Post # 16
People waited HOURS to get their food at RDs you’ve been to?? Wow. That’s awful. All I can say is, these must have beem exceptionally bad restaurants. I’ve been to many events at restaurants and I’ve never had the experiences you’re describing (I have had bad service certainly, but nohting close to waiting hours or feeling glued to my seat). It’s a dinner. A restaurant seems a very fitting place to have it. I’m not sure why anyone would be miserable with this, provided the restaurant was half-way decent. I would talk to the owners and make sure they can accommodate your group without long waits and see if you can get a private room or a sectioned off area. I’ve always felt free to move around at restaurant events and was never stuck in my seat.
Post # 17
My rehearsal dinner was at a restaurant. It went great! Everyone loved it and commented on how great the food is. You just need to choose a restaurant you’ve eaten at before, that is known for good food and service.
Post # 18
I would say – if your Future Mother-In-Law is hosting, she makes the call and do not create a fight. In the US, I’ve been to 10+ rehearsal dinners, all at restaurants in private rooms. Typically nothing elaborate just drinks, apps & dinner. Maybe a slideshow of the couple from early years to current day. The wedding is your “must be perfect” night – not a rehearsal dinner. It’s functional & necessary but no one is expecting the best night of their life.
We arranged ours b/c DH’s parents are divorced so we didn’t really want them to collaborate on it. Lol. It was in a private room at at Barbeque restaurant since we live in NC which is known for pork bbc and carolina bbq sauce. We had about 30 people (immediate family & wedding party), we did wine & beer only, with wings as apps and then a largeee buffet (normally not a fan but this was amazing) and it was wonderful – people raved and actually took leftovers back to the hotel – haha and we closed the place down! The service was awesome, super sweet & over the top helpful.
At the end of the day, the rehearsal dinner was the least of my concerns. I bought some random cheap decor cream paper bag lanterns for tables that said “Love” with LED tea lights inside and then a burlap “LOVE” banner, that’s it. Our invites from etsy were very rustic looking too, going w the whole BBQ and southern theme. That’s it. I was so busy all day that I didn’t even get a chance to get ready for rehearsal! Didn’t curl my hair, was cutting tag off dress while walking out of hotel, putting on makeup while everyone was in my hotel room…. Darling Husband was impatient as fk bc we were running late, my feet hurt like a SOB so I just took them off half way thru, but yet it was still awesome 🙂
Post # 19
My rehearsal dinner was in a private space at a nice restaurant and went really well. My MIL worked through the group sales person and on the night of we had multiple servers assigned to us. I think we had about 30 people. Our restaurant was used to hosting those kinds of events and it ran very smoothly.
You said that your Mother-In-Law just wants to make a make a regular eservation at a restaurant, but (at least around here) restaurants tend to cut off regular reservations at a certain number before you’re forced to work with an event manager / make it a private event.
Post # 20
- Wedding: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception/The Gallery
We had ours at a famous steakhouse downtown and it was great! We reserved a space, discussed the menu and drink options ahead of time and everything went off without a hitch. We had pen bar during cocktail hour with appetizers then price fixe menu (3 entrees / 2 dessert choices. We did quick toasts and everyone just ate, drank, and mingled.
I wouldn’t just make a reservation for X amount of people. Plan it like an event.
Post # 21
mimivac : The thing was, one of the restaurants I’d been to the couple who planned it was in the restaurant business, usually the place was wonderful. The the day came and they couldn’t handle a 30 person party. They made the reservation in advance, but someone screwed up on staffing or too many people called in sick. Total mess. My Fiance ended up sharing my dinner with me because his took so long. When his came out it was cold, but we ate it anyway because the plates where so small.
The other time was at a BBQ place that was known for handling large groups well. There where about 25 people. The room wasn’t set up when we got there, and again they didn’t have enough staff. It was a total nightmare! I was really glad to have peanuts in my purse because my food didn’t arrive until 9:30. I had rushed to the rehearsal right after a terrible day at work and hadn’t eaten since noon. I tried to be polite and act like it didn’t bother me, but I was so miserable.
One time there was a “private room”. Well there was only a private room for the buffet, and some kids from another table kept on coming in to eat the food. There was also a miscommunication about drinks. Apparently everyone got 1 drink with their meal, but had to pay for the rest. Well, the restaurant charged everyone for their one drink anyway. Getting that sorted out was so messy. I remembered my cousin (the bride) stressing for the same reason I was, which is why they compromised with a private room and a buffet in the first place.
The last one I did manage to get my food on time, but a lot of other people didn’t and it took forever again. Wasn’t able to order more than one drink, blah blah blah. I don’t know the background of it though, because I wasn’t involved in the planning at all.
