Post # 1
Small town Iowa charm…
There were a few things I did not consider when I fell in love with my reception venue in the quaint Amana Colonies, IA. Only one Catholic Church in the entire area? Okay, we will suck up to the priest and make sure he wants to marry us. Check — that one we could handle. NO BARS OR RESTAURANTS OPEN PAST 8PM?! Wtf. Unacceptable.
So, how far is too far to make your guests drive for a rehearsal dinner? Granted, most rehearsal dinners may be over by 8pm but there are a few things that make us “special”:
#1: We poor. $10/person? HA! How about a large pizza that will feed three for $10? Now you are talking!
#2: All out of town guests means I want more time for us all to be together! But, we cannot afford to host all for another meal (see #1) so after the rehearsal dinner I would like to have a no-host welcome party just for everyone to spend time together. Our friends and families coming from all over the country will definiltey appreciate this.
I’ve got my eye on a small pizza place that is about a 20 minute drive from the church, about a 30 minute drive from the reception and one of the hotels and a 10 minute drive from one of the other hotels. Is that okay? We will have a shuttle the night of the wedding, but not the night of the rehearsal.
Post # 3
As much as there are challenges to being in your area, I have to tell you about this wedding that my Fiance was best man in last year. We had to drive an hour one night for the rehearsal dinner to town A. The next morning we had to wake up early to drive to town B, 45 minutes away from our home and about 30 from where the rehearsal dinner was. After everyone got ready, we had to drive to this obscure little spot in town C that took another 30-45 minutes. By the end of the wedding weekend, we had covered a good part of the state just driving around. From that point of view, I wouldn’t make your guests drive around too much. A year later I still kind of resent it as the wedding took place in our days off between Christmas and New Year’s. I’d try to keep your Rehearsal Dinner within 20 minutes of the venue and hotel.
Post # 4
@JJBelle: One’s perception and opinion will depend on where they live and what travel and/or commuting is normal for them.
When we lived in the middle of nowhere, I thought 20 minutes to the next town was long drive. Now I live in a city, and it takes 30 minutes to get even half way across town.
Post # 5
@DuckEBee: That’s really helpful! I don’t want my guests to ever question where our priorities are — which is with them having a great time. With so much of our family coming together — a unique thing for how spread out we are– I want to give them the gift of time together more than anything. We just can’t afford to feed and (de)hydrate them during all this extra time together! Is doing a hosted cocktail hour for a Rehearsal Dinner and then cash bar for the rest of the evening acceptable? We do have a hosted bar (beer and wine) for the whole wedding of course.
Post # 6
@JJBelle: If it were me, I’d rather pass some hors d’oeuvre’s around and only serve non-alcoholic beverages for the rehearsal dinner. Cash bars can really rub people the wrong way, especially those who have already put so much money into travel. It’s probably also cheaper to just pass the hors d’oeuvres anyway.