Football season is upon us, and if there is one thing that everyone loves about a football game, it is the tailgate parties. Even if you never make it inside to watch the game, there is just something so great about the spirit and good fun of a tailgate. Why not use it as a unique theme for a rehearsal dinner on an autumn afternoon?
Fall is a great time. The air is crisp, the leaves are crackling, and people feel refreshed after the heat of the summer has passed. It is a perfect time to plan a wedding, and for those brides lucky enough to be wed in the autumn, it is a great idea to have a rehearsal dinner based on one of the best fall rituals – the tailgate party.
A tailgate themed rehearsal dinner would be best held outdoors, like in a backyard (having your party in a parking lot would probably be taking the theme too far!). If your dinner will need to be in the evening, it would be great to light up an outdoor space with informal lanterns in the trees. You can also line walkways with battery operated lights.
For inspiration, look to some of the great tailgate traditions in our country. One of the classics is the annual Harvard – Yale football game. This is a great starting point if you want to have a slightly more upscale tailgate rehearsal dinner. Think about thinks like plaid blankets and thermoses full of hot toddies as your inspiration. The bride should wear something fairly casual and timeless, like a tartan skirt with pearl wedding jewelry. The groom could get away with a pair of dressy cords and a cashmere sweater.
At every tailgate party, the food is key. The type of food served will depend on what tailgate customs you have chosen as your inspiration for your rehearsal dinner. For instance, in places like Kansas City or Texas, tailgate means bar-b-que, especially ribs. Serve it up with all of the trimmings, like coleslaw and biscuits. For a sticky, messy dinner like ribs, it would be a good idea to provide baskets of moist towelettes on the tables, not to mention plenty of napkins! The bride should wear something that she won’t mind getting a little sauce on, but it should still make her look pretty. A nice idea would be a simple cotton dress with sterling silver jewelry that she can wear again after the wedding.
In some parts of the country, tailgates are about things like burgers, brats, and wings. If that is your idea of the perfect tailgate, set up your reception with plenty of grills to keep the food coming. Sides like potato salad and even chips could be just right for this most casual type of party. To make your rehearsal dinner feel like a tailgate party, and not just a picnic, use football themed decorations such as flags or pennants from your favorite team. You could even install a big television to show clips from classic games (your guests would love it!).
Even if you are having a very formal wedding, you can still decide to have a fun and casual rehearsal dinner. It can be a good way for all of your guests to get to know one another in a relaxed setting. Picking a fun theme like a tailgate party for your rehearsal dinner is also a terrific way to share some of your personality with your guests.