The rehearsal dinner is a gathering of close family, friends and the wedding party that usually takes place the evening prior to the wedding day. This is a special event hosted by the parents of the groom to rehearse for the ceremony and celebrate the joining of the families with food. Since this special event is centered around a dinner, catering is in order. Let’s talk about catering the rehearsal dinner.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The wedding is seen as a day for the bride; therefore, most planning decisions are made by the bride. The rehearsal dinner is a wedding event that gives the parents of the groom space to be creative and the power to plan. The rehearsal dinner can range on the spectrum between elaborate to simple. This event is the last opportunity to bring everyone together to get on the same page about all of the wedding ceremony logistics. It is also a day to celebrate the joining of the families. This makes this event more important than just gathering at a table for a meal.
Choosing a Venue
The venue for the rehearsal dinner can be anywhere on the spectrum from backyard to formal ballroom. Choosing to host your rehearsal dinner at the venue can create a more elaborate event with more savings, especially if you are bundling with a catering package. Venues with in-house catering or preferred caters can deliver the fine dining experience at a greater value.
The Catering Headcount
As with all catered events, the headcount is important for planning. You will need to know how many guests will be in attendance to order the appropriate amount of food. You will probably invite the wedding party, close family, those with a special role in the ceremony for readings, the officiant and their partner, and the wedding coordinator. Less guests means less cost, but this event does not need to create sacrifice or break the bank. The rehearsal dinner and venue packages can be customized to fit your budget and create the experience you envision with all those that matter.
The Menu and the Timeline
The rehearsal dinner involves food on a timeline with other important events. You might organize a slideshow, distribute gifts to the parents and wedding party, deliver a few special speeches and make important announcements about the wedding day. There will be a time to mingle with appetizers and time to gather at the dinner table to enjoy fine dining together. The dining experience does not need to be as elaborate as the reception dinner, but it can be as creative and elegant as you imagine. You might consider appetizers and interactive food stations, such as a ceviche bar, pasta bar or a short rib station, followed by full-service catering for the main event. If you do not envision plated meals and full-service, you can opt to have a buffet-styled rehearsal dinner. This will allow you to have an array of food options and a spread that will provide more choices for your guests. If you choose a buffet-styled event, make sure you have a food manager to supervise service and provide portion control.
Planning the Theme for the Rehearsal Dinner
Just like a wedding or any other event, the rehearsal dinner can follow a theme. The theme chosen for this event is usually related to a hobby or interest of the groom. You might have a fishing theme or hunting theme, if he is the outdoorsy type. If so, you could serve seafood dishes or get creative with a carving station. If the groom is interested in travel and has a favorite destination, you might choose a global cuisine to match his favorite places. Themes are fun to create, and food is a powerful way to experience them. Work with a caterer with a global menu that is customizable.
Consultation and Tasting
Tastings are always the best part of planning. This is an opportunity to meet the culinary team, taste samples and make the final decisions about your catering options. You will be able to explore your appetizers, entrees and sides. It is a good time to discuss your vision for your event and whether you require full-service or drop-off catering. At this point in time, you might not have an exact number of guests in attendance. However, since you are inviting people that are essential to the wedding day, expect your entire guest list to show. A week before the rehearsal dinner, you should confirm the headcount with your caterer.
5 Senses Restaurant & Catering
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