Rehearsal Dinner Logistics

I can’t decide if I’m really excited about figuring out all the logistics for the wedding or completely overwhelmed. The obsessive side of me is screaming ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE THIS IS AWESOME. Whether that is a good thing for my sanity is yet to be determined…

Let’s talk facts. The week of the wedding is going to be insanely busy—there’s no way around it. The original plan was to hold the rehearsal dinner out at the venue. They have a number of pavilions available for rental around and near a lake and walking path.



Personal photos

This would have worked perfectly for us because it’s a simple picnic-style setting. The menu for the rehearsal dinner is going to be pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, chips, cookies, and sweet tea—so it fits.

The problem is the logistics of getting everyone there. Everyone is staying in Greenville (30–40 minutes away). The drive isn’t awful, but there a few things to consider:

  1. Greenville five o’clock traffic is horrible. The highways slow down, the stoplights back up, and it’s just generally a mess. You don’t want to get caught rushing to get somewhere at five.
  2. There’s a 5k in Traveler’s Rest (midway between Greenville and the wedding venue) that evening that draws 3,000-plus people. Traveler’s Rest is a tiny town and they close down roads to handle the 5k. Mr. Lemur and I ran it last year, and it took us 45 minutes to make the 15-minute drive.
  3. Everyone’s going to be crunched for time all day long. Do we really want people rushing to get there, rushing to get back, hurrying around the whole time? What we’re actually going for with the rehearsal dinner is a laid-back time for family and close friends to mingle and talk.

In my mind, I think I scrapped the rehearsal-dinner-at-the-venue plan a long time ago. But it wasn’t until last night at 11:00 when I couldn’t sleep that I came up with an alternative.


Image via SC Great Outdoors

Cleveland Park is three miles away from graduation and two miles away from the hotel where I reserved rooms for guests. It’s a big park with eight shelters, several miles of inter-looping trails, a zoo, several playgrounds, tennis courts, and the Reedy River down the middle of it. It’s also home to Rock Quarry Garden, which I happen to be very partial to, since we got engaged there.


Image via Rachel Hughes Photography / A wedding in Rocky Quarry Garden—I’m kinda jealous!

I think all around it just makes more sense. It’s a lower-key evening and (hopefully) everyone will love the park as much as we do!

Anyone else do a really casual rehearsal dinner? How did you decide on a venue? Any other sentimental brides out there who want to pull in the proposal location to the wedding?


Mrs. Lemur

Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Two Wheels Become One: A Toast of Titanic Proportions
Gallery of the Day
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  1. mswallaby Bee
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:54 am

    We really liked the idea of having our rehearsal dinner at a park (like BBQ or picnic-style), but our wedding was outdoors (and we served BBQ at the wedding, so that probably would’ve been a little overkill!) and we were nervous about risking TWO outdoor events in one weekend, since technically it was the end of hurricane season. Also, with daylight saving’s time, it was dark at 4 PM the day of our RD, so we would’ve been dining in the dark. But I loove the idea of an outdoor RD, I’m sure it will be really fun and casual!

  2. Member
    sunnybrook 369 posts, Helper bee @ 8:55 am

    We’re doing ours at our wedding venue, and it will be super casual. Our venue is an inn, so immediate family will be staying right there the night before the wedding, and we have free reign of the place for the whole weekend.

    FI’s family is pretty big, so even though we aren’t having a big bridal party, there will still be around 25 people at the rehearsal (kids with parents, etc.). Since there are several kids around, we’re thinking we might actually do a rehearsal lunch… which would be friendlier for cranky little ones.

    Our plan is just to do a cook-out. Burgers and hot dogs, etc. Our wedding is pretty casual, too… so it doesn’t make sense to have a formal rehearsal. And, we really want it to be a laid back time for our families to spend some time together.

    I think your park plan sounds fantastic!
    In any case, our plan i

  3. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 11:28 am

    @Mrs. Wallaby: Oh yeah, if we were having an outdoor wedding I’d probably shy away too! But I feel like because our wedding is indoor with a brunch type reception it works because they’re both a casual vibe… I’m pretty excited to hang out in a gorgeous park the night before!

    @Sunnybrook: Oh that works super well! I love that you say that your wedding is pretty casual so it doesn’t make sense to have a formal rehearsal. That’s EXACTLY how I felt! I’m definitely hoping for a fun laid-back time at the park 🙂

  4. Member
    flying_hearts 801 posts, Busy bee @ 11:32 am

    I love this idea! I’ve been stressing about finding a place that will fit our crew and not break the bank. (We’re doing a destination-ish wedding and since we’re asking our guests to travel anywhere from 6-14 hours, it’s important to me that we provide all of them with at least one more meal during their trip.)

    There’s a park just up the street from us where we had our engagement photos taken that has a number of covered shelters/picnic areas. Now, I just need to check to see what time the sun is due to set in October to see what time will work best.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration 🙂

  5. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 12:00 pm

    @flying_hearts: The only thing is that you’re still dealing with outside ish weather of course 🙂 but at least you have a shelter and you can coordinate around that! It’s wayyy cheaper to rent a shelter.

  6. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 12:39 pm

    We wanted a really low-key rehearsal dinner to since our wedding is fairly formal. There are not in really great parks around us (at least not close enough to drive, there are some great ones but it would take our guests about 45 minutes to get there). We considered having a backyard BBQ at my fiances house but I was worried about having to get enough chairs/tables etc for everyone (our guest list for the rehearsal dinner is close around 50). I started thinking and our favorite BBQ place is only open until 4pm. I contacted them and sure enough they rent out the space for private events. Of course its a little more expensive than if we had just picked up the BBQ and done our own location but we don’t have to worry about set up/clean up, finding tables and chairs or someones house being a disaster with such a busy day the next day!

  7. mspony Bee
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 3:30 pm

    What a sweet and smart idea!

  8. Member
    MacDav 26 posts, Newbee @ 7:56 pm

    Agree with you.

  9. mstoadstool Bee
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:17 pm

    Aww that is a great detail. I’d spent the entire evening telling everyone “oh, we got engaged here”.

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