Rehearsal Dinner in Seattle
I've been reading chowhound for years now, and have discovered endless excellent dining around the world from the various posts, but I haven't found the answer to my situation yet in a previous thread. I need help!
I'm getting married this June and am in search of a rehearsal dinner venue. I feel like the wedding reception is the big splurge, and I would like to keep the rehearsal dinner more casual and economical. Any suggestions for a great place in Seattle where I can host a dinner for 40-45 people? Cuisine is not critical, we can go with any type of food. Ideally, I would love to find a place that is informal, friendly and delicious. It would be awesome if said place really captures the spirit of Seattle. I would like to keep the price to under $1000. Is this even possible?
Thanks for your thoughts!
We had a great, informal "rehearsal dinner" on July 4, 2008, at The Essential Baking Company just blocks north of Gasworks. It's a perfect space for your size party. We were able to bring in our own beverages (they cleared their open coolers) and they catered the salads, breads, meats, and dessert.
We did have to pay for 20 parking spots at the going July 4th rate (likely you wouldn't need to even worry about parking), but we could also see the fireworks by walking into the intersection. There's also a small but lovely terrace outside.
I have had friends that have had their rehearsal dinner at Pasta Freska on Westlake...Mike, the chef/owner can help plan a fun tasting menu. He is wild and everyone has a great time when he is at the helm of his quirky little restaurant. You could easily do something that would keep you within your budget. Of course it is not a high profile joint, but it is casual and fun.
i'm a native mid-western but have transplanted to the west (port townsend).
my suggestion is go with a traditional "fish fry" and cans of rainier beer.
hit Norm's Eatery up in Fremont, the owners are from Ohio and are ALL about fun.
plus they serve incredible fish & chips and the atmosphere is fabulous.
my 2 cents.
We had our rehearsal dinner at BluWater on Lake Union. They have a great catering space upstairs that would definitely hold 45 people. It has beautiful views out across Lake Union, towards Gasworks, and even some peak-a-boo views of the Space Needle. The food was WONDERFUL and the service was so friendly and accomodating. We had about 60 people, with waaayyyy too much food (my fault) and an open bar, and ended up spending about $2500, so if you wanted to nix the open bar you could totally spend about $1000 on food. I thought the relaxed but cosy atmosphere was perfect for out-of-town family to get to know each other for the first time. Hope that helps!
$1000 for 40 guests is about $25 per person. With that group you are likely going to have an automatic gratuity at 15-20%. So let's say that leaves you with $20-22 per person before tip.
The big question is whether that figure includes drinks. If so, it could be tough, especially if you are dealing with a regular restaurant menu. My first thought was Steelhead Diner, because I know they can accomodate a private group of this size, and they have great food that is not too expensive, good view, affordable wines. Quinn's (gastropub) has an upstairs space that would be a great fit, it they'd be willing to let you have it. Maybe Cafe Presse (French brasserie) would do the same with their back room. Wherever you go, be sure to call ahead and see if you can make a deal; in this economy, I'd guess they might be more flexible with a family-style planned dinner within your budget, almost like a catered meal.