The rehearsal dinner is an important part of the wedding weekend, as it gives the bride and groom an opportunity to say thank you to all of their guests that helped with wedding preparations leading up to the big day. It’s also an opportunity for friends and family to meet each other (and maybe develop friendships that will last far beyond this weekend). Given the importance of the event, it’s important to choose your rehearsal dinner menu with care. Here are some tips on how to choose the perfect rehearsal dinner menu.
Appetizers can range from simple to elaborate rehearsal dinner, and don’t need to be limited to finger foods. If you want an interactive way for guests to contribute, consider allowing them to write their favorite recipe on a small card and hang it on a centerpiece. At dinner time, everyone will get a chance at reading and cook one of these recipes! Other great dishes include: Chicken Skewers with Apricot BBQ Sauce; Nacho Salad; Potato Skins; Grilled Cheese Bites; Mini Quiche; Hors d’Oeuvres Platter (with different mini quiches in place of sausage rolls); Deviled Eggs; Bacon-Wrapped Scallops (because bacon makes everything better).
While appetizers are typically served at cocktail hour before dinner, there’s no reason they can’t be served during dinner. If you’re serving dinner in courses, try offering up a few small bites in between courses to keep guests engaged and excited for what’s next. Keep your menu simple with items like stuffed mushrooms or mini crab cakes or dip everyone’s favorite, fresh veggies. If you’re serving appetizers in addition to dinner, consider placing an order for pigs-in-blankets if your venue offers them, since they’re easy for guests to grab on their way out the door. The last thing you want is leftovers since reheating options are limited when it comes to meat dishes! We recommend having something prepared ahead of time so it will be ready when your rehearsal ends.
Traditional rehearsal dinners often include a meal like pot roast, fried chicken or some other dish that’s cooked for hours. The problem is, these slow-cooked meals tend to be high in fat and carbohydrates and low in protein and fiber. If you choose such a dish as your main course (pot roast, anyone?), make sure it’s leaner than usual; then replace some of those potato sides with vegetables like green beans or broccoli. The right-side dishes will help keep your carbs and calories under control without sacrificing flavor too much. Chicken Piccata is an easy dish to prepare, but is one that’s always appreciated. Chicken tenders are breaded and lightly fried in butter, then tossed with capers, lemon juice, and parsley. For a spicier kick, add some crushed red pepper flakes during frying. Serve over angel hair pasta for a light but filling meal!
As you’re planning your rehearsal dinner menu, one important aspect to keep in mind is dessert. Planning a dessert buffet is a great way to please everyone at your event. It’s also an opportunity for you and your spouse-to-be to share some of your favorite childhood recipes with your loved ones. These chocolate caramel brownies are sure to get everyone talking about what they remember eating when they were kids, while helping them get into that celebratory spirit! They’re easy enough for guests to grab on their way out, which makes it easier for your wedding party to mingle with guests who may want some extra time before heading home after a night out on the town. Plus—anyone who has had one knows they taste even better at room temperature!
Dessert is an important part of any dinner, and it’s especially important for rehearsal dinners. A sweet treat will give everyone a chance to enjoy each other’s company as well as provide a nice way to close out your evening. We love mini trifles for parties like these, because they can be made in advance, so you don’t have to spend hours preparing food on top of everything else that comes with planning a wedding. If you want to serve wine or cocktails at your rehearsal dinner, look into renting glassware and cocktail accessories from your caterer or event planner beforehand—many companies offer these items for rental and they can really dress up your table setting.