As I mentioned on Friday, we booked our rehearsal dinner location! It feels great to have another thing checked off our list. When we started researching our options, we had a list of criteria we based it on. Namely:
*Close proximity to the downtown area…extra bonus points if the location is close proximity to the church.
*Affordable and laid-back. Listen…it’s no joke that our wedding is going to be costly AND pretty damn formal. We wanted the rehearsal dinner to be more casual, and we didn’t want to blow a whole wad of extra cash on it.
*Private party area. The rehearsal dinner guest list is pretty small in comparison to our actual wedding, but we still wanted a private space where we could entertain family and friends.
*Relating to us somehow. We want to make sure that the rehearsal dinner really feels like “us,” since we’ll be celebrating with only immediate family and friends that evening. We wanted a place that had a bit of history for us.
We physically looked at a lot of different places, and we probably researched at least a dozen more. Dr. Groomy created a big spreadsheet on Excel for us to work off of—it was actually really great to have his involvement with this, as I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. Because our rehearsal dinner isn’t being hosted for us in the traditional sense (we are acting as the hosts), it was really on our shoulders to narrow things down and pick the place.
A top choice for me was our favorite restaurant in our neighborhood, Palms Bistro & Bar.
We love this restaurant, and it’s where we went for dinner the night we got engaged! It’s not as close to the church as we would have liked, but it is in the general area we were looking. Alas, their catering menu was too expensive for what we were looking to spend. Onward!
Next we took a look at the Milwaukee Ale House.
We love this place. Great location—again, right in our neighborhood—and they have AWESOME beers made right there on site. They also sport good food and a private party room downstairs. We thought this would be the clear winner, but again, their catering menu was ridiculous—in some cases, the prices were nearly twice as expensive as their regular dinner menu. Um, no thanks!
It was at this point that we decided to move our search closer to the church. We really didn’t want everybody to have to worry about parking and there are plenty of restaurants right on the same block as the church, so everyone would only have to park once for the rehearsal and then could walk to the dinner. We started our search at Taylor’s, which is a martini bar right on Cathedral Square in Milwaukee.
Admittedly, this is not my favorite place to frequent. They have good drinks but to be honest? The clientele tends to be a bit pretentious. It’s just not as laid-back as we are; however, on researching their options, they seemed to have a pretty great set-up: no charge for party space and they’ll help you cater (as they don’t have a full kitchen). It seems like they really want to help you throw a fun party. I was all about it…until we walked in. We hadn’t been there in awhile (see aforementioned pretentious-ness) and we neglected to remember that their “party space” is actually just a small bar area off to the entrance. Albeit their great location, there was no way we’d be able to fit our party into that space. Boo. So, we sat and had a drink and pondered our next move…when Dr. Groomy suggested that we head around the corner and check out the bar next door.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Flannery’s Bar & Restaurant is caddy corner across the street from our church, so the location is perfect. Everyone can park for the rehearsal and not have to move their cars again (as parking in downtown Milwaukee when you don’t want to pay for a ramp can be a bit hectic). They have a huge party area we’ll be able to utilize, complete with three booths, a bunch of tables, and our own full-size bar (not to mention dart boards, too!) We will also have our own bartender and server. The food prices are great and the alcohol prices are really good too—plus bar service is fully customizable, so we can tell them exactly what we’ll pay for—and what we won’t. (Read: I will not be forking over cash so our groomsmen can get Dr. Groomy drunk on whiskey shots, haha!). But what about that last little detail we wanted—a place that relates to us as a couple? Well, ironically enough, we actually ended up celebrating at Flannery’s the night we got engaged. After we went to dinner at Palms, we met my bridesmaid B and some friends out at this bar to celebrate. And then when B and her boyfriend Trav got engaged? We celebrated here again too! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier.
So rehearsal dinner is checked off the list. What a relief!
Have you booked your rehearsal dinner location yet? What factors mattered to you?