Tips for Planning a Successful Rehearsal Dinner
It’s OK; it really is all about You!
The best place to start is with what you want. Of course, we cover all the basics but customization is king at McCormick and Schmick’s when it comes to YOUR rehearsal dinner. We’ve seen wedding parties have a blast with something as simple yet as personalized as a Bride and Groom’s featured cocktails that celebrate their distinct personalities. And we are just as creative on more complex requests that may include special dishes, staff uniforms, and in-house décor that align with a desired dinner theme. Sure we can bring an East Coast Fish Fry to life in Kansas City and if you really want a Great Gatsby type evening with a Bonnie & Clyde feel, we will do it – we’ve done it before.
Complement but don’t overshadow the Big Day
We love working with mothers-in-law, we really do. In fact, some of the most memorable dinners we’ve planned have been with mothers of the grooms. That said, a bride that’s not on the front lines of rehearsal dinner planning should never be totally out of the loop. A rehearsal dinner should be different from the formal wedding day reception. If a seated dinner with steak on the menu and an open bar is planned for the wedding reception than an informal seafood buffet with wine, beer and soft drinks and an emphasis on moving and mingling about in our private dining room may be the perfect complement. The reception dinner can range from casual to elegant and should always be fun but we recommend saving the “wow” for the following day.
Don’t go overboard with the guest list
It will be great to see your second cousin and the neighbors from three moves ago at the wedding but we recommend limiting the rehearsal dinner to the wedding party and immediate and out of town family. This is a night for the two families to connect and for you to focus on those closest to you and the memories you’ve celebrated over the years. We work with you to create a warm and inviting ambiance that provides a stress-free atmosphere and encourages social interaction. And don’t forget to leave plenty of time for all the toasts.
We can keep a secret and the peace
So your family’s not perfect – welcome to the club. Tell us your concerns up front and we can help you address. Perhaps a designated seating chart is in order for your dinner to keep bickering relatives at a safe distance or perhaps we add a do-it-yourself desert bar to the room that encourages a group of folks meeting for the first time to get up and interact with one another. Every group comes with a unique set of circumstances but our goal is always to create a stress-free, fun and memorable evening. And we can keep a secret, just ask the couple who said don’t tell our parents we’re already married.
The early bird gets the best rehearsal dinner
Ideally, you can get a good jump start on planning. We recommend you start scouting and eventually securing a venue several months in advance especially during the busiest wedding seasons. At McCormick & Schmick’s, we’ll be flattered if you check us out and it’s important to know that each of our locations has a distinct style representative of the specific city. Many guests say they chose us for their rehearsal dinner because our space helps show off the host city to out of town guests. And when it comes to planning, please don’t be shy about sharing your budget parameters because we can accommodate a wide range with customizable options that can be as affordable or as lavish as you choose.