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How to Plan a Western Themed Rehearsal Dinner with a Retro Style

Cowboy hats with red bandanas

Picture this: a Western-style rehearsal dinner but with a fun retro spin! And by retro we mean inspired by a movie classic like “River of No Return” starring Marilyn Monroe. You can see where we’re going with this one, can’t you? Get ready to pull on those boots and don those cowboy hats as we take an inspiration tour of the Old West, 1950s style. Then, you can recreate this for your guests come party time!

Inspirational and Fun Ideas You Can Use

Western rehearsal dinner inspiration board from the bbq favors to centerpieces to cake pops

1 – The inspiration for this fun bash? Blond bombshell Marilyn Monroe in Hollywood’s version of cowgirl fashion! The 1950s are quite the rage these days for wedding themes. So why not for a rehearsal dinner as well?

2 – Invites for the occasion can be attractive yet very affordable, like this great find at the etsy shop Allison Kizer Designs. Not only does it feature that iconic red Western bandana print, but best of all it’s customizable (by Allison) then printable (by you)!

3 – Since this is a retro theme, how about putting on a milkshake bar for your guests! Decorate the scene with vintage touches such as these lovely Coke bottles with pretty straws. See more of the details at The Sweetest Occasion.

4 – For the ladies at your party, get them all geared up in playful props like these cowboy hats and bandanas! Present them in a fun display, as Craftiness is Not Optional did here. Your trusty home clothesline and wooden clothes pins will do just fine! Oh, and a witty sign saying “Howdy” would be great, too.

5 – Cheerful, no-fuss centerpieces are in order, too. How doable is this idea we found on All You.com (in fact their post includes a super-easy tutorial)! Bunches of white and yellow daisies bring a sunny vibe to the table, simply arranged in recycled bottles lined with lemon slices. Love this! Note the red bandana again, this time as a table runner.

6 – Search online for retro movie posters like this one of “River of No Return” featuring Marilyn teamed up with Robert Mitchum. Print them out full size to display at your party entrance or as a backdrop for your dinner buffet or dessert table. Mini printouts could also serve as menu cards or as props for a fun movie trivia game!

7 – Even cake pops can go Western! Take your cue from these cute creations by Sweet Lauren Cakes, all decked out in playful bandana prints and cowhide patterns. You could dress up your own pops in tiny cowboy hats or top them with sheriff’s star badges. Surely a whimsical addition to your dessert display!

8 – Come time to bid your guests goodbye, Western-inspired take home treats are a must! Something both the cowboys and cowgirls would surely appreciate, like this great “Lucky BBQ Rub” offered on etsy by Kerri Gilpin. Love the kraft-paper packaging with a horseshoe logo. You could do the same and personalize it with your names or a fun reference that guests will know is you!

Decor Elements With That Old West Flair

This theme gives you the perfect excuse to scour the flea markets, thrift shops and yard sales in your area! Then, keep your eyes peeled (that is a cowboy expression, isn’t it?) for vintage items like wooden crates, old dart boards, “Wanted” posters, loose horse shoes, even cowboy boots, hats and saddles. For lighting accents, look out for hurricane lanterns, antique desk lamps, and even old bottles, mason jars and glass cylinders that can be turned into burlap luminaries.

Entertainment Ideas, Cowboy Style!

Your rehearsal dinner may be the first time that some members of your two families and your wedding party get to meet! So to help break the ice and get everyone relaxed for the Big Day, plan some quaint yet fun activities. In keeping with the theme, think line dancing, horse shoe tossing, a campfire with a s’mores bar alongside, a Western sing-along complete with a karaoke machine, or a trivia game on classic cowboy movies!

More Western rehearsal dinner inspiration

  1. Western Theme Rehearsal Dinner Party
  2. Country Themed Rehearsal Dinner from BHG.com
  3. Rehearsal Dinner Ideas for a Western Theme

If you love this theme, check out barnyard wedding inspiration board!


  1. So glad you enjoyed this, Dahlia! Nice of you to stop by. 🙂

  2. Do you know where I can get custom printed western “bandanas” for my son’s wedding as take home souvenirs?

  3. Yes! Zazzle has them. You can find custom bandanas: here (*affiliate link).

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