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Etiquette

dry rehearsal dinner?

SJM7538SJM7538
500 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
member
edited September 2013 in Etiquette

My fiance and I are getting married in about 4 weeks. Our budget is strechted pretty thin at this point so to be able to afford the rehearsal dinner we have to choose between including SOs or covering the cost of drinks (alcholic). Obvioulsy we will be covering soda, juice or whatever nonalcholic beverage people want. I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy.

 

The RD is at an italian restaurant. The restaurant had us choose three options and ask everyone what they want and we just have to call a few days before with a count and meal count. Great- that made it easy and we chose options within our budget. The bar will be open if people want to go to the bar and get a drink, I can't stop this from happening because they won't shut the bar down on a Friday night.  I tried making it so we could reserve the back room away from the bar but they won't do it because our party isn't big enough. They require 50 people to reserve the back room. So my question is - how do I let people know we won't be covering drinks at the RD. Obviously the meals are preordered but waitresses will still be coming around to ask people what they want to drink.

 

I may be overthinking this or maybe there is just a solution I haven't thought of yet. Any advice is appreciated.

 

 

Re: dry rehearsal dinner?

  • My fiance and I are getting married in about 4 weeks. Our budget is strechted pretty thin at this point so to be able to afford the rehearsal dinner we have to choose between including SOs or covering the cost of drinks (alcholic). It's against etiquette to not include SOs. It's perfectly acceptable from an etiquette perspective to have a dry RD.  Obvioulsy we will be covering soda, juice or whatever nonalcholic beverage people want. I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy.

    The RD is at an italian restaurant. The restaurant had us choose three options and ask everyone what they want and we just have to call a few days before with a count and meal count. Great- that made it easy and we chose options within our budget. The bar will be open if people want to go to the bar and get a drink, I can't stop this from happening because they won't shut the bar down on a Friday night.  I tried making it so we could reserve the back room away from the bar but they won't do it because our party isn't big enough. They require 50 people to reserve the back room. So my question is - how do I let people know we won't be covering drinks at the RD. Obviously the meals are preordered but waitresses will still be coming around to ask people what they want to drink. Make sure the restaurant informs the waitress who will be serving your table that you are not paying for alcoholic drinks. If/When people order them, she can say, "The B&G are covering all non-alcoholic drinks. Is there anything else you'd like to order?"

    I may be overthinking this or maybe there is just a solution I haven't thought of yet. Any advice is appreciated.

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    TeddiD34melbelleupdoeydo
  • Can you make a printed menu card to put at each place setting?
    -- Appetizers -- 
    -- Dinner choices --
    -- Dessert -- 
    -- Hosted drinks (sodas, iced teas, etc.) --

    Or can you ask the restaurant to have waitresses ask, "coke, diet coke, iced tea, ice water?" or something similar, so that they are not inviting alcoholic drink orders?

    Also, your first paragraph was a little confusing -- you are inviting WP SOs, right?

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    melbelleupdoeydo
  • I'd print out a menu stating what is offered.

    BUT, by making it dry this means that you can't drink either. I appreciate people being on a budget I do. But if I'm in your wedding I'm probably talking time off from work plus spending money to be in your wedding. It would chap me to no end if you began to drink while telling me that you were only paying for non alcoholic beverages.
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    grumbledoreMrsLillyG
  • Just make sure the wait staff knows what you're doing. I went to a Rehearsal Dinner like this and the wait staff had no idea what was and wasn't covered, there was a lot of confusion. Fortunately for me, I was still nursing a hangover from the bachelorette party the night before and didn't want to drink anyway.
    Anniversary
  • I'm more concerned with this part of the OP:

    "I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy."


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  • ceceibson said:

    I'm more concerned with this part of the OP:


    "I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy."


    This statement is what confuses me.
    Thenimage Nowimage
  •  
    banana468 said:
    I'm more concerned with this part of the OP:

    "I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy."


    This statement is what confuses me.

