Post # 1
I am trying to plan a pretty casual rehearsal dinner, ideally in a brewpub or tavern. Unfortunately, the minimum guest list will be 20. It could be as many as 35.
Most restaurants are trying to approach it like a wedding (meals chosen before open bar, etc.), but I’d really like to treat as much as a normal dinner reservation as possible.
What has your experience been?
Post # 3
When it comes to parties larger than 8, restaurants apply a totally different procedure to everything from seating and water-glass-refilling to ordering and tax/gratuity. I don’t think creating a prix fixe menu or getting a head count for the open bar will add to the formality at all — really, the venue itself dictates that — but it could definitely make the evening go well.
Post # 4
We wanted the same thing (a casual dinner) and called around and found a place that would take a large group (40) and not require a set menu. Are you telling them it’s a Rehearsal Dinner when you call?
Post # 5
@oracle: nope, a dinner party. also, for your group of 40, did you just sit at separate tables? It will be the first time our families meet, and I’d really like them to be able to interact. How did yours go? Did you use a private room?
I don’t mind getting a head count, and will agree to a limited menu, but I’d like my guests to be able to order that night. I’d also prefer if they could order and be served drinks at the table.
I keep running into these banquet menus that are sooo wedding food (steak or salmon?) at taverns that have more rugged fare, like ribs. It’s so odd.
Post # 6
Our wedding rehearsal is at a local pizza parlor, and is pretty informal – free private room, cash bar (open on soda, tea, etc.) and pizza, pasta, salad.
Fiance and I went to a rehearsal dinner last year, and it was in a private room, but we got to order the night of off of a limited menu – choice of 3-4 salads, and choice of 3-4 entrees. It went really smoothly and was a lot of fun. We were also able to order drinks and be served at the table.
We got to choose either lasagna, prime rib, fettucini, or bow tie pasta with chicken and garlic. It was at an italian restaurant.
Post # 7
@Linz1231: good to hear it is possible! hadn’t thought about a pizza parlor – a definite option.