A Wedding in Your Future? Don’t Let the Rehearsal Dinner Be an Afterthought

Lobster clambake
Photo: Michael-john Wolfe/Hemera/Thinkstock

As you get caught up in the excitement of planning the wedding and reception, don’t let the rehearsal dinner be an afterthought. This intimate and more relaxed affair kicks-off the wedding weekend celebrations, and, since it is a gathering of your most nearest and most dearest, it can offer some of the most meaningful and memorable moments of the entire celebration. That is why we suggest you give careful consideration to planning it.

Traditionally, the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner, but just like everything else in a 21st century wedding, traditions are often cast aside while the couple to be wed creates an event that reflects their style and budget. One thing is certain: The rehearsal dinner is a preview to the main event, so unless your crowd can handle a marathon party, plan to keep it low-key, fairly simple, and break it up early. Everyone at this event has to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for the wedding—ready to smile for the camera and go from morning to midnight with barely a break in the action.

The Hamptons and the North Fork are perfect for this type of simple soiree. Head to the beach for a clambake, or break out the lawn games for barbecue in the backyard. If you would like a bit more structure, call on a fabulous restaurant to reserve a private room or a corner of the main dining room. Pick a place that features the cuisine of one or both of your ancestors so you can share your culture with new family members.

With sandy beaches a short drive from anywhere on the North Fork and the Hamptons, we love the clambake idea for a summer event, but this is a specialty that only a few have mastered. For truly authentic clambakes, we suggest Cowfish or ALure.

Plan your rehearsal dinner
Plan your rehearsal dinner, Photo: Judy McCleery, President | NorthForkWeddings, Ltd.

For truly unique and fabulously memorable rehearsal dinner, take it to the speakeasy at Jedediah Hawkins Inn. This beautiful restored historic inn hides an intimate cellar perfectly sized for a rehearsal dinner, and it feels just like a Prohibition era speakeasy. This time, the secret password is not required—unless you set one yourself.

The rehearsal dinner is that quiet time before all the hoopla when friends and family from both sides of the wedding party get to know each other, especially those out-of-towners who barely know bride or groom, let alone the rest of the family. Share stories, tell secrets, make toasts, quell the last minute jitters and just bask joyfully in the anticipation of the big day ahead.

Yes, it can be a hectic and crazy day, so don’t add to the stress by trying to do too much. Make it memorable, but keep it fun and relaxed, too. The caterers and restaurateurs of the East End are in business to help you have a great time, so on this momentous occasion, don’t hesitate to call on them. NorthForkWeddings, SouthForkWeddings and the EastEndExperience offer listings of pre-screened vendors and restaurants that are ready serve. From catered clambakes and barbecues to languid evenings in a cozy waterside or farmview restaurant, your wedding weekend’s “opening ceremonies” can be whatever you have envisioned—and you won’t have to lift a finger.

Visit northforkweddings.com, southforkweddings.com, beautyandwellnessguru.com and eastendexperience.com for pre-screened services available on the East End that will make your destination wedding, party, Hamptons honeymoon or weekend escape the best it can be.

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