    I'm pretty sure they meant not not going to include SO's, otherwise according to the OP they'd have no problem with covering alchohol.
  • opps sorry! I meant we ARE including SOs. 
    grumbledore
  • SKPM said:
    Can you make a printed menu card to put at each place setting?
    -- Appetizers -- 
    -- Dinner choices --
    -- Dessert -- 
    -- Hosted drinks (sodas, iced teas, etc.) --

    Or can you ask the restaurant to have waitresses ask, "coke, diet coke, iced tea, ice water?" or something similar, so that they are not inviting alcoholic drink orders?

    Also, your first paragraph was a little confusing -- you are inviting WP SOs, right?
     
     
    Thank you for this suggestion. I don't know why I didn't think of that. Maybe I'm scattered brain with all the last minute stuff going on.  
  • Before the meal, make sure you PERSONALLY inform the waitress that alcoholic drinks are not covered, and to offer the beverages as "coke, diet coke, iced tea, or water."

    This way there can be no miscommunication between restaurant staff.
    melbelleupKeptInStitches
  • We are doing a menu to help alleviate any confusion. We are hosting beer and wine but not hard liquor/cocktails. 
  • SJM7538 said:

    My fiance and I are getting married in about 4 weeks. Our budget is strechted pretty thin at this point so to be able to afford the rehearsal dinner we have to choose between including SOs or covering the cost of drinks (alcholic). Obvioulsy we will be covering soda, juice or whatever nonalcholic beverage people want. I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy.

     

    The RD is at an italian restaurant. The restaurant had us choose three options and ask everyone what they want and we just have to call a few days before with a count and meal count. Great- that made it easy and we chose options within our budget. The bar will be open if people want to go to the bar and get a drink, I can't stop this from happening because they won't shut the bar down on a Friday night.  I tried making it so we could reserve the back room away from the bar but they won't do it because our party isn't big enough. They require 50 people to reserve the back room. So my question is - how do I let people know we won't be covering drinks at the RD. Obviously the meals are preordered but waitresses will still be coming around to ask people what they want to drink.

     

    I may be overthinking this or maybe there is just a solution I haven't thought of yet. Any advice is appreciated.

     

     


    Edit: We ARE including SOs.
  • Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think I was just overthinking it. I like the menu idea and just making the waitress aware ahead of time and have them offer specific options.

     

    banana - I wasn't planning on drinking alcoholic beverages that evening, except maybe a glass of wine when I get home so no worries there. :)

     

    some of our crowd may be disappointed at the dry RD but I thought it was more important to includes SOs rather than spring for drinks.

  • @SJM7538 I wouldn't worry about people being disappointed. When I thought about our rehearsal I am hoping that nobody plans on going too crazy the night before the wedding. 

    A lot of people don't do anything extravagant for their RD, many do something casual like pizza and soda, a BBQ or sandwiches, So I am sure your bridal party will appreciate whatever you choose, especially including their SOs. 
  • I think the menu thing is a good idea.

    I'm sure it would be fine without alcohol.  However I have been to three rehearsal dinners and they all had alcohol.  Other last minute things that I would do to make room in the budget for alcohol at the rehearsal dinner (if you havent already done so and can return these things if you can): cut favors, cut welcome bags, cut programs, cut fancy guest book and pen, cut fancy cake cutter and toasting flutes, cut new shoes for RD

  • SJM7538 said:

    My fiance and I are getting married in about 4 weeks. Our budget is strechted pretty thin at this point so to be able to afford the rehearsal dinner we have to choose between including SOs or covering the cost of drinks (alcholic). Obvioulsy we will be covering soda, juice or whatever nonalcholic beverage people want. I was not going to include SOs the decision was pretty easy.

     

    The RD is at an italian restaurant. The restaurant had us choose three options and ask everyone what they want and we just have to call a few days before with a count and meal count. Great- that made it easy and we chose options within our budget. The bar will be open if people want to go to the bar and get a drink, I can't stop this from happening because they won't shut the bar down on a Friday night.  I tried making it so we could reserve the back room away from the bar but they won't do it because our party isn't big enough. They require 50 people to reserve the back room. So my question is - how do I let people know we won't be covering drinks at the RD. Obviously the meals are preordered but waitresses will still be coming around to ask people what they want to drink.

     

    I may be overthinking this or maybe there is just a solution I haven't thought of yet. Any advice is appreciated.

