So, as some of you may know, I’m getting mawwwwwiiieeeeeedd.
We’re trying to find a place for a rehearsal dinner that’s relatively low-key (because we’re spending enough money for the wedding food!), amenable to a wide variety of people (southern farmers meet dutch visitors), and less than $50 per head for food+booze.
Any suggestions on where to look? Food choices? Anything that worked really well for you guys/gals?
My suggestion is to NOT figure this shit out yourself. Organizing a wedding is insane enough. Delegate to family. It’s the only way.
Call up the bride’s parents or your parents and open a conversation with “Let me know where you’ll be hosting the rehearsal dinner.” Then call the other set of parents and open the conversation with “Did you want to buy kegs for the reception or should I have them just bill you for a full open bar?” My wedding was the only time in my life I’ve asked relatives for any financial support since I got out of school so I didn’t feel too bad about it.
If you have people coming in for the wedding, it’s thoughtful to make sure that the rehearsal diner isn’t too far away from the local hotel accommodations. You don’t want anyone getting nailed for DWI the night before.
Make sure you invite extrabags, because rehersal dinners and weddings are great places to meet single women who suddenly have an overwhelming desire to prove to themselves that they’re still attractive to men.
Don’t invite ElGuapo though, or all the bridesmaids will just end up in the hotel hot tub with him and be really hung over the day of the wedding.
Real advice: Find a non-caterer to cater. For instance, here in Louisville there’s a local butcher store, Kingsley’s Meats, that also does catering. They laid out a great spread for a small amount of money. Anyone who does anything for a living, solely, will be charging a premium for their service.
Second, try to consolidate. If you shop around, you’ll likely find someone willing to do the catering, booze, and cake as a package, and pay much less for all three.
Check out some of the same places that do wedding receptions. Often they will have much smaller rooms that can be used for rehersal dinners and have a partnership with a caterer (or on-site catering) so they can offer a full package deal. We did this, and it was very reasonable.
Depending on the size of the wedding party, and alternative is simply to see if any local restaraunts have a party room. I’ve been to lots of rehersal dinners that were in a private room at a local “mom & pop” restaraunt. I’m not talking pizza/burger joint, but a decent sit down place that offers real dinner entres. The upside of this is that it can often be cheaper than a banquet room and caterer combined, plus everyone gets to order something they like, and the drink selection is expanded. Some places do this often enough that they will have a special food and drink menu specifically for such parties.
“epending on the size of the wedding party, and alternative is simply to see if any local restaraunts have a party room. I’ve been to lots of rehersal dinners that were in a private room at a local “mom & pop” restaraunt”
winner. I had a big rehearsal dinner at the upstairs part of a italian restaurant. It was buffet and was pretty successful.
The most important thing is to get space for the toasts and socializing. Space trumps food. not many people care about rehearsal dinner food but folks want to hear toasts and see long-lost cousins and friends etc.
Oh, and the big thing that nobody tells you: Have your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday, and haggle like hell. Everyone who wants a piece of the pie will cut deals to have business on those days. Shoot for 20% below their normal rates, on everything.