Wedding festivities can be truly overwhelming.  You are meeting with multiple vendors to ensure that no detail is missed on the

Kaitlan Terry, 21c Museum Hotel Lexington

most important day of your life.  One commonly put to the last-minute wedding detail is the rehearsal dinner.  Nowadays, the rehearsal dinner is not thought about until one to two months before the wedding and then there is the added stress of going over budget and venues already being booked.  The rehearsal dinner is one of the few moments that you get before the big day, where all of you and your fiancé’s closest family and friends get to meet and relax.  Here are some important things to keep in mind when selecting the perfect venue for your rehearsal dinner.

  1. Ambiance:  What kind of vibe do you want your rehearsal dinner to have?  This is extremely important!  Remember, everyone who is attending your rehearsal dinner is also attending your wedding.  Therefore, make sure that you are creating variety for your guests when it comes to your venue and menu selections.  Couples will often choose to incorporate their wedding colors and the same type of décor as the wedding into their rehearsal dinner, but this is a completely separate party!  Use this night to do something different and not follow the normal traditions.  If your wedding is more formal, try having a more relaxed dinner for example. It is ok to go outside of the box and show off a different side of yourself.
  2. Proximity to ceremony location: This is not thought about enough!  Sometimes, couples are in a hurry to book something or their budget has already been capped by the time they are looking for a rehearsal dinner venue.  The stress of the rush and budget will lead a couple to book the first available place they can find.  This can sometimes be far from the venue or your guest’s accommodations forcing your loved ones to drive quite the distance.
  3. Food and Beverage:The food should WOW your guests.  Have you eaten at the venue before or tried the caterer’s food? This is a dinner with the most important people in your life, make sure that the food is good and that there is enough of it to go around!  When it comes to choosing whether or not to have a bar, just remember that the real party is the next day.  Hosting a bar for an hour or two is a great way to allow your guests to relax before the wedding, while not having to go over the top.  You want them to show up for the big day feeling their best!
  4. Budget: A rehearsal dinner should not be stressful! It should be an exciting and easy kickoff to the wedding weekend. When thinking about the cost of the meal, remember that many great venues include their own catering which makes the process easier; however venues that allow you to bring in catering can prove to be more cost effective.  Almost any catering company or venue that includes catering can customize their menu to make it unique to the couple.
  5. Décor: Lexington has some gorgeous venues that need very little décor to make your dinner fantastic!  Simple and personal is best for the rehearsal dinner especially since the guests are your closest family and friends. Some popular décor selections for your tables are photos of the couple, empty bourbon or wine bottles from your favorite places, candles, and small flower bouquets.  Anything personal you can add to the venue will make a lasting memory for you and your guests.

The rehearsal dinner should feel fun, relaxed and stress free.  Take your time to select a venue that fits the two of you as a couple and has excellent food to wow your guests.  If you start planning early, you will have your choice of venues and not feel rushed to select a place that you wouldn’t normally choose.  Make sure to budget for your rehearsal dinner so that you can kick your wedding weekend off with the perfect evening.

(photo credits: Franzetti Photography, The Malicotes, GLINT Studios)