     

     

    You should invite people with their SOs.  To do otherwise would be rude.

    Also, just tell the waitresses that alcohol is not being served and it's a dry rehearsal.  If someone really sneaks out to the restaurant bar and has a drink, you did your best, but just make it clear that you intend it to be dry and do what you can to stop the waitresses from turning it into a cash bar rehearsal dinner.

    (I'd also have them take away any wine lists etc that might be at the tables.)

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  • For my friends wedding, I believe that she and her H funded the RD and she just went around to each person to thank them for coming and that tea, water, and soda were on the house but if they wanted an alcoholic beverage it would cost extra.  I think she had maybe 25 or so people there so it didn't take them very long to go to each person/couple.

    Now if you were having a big RD then a menu of what is provided would be a good idea.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a dry RD just as there is nothing wrong with a dry wedding.
    zobird
  • I just confirmed with the waitress at mine (similar set up to yours) that wine, beer & non alcoholic beverages were covered but if anyone asked for anyone else to just let them know that liquor wasn't included in the dinner but if they wanted to start a tab of their own or go to the bar that they could that. In your case you can have the servers advise that alcholic beverages aren't included in the dinner but they can go to the bar to purchase a drink or open a tab up.
  • For my friends wedding, I believe that she and her H funded the RD and she just went around to each person to thank them for coming and that tea, water, and soda were on the house but if they wanted an alcoholic beverage it would cost extra.  I think she had maybe 25 or so people there so it didn't take them very long to go to each person/couple.

    Now if you were having a big RD then a menu of what is provided would be a good idea.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a dry RD just as there is nothing wrong with a dry wedding.

    Good advice. I think I will just do this. We are having 33 people so it really shouldn't take that long.

     

    LillyG - with the exception of favors we pretty much cut all of that stuff out already. And the favors are going to be chocolate maple leaf pops wrapped in fall colored cellophane bags that my mom and I are making ourselves. So the supplies came to maybe $30 total if I recall. I knew I couldn't afford a cute new outfit for the RD so I told everyone its casual, I will be in something I already own.

     

     

    Thanks for the advice everyone. You all made me feel better about not keeping it dry.

  • Oops meant keeping it dry.

  • For my friends wedding, I believe that she and her H funded the RD and she just went around to each person to thank them for coming and that tea, water, and soda were on the house but if they wanted an alcoholic beverage it would cost extra.  I think she had maybe 25 or so people there so it didn't take them very long to go to each person/couple.


    Now if you were having a big RD then a menu of what is provided would be a good idea.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a dry RD just as there is nothing wrong with a dry wedding.
    While I agree that there's nothing wrong on paper with a dry RD, I'll be honest: I'd most likely side-eye it.

    Serving alcohol with a meal is like wearing shoes with an outfit. They just go together. I don't wear flip flops with a cocktail dress but I don't go with bare feet.

    My point is that alcohol shouldn't be a negotiable afterthought.
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  • banana468 said:
    For my friends wedding, I believe that she and her H funded the RD and she just went around to each person to thank them for coming and that tea, water, and soda were on the house but if they wanted an alcoholic beverage it would cost extra.  I think she had maybe 25 or so people there so it didn't take them very long to go to each person/couple.

    Now if you were having a big RD then a menu of what is provided would be a good idea.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a dry RD just as there is nothing wrong with a dry wedding.
    While I agree that there's nothing wrong on paper with a dry RD, I'll be honest: I'd most likely side-eye it. Serving alcohol with a meal is like wearing shoes with an outfit. They just go together. I don't wear flip flops with a cocktail dress but I don't go with bare feet. My point is that alcohol shouldn't be a negotiable afterthought.

     

    While it's not my first choice to have a dry RD we really didn't have an option. We have a lot of family and a fairly large bridal party, plus SOs. Our house isn't big enough to host everyone inside. We easily could have done a BBQ or pizza outside but the venue is 40 minutes from us and we are getting married in the middle of October. So by the time we got back it will be cold and dark out. I sat down and wrote every possible option for the RD on paper and this was the option within our budget.

