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Seeking menu concepts for wed. rehearsal dinner

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I am working ahead to be ready for the rehearsal dinner for my son's wedding. We'd like to host it ourselves at the vacation home we'll be renting for this out-of-town event. I am looking for some menu ideas for serving a crowd of 50 or so. Think not-too-complicated, pleasing a variety of taste buds, not too expensive.

Both the bride and groom are fairly easy to please -- but no seafood and no bananas. Thinking about the groom's favorite for a dessert -- rhubarb crunch.

Help!

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  1. What time of year will it be and where will it be located?

    1. For our rehearsal dinner, we did a fajita bar. This was pretty economical, about $10 a person ordered from a Mexican place and we had about 40 people. It was easy and relaxed, which was nice since our wedding was fairly formal.

      You could also do it fairly easily on your own. Chop up some vegetables, cook the meat, set it all out with some salsa, guac, sour cream, tortillas, etc. Add a big pan of rice and a pot of beans and you have a meal.

      1. maybe you could include some favorites from the city where they live, or where they met, or maybe where you're holding the event?

        friends of mine had BBQ catered for theirs. everyone seemed to like it and it was relatively inexpensive.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nc213

          I second BBQ. It is the perfect food for a large group that you want to be social and relaxed. Everyone forgets their pretensions when eating messy 'cue with their fingers. Ribs, chicken and a vegetarian option, like bbq tofu, should keep everyone happy.

          1. re: nc213

            I third the BBQ recommendations. The most fun rehearsal dinners I have been to have been casual BBQ at someone's house.

            Also, remember that rehearsal dinner should always be less formal than the weddings themselves, so by doing something casual like a BBQ, you don't run the risk of offending anybody.

            1. re: Megiac

              We also did a bbq for my bother's rehersal dinner since the wedding was super formal.It was great and we even had fireworks.

              http://johnbscigarblog.blogspot.com/

          2. I've hosted two wedding rehearsal dinners and in each case made the bride and groom's favorite dishes, even if they weren't things that would normally be served together. One was a baked ham and a sausage and seafood gumbo. The other was a lasagne and short ribs. What was great about all four dishes was that they could be completed ahead of time, since I, too, was attending the rehearsal and had limited time to get food on the table once everyone got back to my apartment. I would think that cooking in a strange kitchen could be very frustrating and that the more you can do at home and bring with you the better off you'll be, if that's even possible.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JoanN

              I like the idea of serving the bride and groom's favorite dishes, it shows the day is about them (which sometimes gets lost in the craziness of wedding planning/ wedding day).

              About BBQ: nice and economical idea if it's warm where you are right now. However my grill(or the chef for that matter heh) doesn't function very well at -17C(that's 1.4F) which is the temp today where I live. I don't see anywhere where the OP mentioned the area where the reheasal dinner is being held.

            2. When my mother got married after being widowed for about 16 years, my husband and I decided to host the rehearsal party at our beach house and invite all of the out of town guests.

              We hired a chef and catering company and had them do everything for us.

              That way we were able to enjoy all of our guests and wouldn't have to worry about running around, cleaning up, etc.

              The affair was for about 75 people.

              I think it was about $12 per person and we provided the booze.

              We did a pig picken' with shrimp and grits, fried chicken, collards, potato salad, butter beans, slaw, rice, and corn bread.

              All of my stepfather's yankee relatives loved it.

              1. I also think serving favorite foods is a great idea! For our rehearsal dinner, we did sandwich trays, mac salad, potato salad, and black and white cookies for dessert. I am from NY and grew up with great delis (Kosher, Italian and German) and wonderful b/w cookies. My husband grew up in Chicago, but loves going to NY for the delis, so it was a win win meal. The out of towners loved the NY sandwiches! We had big galvanized tubs for soft drinks and beer, and wine set out on a table as a self serve. It was a great night. We did hire 2 catering people to keep things orderly and clear tables as necessary. That was a life saver.

                1. Thanks for the feedback so far. These are all good ideas. The place is Annpolis, MD (far from home for us) and the time is mid-summer. I had already emailed the groom's grandma for the recipe for his favorite dessert -- rhubarb crunch bars. The bride doesn't care for seafood, so I think that rules out the regional favorite crab cakes.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: writesonwater

                    I've picked up catering platters at Red, Hot and Blue BBQ in Annapolis on my way from Washington to Maryland's Eastern Shore a number of times and been to parties they've done. They do a good job at a good price. http://www.redhotandblue.com/Maryland...

                    1. re: writesonwater

                      You could also do "family dishes." Favorites from each side of the family - along w/ recipes to swap.

                    2. If you don't mind a bit of prep., grilled skewers of assorted ingredients could be good and can make for great presentation. I love a skewer of grilled veggies and the options are endless. You can include portabello mushrooms, peppers, onions, squash, sweet potatoes, pineapple etc. Since the bride doesn not like seafood, you could use chicken or steak but also make grilled shrimp or scallop skewers for those who do like seafood. You can also skewer fruit which is always fun and healthy alongside a variety of fruit dips.

                      1. Many good ideas here:

                        http://www.angelfire.com/bc/incredibl...