Sullivan also recommends having fun with the wine selection at your event. “Serve an effervescent orange wine rather than a classic sparkling wine or look out for close-out deals online for batches of red from that region you love,” she says. “If your venue or caterer allows it, put wine on the table as anything shared encourages more interaction between guests. Mixing and matching is fun and can be a great conversation starter—just like dinner at home.” The planner even encourages separating couples–apart from the newlyweds–around the table to encourage new friendships to form. After all, an intimate evening dedicated to love, connection, and pleasure is the exact ethos of this wedding trend.
Since your wedding is centered around a dinner, the food should be a star element. While some couples will choose to do a full-service coursed-out meal, it’s not uncommon to see dishes served family style along one long banquet table. “The menu should feel very personal and not generic just for the sake of formality,” advises Sullivan. “Consider including a family recipe or a dish from a notable dinner date on the menu.” If you want to host a restaurant wedding, make sure it’s an establishment where you are obsessed with the food. “Let them showcase what they do best and it will be a win-win,” explains Sams. “The culinary team typically enjoys not doing a standard night of service and your guests will experience the best they have to offer.”
To set the tone of the dinner, you also want to have the right playlist. “The music should match the intimacy of the venue,” says Connely. “You wouldn’t want to bring in a full orchestra or brass band to play at your dinner party wedding. A pianist, guitarist, or even a lo-fi playlist is much more appropriate for the setting.” If you plan to have dancing later in the evening, make sure you are prepared to transition to a different music vibe and have space available for guests to gather and get down.
If you’re hosting a wedding in a restaurant, the key is to enhance the existing space. “Working with an amazing floral designer to take the restaurant from feeling everyday to special is a must,” advises wedding planner Gregory Blake Sams. “You can go over the top with floral moments because you are not spending on all the other typical wedding line items.” However, he does say that you don’t have to rely solely on the restaurant’s existing dinnerware. “Designing the tablescape with curated custom china and silverware is another way to personalize your event when your venue is a restaurant. This will help to create a memorable experience that is one-of-a-kind for the bride and groom and will delight their guests.”