Let's talk facts. The week of the wedding is going to be insanely busy—there's no way around it. The original plan was to hold the rehearsal dinner out at the venue. They have a number of pavilions available for rental around and near a lake and walking path.
This would have worked perfectly for us because it's a simple picnic-style setting. The menu for the rehearsal dinner is going to be pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, chips, cookies, and sweet tea—so it fits.
The problem is the logistics of getting everyone there. Everyone is staying in Greenville (30-40 minutes away). The drive isn't awful, but there a few things to consider:
1. Greenville 5:00 traffic is horrible. The highways slow down, the stoplights back up, and it's just generally a mess. You don't want to get caught rushing to get somewhere at 5:00.
2. There's a 5K in Traveler's Rest (mid-way between Greenville and the wedding venue) that evening that draws 3000+ people. Traveler's Rest is a tiny town and they close down roads to handle the 5K. Mr. Lemur & I ran it last year and it took us 45 minutes to make the 15 minute drive.
3. Everyone's going to be crunched for time all day long. Do we really want people rushing to get there, rushing to get back, hurrying around the whole time? What we're actually going for with the rehearsal dinner is a laid-back time for family and close friends to mingle and talk.
In my mind, I think I scrapped the rehearsal dinner at the venue plan a long time ago. But it wasn't until last night at 11:00 when I couldn't sleep that I came up with an alternative.
Image via SC Great Outdoors
Cleveland Park is three miles away from graduation and two miles away from the hotel where I reserved rooms for guests. It's a big park with eight shelters, several miles of inter-looping trails, a zoo, several playgrounds, tennis courts, and the Reedy River down the middle of it. It's also home to Rock Quarry Garden, which I happen to be very partial to, since we got engaged there.
Image via Rachel Hughes Photography / A wedding in Rocky Quarry Garden—I'm kinda jealous!
I think all around it just makes more sense. It's a lower-key evening and (hopefully) everyone will love the park as much as we do!
Anyone else do a really casual rehearsal dinner? How did you decide on a venue? Any other sentimental brides out there who want to pull in the proposal location to the wedding?