Wintry and Autumnal Ideas for a Seasonal Rehearsal Dinner in Bergen County NJ
Planning a wedding is a lot. A lot of guests, a lot of details, and a lot of money. The rehearsal dinner, on the other hand, is a smaller event and can help the bride and groom really showcase themselves in a fun manner. With fewer guests than the ceremony itself, the rehearsal dinner can be a place for fun thematic details to shine. Without having to think too hard, making the current season as your rehearsal dinner’s theme is easy, elegant and trendy. A rehearsal dinner in Bergen County, NJ has the advantage of being able to truly celebrate the season. With a strong experience of each of the four seasons, let the couple’s love and the wedding’s season be the focus of the theme. Simple, classy and joyful.
The basics of a rehearsal dinner
As the name implies, the rehearsal dinner occurs right after the rehearsal of the ceremony. Most often it occurs the day before the ceremony, like on the Friday just before. At this point, most guests are in town. Rehearsing the ceremony helps to iron out any kinks, and most importantly, it eases nerves for all those in the ceremony. Most ceremonies are 30 minutes or less, and the rehearsal is even shorter as you skip your vows and speeches.
It is a wise move to have an early night the day before your ceremony. In terms of scheduling, it is easiest to plan backwards. Let’s say you want the night to end at 10pm. This makes for a leisurely dinner at 7pm, a cocktail hour at 6pm, and rehearsal at 4. Give yourself ample time for rehearsal. Those in the wedding party need time to orient themselves with the new location, say hello to all those they may not have seen in years, and also the wedding coordinator needs time to explain the basics of the ceremony.
To make for an easeful night, choose a location to host your rehearsal dinner that is close to or at least easy to get to from where your ceremony is. Providing transportation for everyone to ride together is a great idea and helps everyone bond and catch up on the way to the rehearsal dinner. Bergen county NJ has so many beautiful locations in which you can host your dinner. Choose a place that seems fitting for your theme – the season! For an autumnal or wintry theme, a cozy yet decadent location is what you want. A fireplace, perhaps a window so you can see the autumnal trees or snow laden ground, a bar well stocked with superb red wines or whiskeys are all potential components that may contribute to the location that feels “right.”
Usually, the bride’s parents host the wedding. The rehearsal dinner, therefore, is an excellent place for the groom’s parents, a family member, or even the soon to be newlyweds to contribute. Make sure to establish who is hosting well ahead, as this will play into what type of budget you are working with. Regardless of who hosts, the theme, dishes, decorations and games are still largely up to the bride and groom.
At the bare minimum, the rehearsal dinner is for those in the wedding party. Specifically, the bride and her bridesmaids, the groom and his groomsmen, ring bearer, flower girl (and their parents), and of course the bride and groom’s immediate family. In an ideal world, your out of town guests would also be invited to the rehearsal dinner. This gets tricky, however, if you’re having a destination wedding or if most of your guests are coming from out of town! Feel free to focus on just the bridal party if this is the case. Most of this depends on your budget.
For the rehearsal dinner, you can do a traditional paper invitation, or choose an e-vite system through e-mail or your wedding website.
Choosing the right theme is a creative process that lets the guests get a clear understanding of the couple’s style. The theme can be as subtle or as dramatic as you’d like. A seasonal theme is a wonderful way to go for so many reasons! It is easy and elegant. It highlights the location of the wedding by celebrating the season and the nature around. In terms of the feast, focusing on seasonal cuisine allows for a truly indulgent experience. A seasonal menu is tastier and more nutritious for the guests. For the chefs, it is often more exciting to work with ingredients that may only appear at the market for a short time.
A fall-themed rehearsal dinner embraces elements of harvest and bounty, colors of golds and ambers and yellows and oranges, and motifs like leaves and winter gourds.
For the rehearsal dinner in Bergen county NJ, the meal can highlight the areas apple harvest. From the salad, to cheese pairings, to decadent pies and desserts, apples are a wonderful autumn ingredient. Other common fall ingredients include squashes like butternut squash, cranberries, herbs like sage and thyme, and meats like turkey. Reminiscent of Thanksgiving is a good thing. This is easily one of America’s favorite holidays, and most people love an excuse for more than one dinner of carved turkey and all the fixings.
The dessert station can be an array of pies with seasonal berries and pumpkin fillings. Cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are a few of the spices that start making their debut of the year. These spices are both warming and tasty and remind consumers of the fall season.
Fall is the time of year we start seeing wreathe decor pop up, along with string lights and knit wardrobe pieces.
In terms of floral arrangements, both fall and winter start moving away from fresh flowers. You see a heavy use of evergreens, branches, dried berries and dried leaves and flowers. Embracing what’s in season will give your arrangements the natural colors and textures found in nature during that specific time of year.
Other centerpieces for fall (and even winter) can focus on candles. Candles bring warmth to the table and a touch of light during the darker seasons of the year.
Winter is perhaps one of the most magical seasons we get to experience. From the enchantment of snow covered hills and trees, to Christmas, to cozying together indoors with fireplaces, winter is a beautiful season for gathering our loved ones together. There is an air of festivity in the air with all the winter holidays.
To really highlight winter as a theme for your rehearsal dinner in Bergen county NJ, it is nice to play up the snow, the fireplaces, the rich cuisine and the warming drinks. Motifs of snow and evergreens, colors like white, wintery greens and reds and metallics, and elements of fire and faux fur are all ways to incorporate the winter season.
Beyond the details, food is the main feature guests look forward to and later recall. Winter foods are rich and warming and often highlight root vegetables like potatoes, hearty grains, meats and dishes with creams and butter. Red wines, whiskeys, coffee, tea and hot chocolate are all common beverage choices in the winter season.
The Brick House, a frequented location for a rehearsal dinner in Bergen county NJ, has an excellent menu to highlight the winter season! See some of their specialties below:
Stuffed Mushrooms – Savory Crabmeat with a Touch of Bechamel
Escargot “Vol Au Vent” – A Delicacy Gently Sautéed in Red Wine, Garlic Butter and Herbs, Served in a Puff Pastry Shell
English Beef Barley Soup – A Classic Old World Broth Soup of Vegetables, Tender Beef, Pearl Barley and Herbs
French Onion Soup – This Classic Favorite Soup is Finished with Gruyere Cheese Au Gratin
Braised Short Ribs of Beef – Served with Pearl Onions in a Mushroom Red Wine Reduction
Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak – Served with Chimichurri Sauce, a Melange of Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano, Chopped Cilantro, Onion & Cayenne
As you can see, their cuisine highlights warming herbs and spices, rich meats and sauces, and a refined level of creativity. Beyond their dishes, they have an extensive red wine menu and, a very unique touch, a cigar bar.
Don’t forget to plan a wintry dessert to follow the main meal. A hot chocolate bar with unique toppings is a fun and creative way to hone in on the winter theme. Some couple’s choose to do a more traditional wedding cake for the rehearsal dinner rather than the wedding itself, as cupcakes and cookies are gaining popularity for wedding night dessert bars. Chocolate fondue fountain anyone?
Remember, the rehearsal dinner is essentially the pre-party to your wedding. Don’t overdo yourself here. A focus on good seasonal food and drink, and the right location can often be all you need for the perfect night before your big day. The rehearsal dinner is often the first night of official gathering, and many people simply want to talk with old friends and get to know new faces.
Seasonal themes are the perfect way to celebrate the location and time of year you chose to host your wedding in. Gathering your friends and family in your desired location in your favorite month is a very intentional and special process. Have fun planning, and most importantly, have fun at the rehearsal dinner!