Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Host the Rehearsal Dinner at Home

   The Biggest Challenge

How do I make dinner for an expected thirty people when I'm not here?  I'll be at the rehearsal with most of our family.

The first of our nine children to get married was Tyler.  Him and his bride, Alayna, were married last summer.  The bride's family is wonderful, we have become very good friends.  Not only would a restaurant be expensive, it would not have allowed time for fun and visiting.

When it was suggested we host it at our house, I was all for it.

The Answer

Good Planning & Great Friends

I have a great friend, Dawn.  And by great I mean GREAT, AMAZING, LIFE SAVING!  She immediately volunteered and volunteered her daughter too.  Thank you Nichole.  My future daughter-in-law Sarah also came to the rescue.

The Menu

Needs to be food that can be prepared ahead or cooked before leaving for the rehearsal and can be hot when we get back.

Dinner, Drinks & Dessert
Meat Lasagna
Veggie Lasagna
Rotisserie Chicken
Garlic Bread
Green Salad
Broccoli Salad
Pink Goop
Black Forest Cake
Planning was key. 
What can be done before the day of the rehearsal and what would have to be done by my wonderful friends.
2 Days Early
        Salad Dressing
        Pink Goop
Day Before
        Green Salad
        Broccoli Salad

Day of
Lemon Aide
Iced Tea
Sweet Tea
Rotisserie Chicken
Details, details, details.  This may be long but I hope it helps.  I'm trying to post the recipes for all of the items I made separately so look for those by their title on my blog.  If they aren't there yet keep checking back, I'm working on it.
2 Days Before
Desert.  The bride (and everyone else) loves the idea of mason jars.  So I decided to make a kindof black forest cake in a jar.  Saw it on Pinterest of course.  I made a large chocolate cake.  I cooked it on a cookie sheet (with edges).  It didn't matter what it looked like because I just cut it in squares.  My dear friend Dawn came and helped along with my girls.  I made the cake earlier in the day.  Then we cut it into squares and layered cake, cherry pie filling, and whipped cream.  I made my daughter a gluten free version using her cake, strawberries and homemade whipped cream.  I covered them with baggies and placed in the fridge.
So I thought mason jars were cute, but kindof a hassle.  SO WORTH IT!  It was so easy so serve.  Just grabbed them out of the fridge the work was already done.  Loved, loved, loved it and so did everyone else.
The Day Before

Broccoli Salad, Pink Goop, Green Salads, Watermelon
I also made a family recipe called Pink Goop.   That's the pink stuff in the bowl there.  I don't know where my Mom got the recipe but I can't give it to you.  It has become a family favorite, you only get it at family events or holidays.  It is more for fun than anything that we keep it a secret.
I gave the new bride the recipe with a hand painted pink bowl as a bridal gift.

I Love Broccoli Salad.  It is a nice salad that can be made gluten free.  You can make it a day or two ahead of time and cover and put in the fridge.  The green salads I just bought bags of fresh salad at the grocery store.  I make a couple of my own salad dressings.  I made Garlic French and Italian (both gluten free) and bought Ranch.

These types of salads you could pick up at the deli if you want to make it easier.
Day Of!
Whew Stressed to the Max.  I can handle making food.  But trying to clean the whole house, be ready for the rehearsal, make dinner, and still care for the 6 kids I'm raising and keep them fed all day.  Cutting it close.
Through the course of the day and with the help of Dawn.  We made a lemon aide, ice tea, and sweet tea.  We borrowed a clear server and put the pretty lemons under it.

After I left the house Dawn and the girls put the frozen lasagna in the oven and went to the local grocery store and bought the chickens.  When we were almost home they put the breads in the oven and set everything out on the tables.
Food was enjoyed by all!
Games and Fun
We definitely wanted to make this fun and memorable so we planned a couple of games with the bride and groom.  We played the HoneyMooners Game.   I made a list of questions like: Where did you meet?  What's "your" song?  Where are you going on your honeymoon?  What are you going to do on your honeymoon?  Who wears the pants in the relationship?  What did the other person want to be when they grew up? 
We scored them based on their answers.  And claimed one the winner.  We also played a trust game with them.  It was a lot of fun.


Other Notes
Everything turned out great.  I also made a gluten free lasagna and roasted a chicken for my two kids that need it.  It was a good decision and I would  do it again.  I don't think it really costs that much.  I bought the lasagna at about $10 each and I bought maybe 5.  I bought 4 chickens at about $6 each.   The bread and lasagna can be bought and kept frozen.   Definitely saved a lot of $ and had plenty of time to spend with each other.

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