Top Tips for a Relaxed Rehearsal Dinner

As our family had the privilege of recently hosting our own rehearsal dinner,  I want to share some thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.  Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is held the night before the wedding and hosted by the groom’s family.  It’s the vehicle to gather the close family, attendants, officiant and bridal couple together, break bread, and fellowship together, and kick off the Big Event with food and merriment.

Take a look at these top tips for a successful, relaxed rehearsal dinner ~

1. Choose a style that is distinctly different from the wedding.

Not wanting to compete with the black tie optional wedding, we went the other way – a pizza truck!  Here we used black and white gingham tablecloths from steve mckenzie’s, pulled up a wood-fired pizza oven food truck, and served ice tea, beer and wine.  Father of the groom, Atlanta interior designer Steve McKenzie created the lush winter floral arrangements.  Festive color-coordinated napkins from Dot and Army completed the table.  More about their easy napkin rental program soon…

The wedding is the main event, so offering a different experience to the wedding party gives them a more complete weekend.


textiles, gingham, dot and army napkins, floral
Black and white gingham fabric anchors the tables in the window-filled venue. Floral by Steve McKenzie

2. Consistent Details

Any well done event, especially a wedding, follows a curated path of carefully chosen details.  From the save the date to the invitation to the floral, consistent colors, fonts and written tone set the stage for your special day.  The groom’s love of outdoors and hunting were celebrated with custom stadium cups, monogrammed napkins and photo booth props.

Custom monogram by Sequins and Lipstick
hunting, Etsy, lips
Photo props by Captivating Creations
Carter McKenzie, Jill McKenzie, The Homestead_GA
Groom + Jill aka Mom

3. Choose the Rehearsal Dinner Menu Secondly to Wedding Menu

The wedding menu plays a starring role in the event, and the budget.  Tastings are held, serving pieces are surveyed, table-cloth colors are coordinated, all these details culminating in this once in a lifetime event.  The rehearsal dinner should coordinate with this evening, not compete with it.  Southern Crust Catering food truck provided this complement to the sit-down dinner on Saturday night.

rehearsal dinner, Plaza Towers, Atlanta GA
Bride + Groom
Atlanta GA, Serenbe , green Chevy truck
Southern Crust Catering
Southern Crust Catering, rehearsal dinner
Hot pizza on a cold night!
roses, winter, floral
Floral by Steve McKenzie
A moonlit magical rehearsal dinner!
 Cheers to your next celebration!  Hopefully these tips lay the groundwork for many special evenings for you and yours. All photos by Christina Wedge Photography




Tie It with a Bow

Spring brings travel, special events and celebrations like spring break, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, and graduations to name a few. Being ever the thoughtful Southerner, you know not to show up empty-handed!

This past week at Americas Mart, Steve showed a group of dedicated retail buyers several new ways to put together “The Ultimate Hostess Gift”, including a Holiday Jingle cocktail!

Tito's, sugar
Holiday Jingle Crush Cocktail

As a bonus, our fellow Butler University classmate and Delta Gamma sorority sister, Jill Miner, joined us.  Be sure to check out her award-winning bookstore in picturesque Gaylord, Michigan, Saturn Booksellers.

Back to the hostess gift!  Let’s deconstruct it and learn some tips.

pizza, salad, bowl, blue, towel, salt, cellar
Ingredients for a food lovers gift

Steve says to think about your host.  Do they have any hobbies?  This gracious host has discovered cooking and frequently entertains friends and family.

Next, let’s find an unusual container instead of the standard gift bag.  We love this vivid blue melamine (unbreakable!) salad bowl.  Then we filled it with delicious pesto, gourmet salt and a pizza kit from Atlanta-based Bella Cucina.  Tuck in a matching blue tea towel for some extra love.  Now, let’s look at it all put together.

pizza, food, salt, blue, salad, bowl
Food Lovers Basket

Twirl some cellophane around it and tie it with a bow.  Now you’re ready to say Thank You and enjoy your time together.  Shop the look here.

blue, pizza, salad, salt, gift, basket, kitchen, food
Tie it with a bow!

We’re going to share these ideas throughout the spring, so stay tuned for more wonderful ideas to wow your host.  Of course, if you’re pressed for time, our team at steve mckenzie’s is ready to prepare your hostess gifts for you.

Missed this seminar?  Keep track of our whereabouts, classes and events by following our  Facebook page and Instagram.