Dave and I went to a birthday party last night with a really fun theme: Wine and Candy Pairings.
The host selected City Winery, a new wine bar in Manhattan, and worked with the guests to choose some favorite candies of the birthday girl (or the guest) and had the restaurant pair the candy with a wine. We also enjoyed several appetizers/entrees with each pairing.
Our group was on the small size - 16 people - but I thought it would be fun for a rehearsal dinner. I think it would encourage interaction between the families, especially if you ask guests to get involved with the pairings and create a menu where people can see who picked what and why.
Your rehearsal dinner can be as creative as you want it to be. It doesn't have to be a sit-down meal only. You can have it at any location, serve any type of food and ask your guests to be part of the event. I've been to rehearsal dinners where the bride's brothers created a video montage of the bride through the years. I've seen dad's sing a song they wrote for their daughter or brother's/friends of the groom read a funny speech about the groom that you probably would not want read at your wedding reception.
So think outside the box when it comes to your rehearsal dinner and have a great time at it!
PS - Since we had a kosher wedding we couldn't serve pigs-in-a-blanket and since we couldn't have the wedding at my grandmother's house, which is where I really wanted it to be, we had a BBQ at Grandma's for our rehearsal dinner. We had burgers, dogs, fried chicken and my favorite sides. For dessert we served small servings of ice cream - the kind in the little cups with the wooden spoons. And my brother-in-law read a speech that I would have died if he read at the wedding. His best man's toast was great and afterwards he told me that he wrote the other one to freak me out. It worked.