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Rehearsal-ish gathering- Portland

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I will be married in Portland next June. We are planning a small rehearsal dinner for the immediate family but then want to find a place to go with all the out of town guests, which could be about 60-80 people. We want something casual, where people can drop in as they arrive in town, or leave when they are ready for bed. Maybe appetizers or dessert. Some people will want a drink but we are not a huge drinking crowd.

It will be a Friday night so I don't know if many restaurants will want to give up their private room for appetizers and drinks.

I thought it would be fun to make a dessert buffet where we could get sweets from a lot of places but don't know where we could host this.

We looked at the "private" room at the Sebago Brewery in South Portland but it was just an alcove off of the waiting area. I am going to look into a cruise but worry that that prevents the drop-in, leave whenever people. I even thought about renting Silly's (where we would have more than just apps). Does anyone know if they have ever done that?

As you can see, we are open to lots of ideas, but haven't found one that has clicked. Any ideas would be SOOO greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

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  1. ...been there. Joe's Boathouse-So Po has a separate function building that may accomodate 60-not sure about 80. It's on the water, there's a view, although of mostly other people's boats.
    Another funky idea would be to get a caterer to do something at the Long Island VFW-great view and you get a ferry ride too!

    1. Portland Yacht Services on the waterfront has several funky function rooms with great views. Specifically building six which is completely redone and has large windows that overlook the bay and should be about the right size for your group. There is no restaurant on site, so you have to bring your own caterer, but this gives you a little more flexibilty in planning your menu. The place ( including the staff which can be a little surly) has a character that you really can't find anywhere else.

      I tried to get my brother to do his rehearsal dinner there but he balked because the walk down to the pavement would be too far for the smokers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ejohnson

        These are great ideas! Thanks! Keep the fabulous ideas coming!

      2. What about the floating restaurant that used to be in the port? Can't remember the name but they might accommodate.

        1. I wonder if Top of the East, the bar on top of the Eastland Park Hotel, would let you rent the whole place out? It's a fun spot for out-of-towners because of the city views; they've got nice big leather couches, and I've seen hot food up there before, so I'm sure the hotel could provide a little apps buffet. And it'd be the perfect drop-in spot.

          1. Along the lines of places for which you'd need a caterer, there is the 5th Regiment building on Peaks Island which is often a location for weddings/receptions. You take everyone on the ferry (only about 20 minutes; operates every hour), and either walk about 10 minutes, or arrange some on-island transporation for those who don't want to. Overlooks the channel between Peaks and Cushing: very, very scenic and plenty of room.
            Floating restaurant referred to above is DeMillo's. Food essentially touristy and inedible.
            There are also several restaurants on Peaks, and when I was out there this weekend noticed an advertisement for a service that actually plans weddings out there, so you may be able to get in touch with them, also.