Once you have decided on a venue for your rehearsal dinner, you need to narrow down your menu. Most restaurants will allow you to offer a limited choice menu that is designed with your budget in mind. So if you have a large group attending, you can pre-calculate your expense. If you have an open budget, ordering from the menu is fine as well. You should also consider whether you are going to pick up the tab for alcohol. If not, you could limit everyone to beer and wine, or perhaps just a glass of champagne for toasting. If you do not want to have alcohol included just be sure you make that clear to your guests before they order. A tactful announcement by your server that anyone desiring a cocktail can be accommodated in the bar would probably suffice. This is a problem you won’t encounter if you elect to host your rehearsal dinner at your home, but making sure you have food selected for everyone attending that is appropriate is something to consider. For example, you may not want to offer prime rib if several of your guests are vegetarian. The bride and groom will know their wedding party, and should be able help with decisions like this.
Without stressing the “happy couple” you will still want to discuss what time will be appropriate for the dinner to begin and end. Normally everyone will depart immediately from the wedding rehearsal to the dinner. This time needs coordinated with your restaurant, caterers or anyone else helping you host the affair. Be sure that you, as parents, arrive promptly and are there to meet and greet all of your guests. That will ensure that everyone feels welcome and set the tone for the remainder of the evening. Most young couples prefer an early wedding run through, and an early dinner…that allows them a complete evening to enjoy with their friends celebrating their departure from single life.