  • For my friends wedding, I believe that she and her H funded the RD and she just went around to each person to thank them for coming and that tea, water, and soda were on the house but if they wanted an alcoholic beverage it would cost extra.  I think she had maybe 25 or so people there so it didn't take them very long to go to each person/couple.

    Now if you were having a big RD then a menu of what is provided would be a good idea.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a dry RD just as there is nothing wrong with a dry wedding.

    @maggie0829  forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the bolded rude to do? To tell them they can pay for the alcohol I mean. I'd equate that to the same as a cash or limited bar with cash liquor, both of which are obviously rude. Does a RD fall under the same category as a wedding as far as hosted events go?

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

  • Just make sure you are very clear with your servers and management (just FYI, as someone in the industry, waitress/waiter isn't really a term that is used anymore)  about what is hosted.  Also you might want to check with their actual bar prices.  At my restaurant, we have a fully stocked bar but we also do dollar beers, so technically a soda can be pricier than a pony High life.  Most restaurants in my area charge 1-2$ for a soda. Also, sometimes because of bulk pricing if you offer a specific amount of one type of beer, the price may be the same as letting everyone order soft drinks.  I would say though that  as long as the servers are clear with every guest about what drinks are hosted, you should be fine.  You also can't help people choosing to open tabs if they want. Personally if I were at such an event, and alcohol wasn't hosted, I would refrain from opening a tab, maybe go to the bar with a few people once the dinner was over and people were leaving.  

    I will say this, it is rude to your servers (who are people to) to have people go to the bar to order drinks, unless they intend to also stay at the bar for the duration of their time there.  If your servers are the ones waiting on you and your party, they are also the ones that should benefit from whatever tabs are opened by your party.  It is extremely rude to be waited on at a table but go to the bar to order drinks.  Your server is the one that has to constantly fill drinks, check in with the party to make sure everyone has what they need, etc.  They are taking care of you and your party for the night, not the bar staff.  They already get tips off of what drinks they do make for the party.  


    huskypuppy14
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829
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    edited September 2013
    acove2006 said:
    For my friends wedding, I believe that she and her H funded the RD and she just went around to each person to thank them for coming and that tea, water, and soda were on the house but if they wanted an alcoholic beverage it would cost extra.  I think she had maybe 25 or so people there so it didn't take them very long to go to each person/couple.

    Now if you were having a big RD then a menu of what is provided would be a good idea.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a dry RD just as there is nothing wrong with a dry wedding.

    @maggie0829  forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the bolded rude to do? To tell them they can pay for the alcohol I mean. I'd equate that to the same as a cash or limited bar with cash liquor, both of which are obviously rude. Does a RD fall under the same category as a wedding as far as hosted events go?
    @acove2006 Well in a restaurant, where this RD was held, you can't stop your guests from ordering alcohol if they want it.  I think she was just wanting to give everyone a heads up that the alcohol was not hosted so that the guests weren't caught off guard when they ordered a glass of wine and then were presented with a bill for it.  KWIM?  I think the time where this would be rude is if you hosted a RD in a private event space and brought in your own bar and then charged guests for alcohol (like a wedding reception), but with a restaurant or other public place I think letting your guests know that alcohol is available for purchase but is not hosted is more of a common courtesy so that they aren't surprised by a bill at the end of the night.

    I think with RD that as long as you host the food and non-alcoholic drinks it is fine.  But if you are in a place where there is a bar available for other patrons and/or wait staff to order things from then the hosts should inform their guests that alcohol is not being covered and that if they want a drink then they need to purchase it.  Unlike with a wedding reception where the bar area is typically for the wedding guests only (not an open to the public bar) so the guests do not need to be informed that certain things are and are not hosted because everything that is made available to the guests should be hosted.

    Did that make any sense?
  • banana468 said:

    While I agree that there's nothing wrong on paper with a dry RD, I'll be honest: I'd most likely side-eye it. Serving alcohol with a meal is like wearing shoes with an outfit. They just go together. I don't wear flip flops with a cocktail dress but I don't go with bare feet. My point is that alcohol shouldn't be a negotiable afterthought.
    There is NOTHING wrong with having a dry event.

