Wedding rehearsal dinner trends: Family-style dining and small plates

By McKenna Corson 

With so much attention on the big day, it’s easy to overlook the event created to allow the couple to take a breath, enjoy a meal and spend time with friends and family, traditionally the night before the wedding. Rehearsal dinners serve as the start of the wedding weekend and mark the time for festivities to begin.

Pros from Pinstripes in Orange, Lago East Bank in Cleveland and 56 Kitchen catering in Solon and Mayfield Heights offer tips on the latest trends in rehearsal dinners, from venues to food to decor. 

Lago East Bank

Family-style dining is definitely trending because it gets guests to intermingle and talk to each other. It’s a nice option to be able to offer different items for people, with not everyone having to have the same thing. It also gets people conversing … you’re having a dinner where not everyone knows each other, but they’re sharing a dish, no matter what. They kind of have to get to know each other.

Aubrey Austin, sales manager, Lago East Bank
Dining areas at Lago East Bank. | Lago East Bank
Catering at Lago East Bank in Cleveland. | Lago East Bank


There is definitely a trend around small plates. Everyone really loves miniature items, so if there was something special that the couple had on the first date or someone has an ethnic background, (caterers) can work with that to really showcase their personalities. Oftentimes with a large number of guests, a couple isn’t able to interact with everyone, but this style of dining really does provide that warm, exciting atmosphere.”

Kyla Gala, business development manager, Pinstripes
Bruschetta from Pinstripes in Orange. | Pinstripes
A dining area at Pinstripes. | Pinstripes
The outdoor fireplace area at Pinstripes. | Pinstripes

56 Kitchen

Find (a caterer or venue) that will be able to give you what you want, and think about the types of foods you’d like to see before you call. Have your list of what I call ‘the must-haves and no-nos’ beforehand, like, ‘I’ve got to have brisket,’ … or ‘I’m allergic to mushrooms’ or ‘We have celiac.’  Give (the caterer or venue) all the parameters.

Izzy Schachner, co-owner, 56 Kitchen
56 Kitchen’s Mediterranean salad | 56 Kitchen
Short rib from 56 Kitchen in Solon | 56 Kitchen

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