Rehearsal Lunch and Dinner


What used to be an opportunity for the bride and groom’s families to get to know each other and socialize in a relaxed environment before the wedding has evolved over time. The rehearsal dinner or lunch is now a full blown affair in and of itself. However, this is one event that shouldn’t add to the stress level of the bride or groom. It should be looked at as a chance for some downtime with the family in the rushed atmosphere of the wedding weekend. We’ve put together some tips for planning the perfect rehearsal lunch or dinner in Vail.
You’ll need to start planning the rehearsal lunch or dinner well in advance. Traditionally, the rehearsal event is held in the evening, on the Friday before the Saturday wedding. As venues have made more times available for weddings, rehearsal lunches have become more common; but any weekend event will be problematic to schedule if you wait too long. These are prime times for restaurants or catering companies, and will book sooner than weekday time slots. Plan several months in advance to give you time to book a venue for the rehearsal lunch or dinner.
Decide on what kind of atmosphere you want to create for the rehearsal dinner. Will it be a formal event, or one filled with a light feeling? Will there be kids present? Is alcohol being served? Does there need to be a theme? Popular themes include vintage, country, and seaside.
Decide what kind of food you’re going to serve. If you’ve planned on a theme, the food should fit. A seaside theme would pair well with a meal like La Tour’s lunch specialty, the Maine Lobster Brioche Roll with Grilled Octopus appetizers. For a country theme, focus on steaks or burgers.
Choosing who to invite can present challenges; deciding on a guest list ahead of time can help to relieve any stress and make sure that the budget can cover everyone. You should invite everyone who is in the wedding party or participating in the ceremony, and their spouse (or parents, if your flower girl and ring bearer aren’t already invited), and the close family on both sides. Close family need only include parents and siblings; cousins generally aren’t invited unless they are in the wedding party. Traditionally, it was expected that out of town guests would be invited to the rehearsal dinner, but this tradition has fallen by the wayside in the last several years.
Make sure the venue you’re looking at can handle the theme you’ve chosen, and the particular needs of your diners. Is it big enough to seat everyone? A large wedding party and/or a large family on either (or both!) sides of the aisle can mean you need a larger venue. Some venues are small and designed for a more intimate dinner. If you need a larger venue, La Tour in Vail can accommodate 115 for plated meals.
If you choose a restaurant like La Tour that serves alcohol, you’ll need to work with the staff regarding your beverage needs. If your budget isn’t set up to cover cocktails or craft beer, your invitations should make it clear that non-alcoholic drinks will be served with the meal, but that guests will need to cover the cost of alcoholic drinks. When you reserve your venue, make sure that you communicate how alcohol and meal extras not covered in your initial order should be handled.
Like any aspect of your wedding, a rehearsal lunch or dinner should be carefully planned to make sure that the guest list and menu are carefully chosen, and that everyone’s needs are accounted for. With a few hours in the beginning of the process, plus visits to a short list of venues in the Vail area, your rehearsal dinner can be a stress-free evening of celebration of the upcoming nuptials!