6 Unique Wedding Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

There is one thing we learned about weddings from the pandemic — there are no rules, which also apply to the wedding rehearsal. A classic wedding rehearsal requires a formal sit-down dinner, but if that’s isn’t your style, we’ve compiled a few other ideas for you. You can make the rehearsal whatever you want it to be. Whether you are having a traditional or a barn wedding in Maryland, it should be what makes you and your partner happy. Take a look at these ideas to grab inspiration for your wedding rehearsal.

6 Creative Wedding Rehearsal and Wedding Dinner Ideas

BBQ Barn Wedding Rehearsal in Maryland

barn dinner at night
Image courtesy of The Barn of Chapel Hill.

Holding your wedding at a barn in Maryland is a unique way to add a rustic, country theme to your special day. You can decorate the venue with white and red-checkered tablecloths for the rehearsal, use flowers and mason jars as centerpieces, and add string lights above for extra ambiance. Then, to make the day extra fun, take it up a notch with silly custom cowboy hats for the wedding party, play pin the tail on the donkey, go bobbing for apples, and dig into some BBQ for dinner. The Smokehouse Grill offers a casual BBQ buffet station perfect to pair with the barn venue, decorations, and games. 

At The Smokehouse Grill, we make sure our quality is a top priority in every dish we serve. We source all certified Angus beef and chicken right from Maryland. We also choose locally-grown produce from Maryland’s eastern shore to offer you the freshest and most delicious ingredients. Take a look at a few of our options that we can include at your wedding rehearsal dinner.

  • Pulled pork
  • Pit beer
  • Pit ham
  • Smoked turkey
  • BBQ chicken
  • Prime rib
  • Crab cakes
  • Corn on the cob
  • String beans
  • Oysters

Bowling Wedding Rehearsal

bride at a bowling alley
Image courtesy of Lyra Vega Bridal.

A bowling wedding rehearsal is an excellent idea for a small wedding party unless you plan on renting out the entire bowling alley — which you can do. There are no rules that say you need a formal wedding rehearsal dinner, so why not bowl and play a few arcade games while drinking a beer? Bowling is an easy way for both sides of the family to have an opportunity to get to know each other if they haven’t already. If you and your family are competitive, add a few prizes and rewards for the winner of the most games, most gutter bowls, and best form. Most bowling alleys sell pizza and beers, or you could head to a local restaurant to have a more formal sit-down meal. 

Brunch Wedding Rehearsal

brunch foods on a table
Image courtesy of The Knot.

Hosting a wedding rehearsal brunch instead of dinner will make the event more casual and is the perfect opportunity to drink a few mimosas with your friends and family. Even if your wedding rehearsal doesn’t occur during the usual brunch hours, you can still play into the brunch theme with the food you serve. Planning your wedding rehearsal for earlier in the day also allows you to end the night early so you can get a great night of sleep before your big day.

Dinner in the Park Wedding Rehearsal

dinner set up in the park
Image courtesy of The Addison Grove.

Host your dinner in a local park if you are looking for a way to keep the formal dinner but crank it up a notch. Not only can this be incredibly beautiful, but it can be cost-effective as well. A picturesque park will add a great ambiance to your dinner and provide you with ample photo opportunities. Spaces in the park can often be free or low-cost, there will be plenty of room for a small or large rehearsal dinner party, and you can even bring a few games to play before or after you eat. Of course, you can’t predict the weather. So if you would like to be extra prepared, you can find a park with a pavilion or bring your own canopies to set up just in case.

Costume Party Wedding Rehearsal

costume party wedding
Image courtesy of Natalie Michelle Photo Co.

Choose a theme of your choice and force your friends and family to participate by dressing up during your wedding rehearsal dinner. Just as the bowling alley was a great way to break the ice between families, this will be too. Everyone loves to dress up in costume and play a new character for a few hours! You can create a general theme like your favorite decade, or you can assign your guests to a character you feel best represents them. If your wedding is around Halloween, you could lean into that theme. A costume party is a fun way to celebrate your wedding and make sure you hire a photographer because you’ll want these memories for a lifetime.

Golfing Wedding Rehearsal

bride and groom at topgolf
Image courtesy of 196 Events.

Sure, country clubs are standard for most wedding rehearsal dinners, but most wedding parties don’t actually go golfing. If you and your partner are avid golfers or just like to play for fun, host a cocktail hour where you and your friends practice your swings. After you’ve had a few drinks and got your golf swing just right, set up a formal dinner at the country club, the venue is an ideal space to have some fun while still keeping the traditional dinner. 

Game Night Wedding Rehearsal

wedding party playing jenga
Image courtesy of The New York Times.

Hold an official game night for your wedding rehearsal dinner and include all the games you loved as kids and others you have fun playing now. These games will give your friends and family the chance to mingle and hopefully not get too competitive. You can go all out and design custom trophies or medals for the winners of the game night, or you can play for the pride of being first place. Take a look at a few of these ideas for games to include.

  • Corn hole
  • Water balloon toss
  • Croquet
  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Connect Four
  • Ring toss


Whether you want to play into the formal dinner or host something more casual like a BBQ rehearsal night for your barn wedding in Maryland, there are endless possibilities for both ends of the spectrum. As long as you have fun, celebrate love, and eat great food, nothing else will matter to you or your guests. Contact us at The Smokehouse Grill to plan your casual BBQ night or even your upscale plated rehearsal dinner — we have incredible options for both.

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