A Rehearsal Dinner inspired by the Harry Potter Yule Ball

In the 2005 “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” film from the very successful Harry Potter movie series based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling there was a Yule Ball as part of the Triwizard Tournament, in the magical world of Harry Potter it takes place on Christmas night.  In this post I will offer ideas and suggestions inspired by the Yule Ball which could perhaps be used for a rehearsal dinner on the evening before a wedding or even perhaps a unique theme for a winter wedding.

The Yule Ball is part of the Triwizard Tournament competition held between the three largest wizarding schools – the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Durmstang Institute and the Beauxbatons Academy.  In the “Goblet of Fire” movie, the Ball is held in the Great Hall at Hogwarts which has been transformed into a magical winter scene.  The brown stone walls of the Hall take on a silver tone, icicles seem to have formed falling from high above and at one end of the Hall are several snow covered evergreen trees.  Around the room the tables are covered with silver tablecloths and ice sculptures with a distinct Russian style are placed in the center.

The Yule Ball which takes place in the Great Hall at Hogwarts
photo from pottermore.com

Ideas and Suggestions for a Yule Ball inspired Rehearsal Dinner

Taking inspiration from the Harry Potter movie Yule Ball I will offer some ideas and suggestions for decorating a venue for a wedding rehearsal dinner.  A wedding rehearsal dinner usually takes place on the evening before the actual wedding and in general the guest list includes the bridal party and a small group of the relatives of the bride and groom.  The rehearsal dinner should be an opportunity for the guests to relax and mingle before the wedding.

Since the guest list is usually fewer than 50 people the venue chosen could be in a restaurant near the wedding ceremony location, which would make it convenient for those attending the rehearsal.  Maybe the event could be held in a small ballroom located in the hotel where most of the guests are staying or held at the home of the groom’s parent who would customarily be hosting the event.  Since the rehearsal dinner is a more informal event than the wedding it is a reasonable idea is to keep the cost within a smaller budget but still create a special occasion for the invited guests.

The Harry Potter Yule Ball inspired rehearsal dinner would be the perfect theme for a wedding taking place during the winter months.  The thought is NOT to create an exact duplicate but to find inspiration from the Yule Ball and to take design elements to decorate the space in an elegant winter themed style.

So, here are some ideas and suggestions for decorating and transforming any type of venue into a magical event.

A good place to start the design of a Yule Ball inspired rehearsal dinner is with the table linens.  In referencing the photos from the Harry Potter Yule Ball post the table linens used appear to be made in a grey shiny material.  Shown below are two examples of material choices for the tablecloths.  One is a silver sequin tablecloth and the other material selection is a grey velvet tablecloth, both choices are rich in texture and would add a luxurious style to the table setting.

The next elements to add to the table setting would be the china plates, silver utensils and crystal stemware items. Shown below are two examples for place settings that could be used for the tables, one features a grey stain napkin and the other uses a white napkin and a silver plate charger used underneath the china plates.

The centerpieces used in the movie scene show large “ice sculptures” that definitely have a Russian look very similar to the architecture of Saint Basil’s Cathedral located near the Kremlin in Moscow.  The “ice sculptures” look like they were created from large blocks of ice but in reality the Harry Potter set designers created them from clear resin and then special lighting was used to give them an icy blue appearance.

Real ice sculptures would be the obvious choice but they can be quite expensive.  If the dinner will be a buffet service instead of a sit down “plated” dinner perhaps one or two ice sculptures could be used on the buffet table and shown below are a couple of examples.

Instead of ice sculptures here are some less expensive and much more particular options to use on the dining tables.  One example is a crystal tree centerpiece and the other is a manzanitia tree draped with hanging crystals, either choice would add an elegant winter style.


Another element to add to the dining tables would be some candlelight, this would add a soft glow to the table setting and also a romantic touch to the rehearsal dinner.  Shown below are mercury glass candle holders for tea lights and several of these scattered around the base of the centerpieces would be perfect to use to complete the table setting!

Next, I would suggest adding several white evergreen trees to the room decorations.  The frosty trees selected should come in a variety of heights to create interest and would need no further decorations then white lights, the addition of ornament would make it to Christmasy!.  I would suggest perhaps a display of at least three trees arranged at one end of the room, white satin or velvet material can be used to cover the tree stands and would also further the illusion of snow.

Once again, using the movie for inspiration, I will suggest several different options based on the unique pastel colored drinks which were served in the movie’s ball.  One option is to arranged drinks on a multi-tiered ice sculpture to display on the buffet table, as shown in the photo below.  For the event blue champagne (yes, there are several brands available which could be purchased from a local grocery or liquor store) could be served.  Another choice would to serve unique pastel colored cocktail especially made for the event (you can get very creative with this idea and even give the cocktail a clever names!)

The final two ideas for a Harry Potter Yule Ball inspired rehearsal dinner involve desserts.  The first dessert is directly linked to the Harry Potter book series and in fact it is a cake shaped like a Harry Potter book with a Quidditch Golden Snitch and an Ollivanders magical wand placed on top.   The second dessert is an intricately designed white Dragon Cake that would add the perfect Harry Potter final element to complete a Harry Potter Yule Ball inspired rehearsal dinner.