and white straws for all the cocktails to tie in with our linens.
Another easy rehearsal dinner idea: Add throw pillows in your color palette. The outdoor area of our rehearsal dinner had basic gray lounge furniture. To spruce them up, I ordered a bunch of sky blue and white pillows from Amazon. It really made the lounge areas feel more comfortable and inviting.
Rehearsal Dinner Music
We had a Raleigh-based singer-guitarist Cody Daniel play some crowd-pleasing hits. His voice was amazing, and his repertoire of songs was seriously impressive. He even threw in a few country tunes to give our guests a true North Carolina experience. Cody also provided the all-important sound system for speeches.
Our venue was surrounded with beautiful columns both indoors and outdoors. My incredible lighting vendor SimpSound added uplighting for each column to give it a subtle glow. While I was tempted to skip on the lighting to cut costs, I was so glad I ended up doing it because it really set the mood for the evening.
Rehearsal Dinner Games
We wanted all our guests to get to know each other, and games are a great way for people to socialize! My sister made us the most beautiful corn hole set for our rehearsal dinner. We got the plain wood boards from Home Depot, and she painted our logo onto them along with a few of our favorite places and things. I also ordered “Team Megan” and “Team Joe” custom bean bags from Etsy to go with it. The corn hole was such a hit, and it’s fun that we’ll have this forever for our house.
At the end of the night, we opened up glow-in-the-dark mini golf! With Pinehurst’s history, we had to incorporate golf into our big day. We held a friendly competition on the Thistle Dhu putting course directly behind the venue.
A huge thanks for all the vendors for making our rehearsal dinner so special!
Photography: Theo Milo Photography
Venue & Catering: Pinehurst Country Club
Florist: Hathaway Floral
Linens: BBJ Linen
Chairs: CE Rental
Music: Cody Daniel
Coordination: A Southern Soiree
Hair & Makeup: Ashley Mooney