    And if you would "side eye" one then you'd be the rude person - not the host.
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  • banana468 said:
    While I agree that there's nothing wrong on paper with a dry RD, I'll be honest: I'd most likely side-eye it. Serving alcohol with a meal is like wearing shoes with an outfit. They just go together. I don't wear flip flops with a cocktail dress but I don't go with bare feet. My point is that alcohol shouldn't be a negotiable afterthought.
    There is NOTHING wrong with having a dry event.

    And if you would "side eye" one then you'd be the rude person - not the host.
    I completely agree! There are countless reason that people don't drink and to side-eye their choice to not serve alcohol at a meal is being a rude guest. I would never expect my uncle to serve wine at a meal as he is a recovering alcoholic. I was a happy sober guest at my friend's wedding when it was dry because her cousin was killed by a drunk driver.
    OP, Have your dry rehearsal dinner - there is nothing wrong with doing so - and enjoy it! :-) GL!
  • banana468 said:

    While I agree that there's nothing wrong on paper with a dry RD, I'll be honest: I'd most likely side-eye it. Serving alcohol with a meal is like wearing shoes with an outfit. They just go together. I don't wear flip flops with a cocktail dress but I don't go with bare feet. My point is that alcohol shouldn't be a negotiable afterthought.
    There is NOTHING wrong with having a dry event.

    And if you would "side eye" one then you'd be the rude person - not the host.
    1) Keeping an opinion to yourself isn't rude.   Side eye may have been the wrong term but my reaction would be internal and there is NOTHING wrong with having that reaction to yourself.

    2) I think you're misconstruing what I said.    If you want a dry event, go for it.    However it doesn't sound like that was ultimately what the OP wanted but what she settled upon due to budget.   My issue is that the OP seems to have planned the RD as an afterthought.   The wedding party was chosen, and wedding booked and THEN the OP began to think about the RD.

    Like it or not, many evening meals involve alcohol.   The wedding party often spends a great deal of money to attend and often takes time off from work to attend the event.   If you're a recovering alcoholic or WANT a dry RD that's one thing.   If you're resorting to a dry RD because you didn't think about budgeting for the RD until it was too late then you should have planned better. 
    Thenimage Nowimage
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  • banana468 said:

    While I agree that there's nothing wrong on paper with a dry RD, I'll be honest: I'd most likely side-eye it. Serving alcohol with a meal is like wearing shoes with an outfit. They just go together. I don't wear flip flops with a cocktail dress but I don't go with bare feet. My point is that alcohol shouldn't be a negotiable afterthought.
    There is NOTHING wrong with having a dry event.

    And if you would "side eye" one then you'd be the rude person - not the host.
    1) Keeping an opinion to yourself isn't rude.   Side eye may have been the wrong term but my reaction would be internal and there is NOTHING wrong with having that reaction to yourself.

    2) I think you're misconstruing what I said.    If you want a dry event, go for it.    However it doesn't sound like that was ultimately what the OP wanted but what she settled upon due to budget.   My issue is that the OP seems to have planned the RD as an afterthought.   The wedding party was chosen, and wedding booked and THEN the OP began to think about the RD.

    Like it or not, many evening meals involve alcohol.   The wedding party often spends a great deal of money to attend and often takes time off from work to attend the event.   If you're a recovering alcoholic or WANT a dry RD that's one thing.   If you're resorting to a dry RD because you didn't think about budgeting for the RD until it was too late then you should have planned better
     
     
    This is correct - I originally did not want a dry RD. The original plan was to cover dinner as well as drinks, alcholic and not. I don't know how or why it came across  to you that I planned the RD as an afterthought. Unfortunately some unforseen events forced us to cut the wedding budget. It happens and theres nothing we can do about it but things had to be cut somewhere. And yes we have done budget cuts just about everywhere else that could be cut. So to me having a dry RD seemed like a no brainer vs making cuts in some of the few places that we haven't already. Example - we probably could have returned the bridal party gifts and bought something less expensive and hosted alcohol at the RD. But the gifts were already purchased and they are something that I know each of our wedding party members will love. I'd rather give them something special for all they have done for me and my fiance instead of a glass of wine or a beer at the RD.
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