Photos: NK Swingle
Rehearsal dinners usually occur after the ceremony rehearsal the day before the wedding. Those invited include your attendants plus their significant others, immediate families and grandparents of both sides, and if there are children involved in the ceremony, the children plus their parents. Some couples also include extended families.
Restaurants – Restaurants are a natural choice for rehearsal dinners. The Washington DC area has so many great restaurants Depending on the size of your group, most restaurants can accommodate a private party of some sort, either in a completely separate space or semi-private space.
- OpenTable.com has a new feature listing Private Dining options of their member restaurants.
- In the back of each Zagat Guide is the Special Features section which includes a section for restaurants with Private Rooms
- Subscribe to our blog as we explore the restaurant options in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Special Events Venues – any venue you might have considered for your wedding reception is a possible option as well.
Many couples today choose to host a Welcome Party in order to spend more time with their guests. While it is not practical to invite all your guests to your rehearsal dinner, you could have an open invitation to the Welcome Party. Here are things to think about:
- Timing – Schedule something after dinner for 2-3 hours. If you think your dinner might run late, make sure somebody from your party can show up early to greet guests. Make sure you yourselves don’t stay too late so that you can get a good night sleep before the wedding day.
- Food & Beverage – with the party late enough, I don’t think it’s necessary to provide food, unless you want to provide dessert or snacks. If you are at a restaurant or bar, I think it’s perfectly OK to have everyone pay for themselves. If you want to host a portion of the food and beverage, that’s OK too except don’t forget to budget for it. For example, my husband and I hosted a Welcome Party at Continental Pool Lounge in Rosslyn. The bar reserved several pool tables for us. We paid for that but our guests paid for their own drinks. We had a blast hanging out with our friends in a more casual atmosphere.
Bars – Bars are a natural gathering place and some will allow you to rope off an area just for your private party.
Private homes – We’ve also had a few clients whose friends or families offered to host a Welcome Party.
We’ve reviewed some venues in the past. Here is a summary:
— Hope you will enjoy this series and find it useful! Vicky