Planning a rehearsal dinner should be fun and exciting. Here are some rehearsal dinner ideas that can lessen your stress and allow you to embrace and enjoy every minute of the planning process. Having just hosted our first rehearsal dinner, I can share some good advice to help put together a wonderful celebration. Before you start your plans, talk to your couple and ask what type of dinner they would like. I don’t mean just the menu, but the whole event. Some couples may want a more formal, multi-course meal with a large guest list; others may want a quiet and cozier celebration. By talking with them, you can see if what they want is what you can afford and adapt accordingly. Even though it may be your party to plan; it is, after all, their celebration. So work together with the kids and with some careful planning you can host the dinner of their dreams.
The most important advice I can extend is to find the right venue. You need a place that will work within your budget, be responsive to your needs, has good food and an attentive wait staff. So if you are considering a venue that you have never visited before.. GO there for dinner first. You don’t want to waste your time with a place that has poor service or tasteless food no matter how beautiful it may be or how many great reviews you may have read. Keep in mind that in these economic times you are in the driver’s seat, so don’t be afraid to negotiate with the venue. If they give you a per head bar package that bumps up the price, check and see if you can do just beer and wine. Some places will not offer that option unless you ask. If they are showing you a fixed menu that is not to your liking, tell them what you want. Then ask them to rework the price based on your menu choices. The flexibility they show you is all important because if the venue is not willing to work with you when they are trying to get your business, they most likely will not be so accommodating once you have made the booking.
The venue we settled on was terrific from the beginning. We gave them our budget and guest count and then they worked with us from there. Instead of having an expensive cocktail hour with stations, they suggested passed appetizers. I was a bit hesitant, but it worked out beautifully. Everyone spent the cocktail hour visiting with each other instead of checking out the food. The restaurant made sure there were plenty of h’orduerves constantly offered throughout the hour. Our kids wanted a casual affair. They did not want a huge 6 course dinner that could be competing with their reception. We did a Pizza and Pasta menu that was just wonderful. A bit out of the ordinary and nothing that was on their usual party/catering menu for rehearsal dinners, but our venue was happy to do whatever we wanted. I had made table decorations and floral centerpieces which were delivered earlier in the day. I had left specific instructions on how I wanted these arranged on the tables. No problem for our attentive contact; he followed my instructions and we were thrilled with how lovely everything looked when we arrived at the restaurant. It is the attention to detail, the level of cooperation and responsiveness that underscores a terrific venue partner for your dinner.
If you would like to learn more about how we planned our own rehearsal dinner, complete with our ideas for fun favors, unique invitations and creative table decorations,, head to Wedding Fun at www.celebrationideasonline.com . It was a memorable evening filled with fun, family and lots of love!