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Although a traditional dinner at a restaurant is terrific, some families may want something a little different from the usual.  

State Park Picnic

Keep it really simple and relaxed during the summer. Host an early-evening event and rent out a section of the local park. Serve sandwiches in baskets and play lawn games. End the evening with a campfire and s'mores!

Food Truck Catering

Is your son's favorite restaurant on wheels? Host the party at your house with tables on your patio under string lights.  Hire food trucks to cater the event for a laidback and fun evening. Tomorrow's going to be a busy day, so send people off at a reasonable hour.

Progressive Dinner

Especially if this party isn't being hosted by just one set of parents, this is a great alternative. Have extended relatives open their doors to share family recipes with friends.  Save the biggest house for last (so that everyone can gather in one place) and wrap up the evening with traditional toasts.

Midnight Snacks

You don't always control when a rehearsal dinner can be scheduled. With popular venues during summer, there may not be a lot of flexibility.  If you need to host your "dinner" at a late hour, opt for a decadent buffet of "midnight snacks" rather than serving a traditional entree.

Brunch

Same goes for early morning rehearsals. If everyone is already gathered at 10am, you don't have to wait until evening for your event. Go to a fave cafe, or cook up a homestyle brunch at your place. BTW, you don't have to only do this in the morning. If the couple lives for brunch (and really, who doesn't?), why not serve breakfast for dinner?

Couple's Hobbies

Personalize the rehearsal dinner by incorporating the couple's hobbies. If the bride and groom love to run, host a 5k. Does the groom love making his own beer? Visit a microbrewery. For couples that consider board game nights the very best nights of all, play all of the classics in an epic tournament. Whatever the couple loves can be turned into an entertaining evening.

Minor League Game

Granted, hosting a rehearsal dinner at a major league event would quickly drain your wallet. However, you can often host relatively inexpensive events at minor league games. Cheer on your local team and relax with your closest friends and family at the ballpark!

City Tour/Scavenger Hunt

Whether you go with a tour company or some very industrious family members design it for you, a city tour can be great when you have a lot of relatives coming in from out of town. Show off your hometown pride by renting a bus and visiting the best spots. You can also split people into teams if you have a larger guest list, and host this event scavenger-hunt style.

Bar Trivia Event

Another fun idea for a large party is a bar trivia event. There are companies and DJs you can hire to do all the work for you, or you can come up with your own.  Find a restaurant with a banquet room that serves delish pub food and can provide enough room for teams to split up comfortably.

Fiesta

This summer's hottest wedding trend also works wonderfully for a festive rehearsal dinner. It's Cinco De Mayo year round with cold beers, a taco bar, and a pinata.

Photography   |   Megan Ellis Photography