Casually Elegant Rehearsal Dinners at the Beach

One of the best places you can choose to have your rehearsal dinner is a beach. You and your guests will enjoy the relaxed environment as you have your final pre-wedding party. A party at the beach can be quite informal, but for something as special as your rehearsal dinner, aim for a casual elegance.

Having a casually elegant rehearsal dinner at the beach means that you keep things low key, and yet stylish. You can select food and décor that suit the oceanside location, which will add to the ambiance of your party. Starting with the food, any time that you are by the water, seafood is a good choice. Clam bakes are popular in certain parts of the country, as are crab feasts, and lobster or shrimp boils. Forgo the hotdog on a paper plate type of cuisine in favor of something a bit more refined, both in terms of the food and the presentation.

When you are having your rehearsal dinner at the beach, Mother Nature will provide almost all the decorations that you will need. You can add to the natural splendor by choosing decorations that fit the location. Seashells are a terrific element for your décor. One really fabulous idea is to create paths of mixed shells lining a walkway. Intersperse pillar candles in hurricane lanterns amongst the shells to add some atmosphere (and to light the path once night falls).

The table decorations for a rehearsal dinner can be kept fairly easy – there is no need for anything as elaborate or expensive as you would choose for the wedding itself. Again, seashells and candles are ideal. Nestle a few chunky pillar candles or one hurricane lantern into the center of a pile of shells on each table for a simple but elegant centerpiece. Faux coral is another nice decorative element to include, and it is fairly easy to make it yourself if you are a crafter.

The bride-to-be and her groom will want to wear outfits for the rehearsal dinner that fit in with the casually elegant flavor of the party. For the bride, this can mean a pretty strapless dress in a summery color with a flower in her hair. A piece of informal wedding jewelry, such as a monogrammed shell pendant is a great finishing touch. (This is also a great idea for a bridesmaid jewelry gift to give your attendants before the wedding.)

The groom should select an outfit that, above all, complements what the bride will be wearing. He should look pulled together, yet comfortable on a beach. Try a nice button down shirt with a great patterned tie, such as those made by Vineyard Vines or Lilly Pulitzer. Khaki trousers or possibly a very crisp pair of khaki shorts will look good as part of the groom's outfit. Really, the only shoe to wear is a pair of Topsiders. No sandals on the groom, please (men's feet – ugh!), But a dressy pair of sandals is perfect for the bride.

Most rehearsal dinners do not have dancing, but feel free to bring along some great background music with a beachy vibe. Choose something more upscale than the Beach Boys or reggae, like a really great Calypso. Finish your casually elegant rehearsal dinner with a tasty dessert like individual key lime tartlets, and then it is off to bed in anticipation of the big day!