Post # 22
You’ve been unlucky. Almost every rehearsal dinner I’ve been attended (and there have been many) was at a restaurant and they were all great! It sounds as if the people planning the dinners you attended didn’t plan or choose their restaurants well?
If Future Mother-In-Law is hosting it’s her decision. A successful event does typically involve more than just making a reservation, she should plan the event with the restaurant to set a menu that can be served within a reasonable time, make certain there are adequate servers, etc.
Post # 23
We did a cocktail party rehearsal dinner at a restaurant. We did filling apps that were passed, as well as a table with flatbread pizzas, cheese and crackers, and veggies. It was great! We had a private space and it wasn’t too lengthy.
Does the Italian restaurant have a private or semi private space? Could it maybe be buffet style to speed things up a bit?
Post # 24
OP, I think you’ve had pretty bad luck with restaurant RD’s. Still, with all the positive experiences people are posting, I wouldn’t let that deter you. Just really, really emphasize to the restaurant that having adequate staff is really important to you and that you’ve had some really awful experiences. Let them reassure you and then take measures to make sure your needs are met. The day of the event, call and make sure set-up is happening on time and that everything is in order. Good luck.
Post # 25
rao4400 : It’s really bizarre that of all the restaurant rehearsals you’ve been to, they all sucked. All of the rehearsal dinners I’ve been to have been at restaurants and they were great. Much more pleasant to me than a BBQ. Does a restaurant dinner not go with the vibe you’re trying to establish for your wedding so maybe that’s coloring your memories? Regardless, if your in-laws are hosting, you need to drop it and let them host. As long as they’re not trying to do something really inconvenient or somehow offensive, it’s poor form for you to try to micromanage it.
Post # 26
Maybe restaurants in your area are not used to handling large private parties, if rehearsal dinners at restaurants are not the norm in Canada. Mine was at a restaurant and it was fine, everyone ordered what they wanted off the menu and we paid the bill at the end. You could suggest to your Future Mother-In-Law that she choose a restaurant where other people have had a rehearsal dinner before to try and avoid issues.
Post # 27
msgreeneyes : There is a patio, but if the weather is bad there isn’t another space. If he weather is bad for the BBQ we can have it at my parents church. We already have it reserved as our rain day plan (crazy cheap because my family has been members since I was little). Super easy, it’s set up to be quick to set up and tear down, and we could hire servers. There is a family friend who works weddings and could organize really good staff for a reasonable price if she didn’t want to rely on the ladies of the church to do it. Though my mom does monthly men’s breakfasts there so they are happy to do it for us, and I’ve seen the space become beautiful for the events they throw.
There is a buffet, at the restaurant, but it’s limited. Soups, salads, breadsticks. It comes with some of the meals, so we’d be sharing it with the entire restaurant. I’m not sure if they can do a buffet set up for a private dinner but probably.
Did I also mention that my Future Mother-In-Law is really terrible at planning things? Every time she’s planned anythign with us it’s been so disorganized. Not a huge deal normally, but with a rehearsal dinner when I’m already worried about my anxiety levels…
It’s so hard for me to not be controlling with this -_-*
Post # 28
Jewelieee : Only one of those rehearsal dinners was in Canada. 1 was in Rochester NY (where I am having my wedding), 1 in San Francisco CA, 1 in Pittsburgh PA, 1 St Catherines Canada.
2 of the BBQ’s where in the US, 2 in Canada.
Post # 29
Sounds like people just picked crappy restaurants? My rehearsal dinner was at a restaurant and it was really nice, and much more intimate. We were able to talk to each other and just relax. My rehearsal was served family style with apps, wine, and then main courses all in large dishes to share around the table. I’ve been to larger rehearsal dinners at restaurants (particularly a really fun BBQ one), and it was buffet style and everything went smoothly. It’s generally much cheaper to host at a restaurant where you don’t have to rent tables, tablewear, etc. and a lot easier on the host while getting high quality food. I agree with others, let the host do the hosting.
Post # 30
mimivac : It is really reassuring. I’ve been so conflicted about it, and I know it’s been poor form. 2 of my bridesmaids asked me specifically not to have one at a restaurant right after hers (I was in their weddings while engaged).
I also know I have control issues with planning though. All these positive experiences are making me feel better though. I always thought doing a Rehearsal Dinner at a restaurant was an absurd American thing that was a total waste of money. and all my wedding experiences reinforced that. But my family is also known for being great planners, so I think it was more an experience of poorly planned vs well planned RDs.
But… my Future Mother-In-Law is kinda known for being bad at planning… So maybe jsut prepare for the worst and hope for the best?