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7 Red Flags When Looking for a Rehearsal Dinner Bergen County NJ

Congrats! You’ve planned the wedding day! But, months later, you are still looking for a restaurant to host your rehearsal dinner. With the big day fast approaching, you are starting to feel worried about the possibility of settling for a subpar restaurant. Thankfully, you don’t have to. Read on to learn what red flags to look for when searching for a rehearsal dinner Bergen County NJ.

Red Flag #1: “We’re Free for Most of the Summer”

Normally, you reserve a room or a table for your rehearsal dinner months out. This is because that oh so popular restaurant you’ve been trying to get a reservation for ages is usually booked up…for months.

You can tell by how far back your reservation is or how consistently busy the restaurant consistently gets that the food and service must be good. You don’t need to see Yelp to know this restaurant is at least a 4 to 4.5, if not 5-star rating.

On the contrary, if you’re curious about possibly reserving a date for your rehearsal dinner and get the following response (or the equivalent to), “We’re free for most of the season,” you might want to think twice.

Not being busy every once in awhile is realistic, however, not being busy consistently could be a sign the rehearsal dinner Bergen County NJ restaurant may be an average at best.

What you can do is double-check the Yelp, Google, and other review sites ratings to give you a better perspective on the food and service. At the same time, ask around to see if anyone has personally gone to the restaurant. Worst case, you and your significant other can always have a date night there to see if the lack of business really does add up.

Red Flag #2: Not Calling Back

You fell in love with a restaurant; you are convinced this is the one to have your rehearsal dinner at. Yet when you leave a message asking about booking a reservation, two weeks go by, and you still haven’t received a call.

Perhaps the message machine didn’t record your message? Perhaps the host or hostess was busy seating customers? Maybe the message was accidentally erased?

So you leave another message, only to still not receive a callback. At this point, you are considering whether you should personally drive down and talk to the manager about booking the rehearsal dinner, but should you?

This could or couldn’t be a red flag; yes, it could just be a coincidence or it could be a red flag about the level of service. Overall, the decision is up to you.

Red Flag #3: “We don’t have a special events manager”

As the name suggests, the special events managers is in charge of the event. What many may not know is that events planner and events managers aren’t the same job description.

While the events managers are responsible for the actual event, the events planner plans it. To be clear, specifically, the events manager is in charge of reservations, coordinates with vendors, sets up parking and transportation, creates an emergency and security, not to mention monitoring the event.[1]

In some cases, an individual could hold the special events manager and special events planner job duties.

No matter the specific job title, restaurants that host rehearsal dinners and other important events normally have a specific individual in charge of such.

If you decide on a restaurant, start to book your reservation, and hear a response such as “We don’t have a special events manager,” you may want to continue your search.

While this may not be a problem in some cases, you do run the risk of having done the special events job duties. That or employees (like hosts or servers) who don’t have the special event experience will take on these responsibilities.

For any other occasion, this may be doable, however, when it comes to your rehearsal dinner, you want someone experienced in planning and hosting these events.

Red Flag #4: “We don’t accept decorations”

Perhaps you are having a themed wedding and want to drop off some decorations for your rehearsal dinner?

Or maybe you happened to spot some centerpieces that you couldn’t pass up and want to use those instead of the restaurant’s standard wedding rehearsal décor?

When you get to the restaurant, decorations in hand, you are told that you cannot hang them up.

While decorations may not make or break the wedding rehearsal, at the end of the day, this is you and your significant other’s ultimate celebration.

If not even a compromise is accepted, you may have to weight in whether decorations or this wedding rehearsal dinner venue is more important.

For some, not accepting wedding rehearsal decorations could be seen as a red flag; for others, this could simply be a hurdle.

Red Flag #5: “You Need to Supply Insert-Special-Events-Furniture”

Your rehearsal dinner Bergen County NJ restaurant should be responsible for the setup. This includes supplying chairs, tables, and centerpieces, to name a few.

Yes, you may need to bring in theme-specific decorations (as we alluded to previously), but having to bring your own chairs and tables is simply unacceptable.

If you are faced with such a response, consider calling up the next restaurant on your list. At the end of the day, on your special day, the last thing you want to think about putting chairs and tables away.

Red Flag #6: Negative Reviews

You are on the fence with a restaurant; you look at the reviews and, lo and behold, there is not one but several negative reviews written up for the eatery.

What should you do? If it is one negative review out of several positive reviews, you may be able to let it slide—depending, of course, on what the negative review is about (i.e. crowded—not a big deal, insect in the food—big deal…).

However, if it is the other way around, it may be best that you consider another venue for your wedding rehearsal. The reason being, your wedding rehearsal dinner is too important of a day to risk it on mediocre (or even bad) service and food.

If you really do want to try out the restaurant despite the negative reviews plan an evening out with friends. In other words, no on rehearsal dinner, maybe on an evening out.

Red Flag #7: “I’m sorry; that number of people is above our seating capacity”

You are about ready to put the restaurant information on the calendar when you hear the response “that is above our seating capacity.”

What now? You can’t uninvite your guests—better yet, you don’t want to. You have several options, however, most likely, you may have to schedule your rehearsal dinner at another rehearsal dinner Bergen County NJ restaurant.

The reason being, this may be out of the restaurant’s control; a lot of times, local and state regulations and standards dictate how many people are legally allowed in the restaurant—or enclosed public space, for that matter.

Normally, this has to do with it being a fire hazard, where if the number was over, it potentially could be dangerous.

That being said, if you do have a large party, we recommend that you play it safe and plan your rehearsal dinner reservation even earlier than if you had a smaller party.

Rehearsal dinner Bergen County NJ: Final Thoughts

Keep these red flags in mind when you are searching for your rehearsal dinner venue. At the same time know that one, some, or all may not apply to you; that being said, do what is comfortable for you.

What other red flags can you think of? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Be sure to leave a comment in the comments section below!

Rehearsal Dinner Bergen County NJ: Summary

  • Be wary when a rehearsal dinner Bergen County NJ restaurant has availability all month or season
  • While it is normal for restaurants to have slow and peak times, consistent availability may be an indicator that the venue could be mediocre
  • If it’s a pattern, not calling back could signal coincidence—or it could be a sign of unprofessionalism
  • Not having a special events manager or handing over job responsibilities to inexperienced employees such as hosts and servers is a red flag
  • If a restaurant refuses to add decorations or allow you to personally hang them up to go along with your wedding theme, you may want to look elsewhere
  • Having to supply your own tables and chairs for your rehearsal dinner is not something you want to do
  • If a restaurant makes this a requirement, it is best to move on to the next on your list; at the end of the day, you don’t want to be thinking about chairs and tables on the day of your dress rehearsal
  • An overwhelming number of negative reviews on review sites isn’t worth the risk
  • If you have a large party, plan ahead since some, due to seating capacity restrictions, some restaurants may not be able to accommodate you

To learn about our special events, please feel free to contact The Brick House!


[1] The Balance: What is Event Management?

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