For the past two years, I have worked with Side Porch Catering, and after many consultations with new brides and mothers, I always hear the same refrain, “I want my wedding to be different.”
One part of the wedding experience that often gets overlooked, but in many cases is great place to be creative is their rehearsal dinner. This year, as budgets got tighter and brides got wrapped up the reception of their dreams, the rehearsal dinner seemed to fall to the back burner. But as caterers, we want to make sure that these important events stay fun and true to the bride and groom.
The rehearsal dinner is the calm before the storm. As a newlywed myself, I can remember it being a great way to kick off the wedding weekend, relax before 150 out-of-town guests arrive and reflect on the fact that you are about to say “I do.” In the spirit of trying to stand out while saving money, here are some ideas from our kitchen to yours.
Family-Style Dinner One fall bride this year is taking advantage of the great Carolina weather and her family’s beautiful back yard, and hosting an intimate family-style rehearsal dinner. Rather than a standard plated meal where all guests are served one entrée, the bride chose a few entrées with seasonal sides and autumn-inspired salads to be served on platters, allowing her guests to take as little or as much as they want and pass it on.
Family-style dinners create a casual and inviting atmosphere. Some menu suggestions include roasted pork, whipped sweet potatoes and baby field greens with goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and a pomegranate vinaigrette. And don’t forget dessert!
Rehearsal Happy Hour Dilemma: Your church or reception hall will only allow your rehearsal to take place between 2 and 3 p.m. What about dinner? Try hosting a cocktail hour at a friend’s place or your local watering hole. Snack on mini cheeseburger sliders, dips and veggies, your soon-to-be husband’s favorite nachos and pick a signature drink that is special to you.
Attendants and family will appreciate the munchies after the odd-hour rehearsal and can get back to the hotel early to get a good night’s rest before your big day.
Dessert-only Rehearsal Party Before the rehearsal, you have paid all your vendors, signed the dotted lines and dealt with the last-minute RSVPs that can now miraculously make it to your wedding. Rather than go into debt to put a meal on the table for your wedding party, have a dessert-only party.
Ask your family and those invited who will not be wearing a tux or bridesmaid dress to whip up a favorite dessert. Try homemade ice cream sandwiches, seasonal fruit tartlets or s’mores cupcakes. Celebrate with champagne or a warm cider, enjoy some sweets and listen to the toasts from your closest friends and family.
Kate Mullin is the sales and marketing manager for Side Porch Catering. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.