A rehearsal dinner and welcome reception sets the tone for what the rest of the wedding weekend will entail. It’s important to plan an evening that includes all of your out-of-town guests. Your guests do not expect you to throw another reception the night before the wedding, but it is a hospitable gesture to invite them to partake in festivities with you!
With destination weddings, it’s popular to host an intimate rehearsal dinner with only family and the wedding party, followed by an open invitation gathering, also called the “Welcome Reception.” This is an event that all guests attending the wedding are invited to attend. It typically starts after dinner hours, say 8:00pm. This communicates to guests that they should not expect a full blown dinner, but rather lighter fare such as hors d’oeuvres and desserts accompanied by cocktails. Throw in a little live music from a steel drum band or acoustic guitarist and you’ve created the perfect way to start off the weekend!
Hilton Head and Bluffton offer a wide variety of perfect locations for rehearsal dinners and welcome receptions. From casual to five star, we’ve listed some of our top favorites to help get you started with planning the perfect kick-off party to your weekend long wedding celebration.
Sage Room: Located on the south end of Hilton Head near Coligny Plaza, this fine dining establishment is just a short walk from the beach and is known for its open kitchen. Along with the open floor plan, Sage Room has a private wine room, which is perfect for intimate gatherings of __ people. $$$
Truffles Cafe: Truffles has three locations for you to choose from: Pope Avenue, Sea Pines and off-island in Belfair Towne Village. The Bluffton and Sea Pines locations are more upscale while the location on Pope Avenue is a bit more casual. Each location has private dining options available. $$-$$$. www.trufflescafe.com
The Smokehouse: Known for its BBQ and wings the Smokehouse is a great location for a casual dinner. With a large restaurant and a large bar area it can house a large party. The bar section is complete with a stage for live music and a shuffleboard table, while the outside has a brand new bar and fabulous fireplace. The outdoor deck can be rented for parties and accommodate up to 50 people. The Smokehouse also has catering available and is willing to travel to any location. $. www.smokehousehhi.com
Old Fort Pub: Inside of Hilton Head Plantation, Old Fort Pub is a fine dining restaurant with a fabulous view off the back deck. The delicious menu caters to all types of foodies, young and old. $$$. www.oldfortpub.com
Skull Creek Boathouse: Known for its amazing waterfront views, The Boathouse is perfect a casual indoor or outdoor event. The Boathouse is equipped with two bars, both indoor and outdoor and their menu features everything from Lowcountry cuisine and Southern favorites to a full, fresh sushi bar. They have also recently opened “Sunset Landing,” their own private event venue for up to 120 guests. $-$$. www.skullcreekboathouse.com
Chart House: Located next door to The Boathouse, The Chart House is more upscale than its neighbor to the right. Inside the restaurant is a beautiful formal dining area separate from a relaxed bar area. The dock out back provides breathtaking views of the Skull Creek. $$-$$$. www.chart-house.com
Cheers Charters: If you care to take a sunset cruise before dinner at The Chart House or Boathouse, Cheers Charters docks their gorgeous Schooner right out back. This fun 2 hour excursion is one of my favorite things to do pre-dinner and if you have enough people, they will close out the boat to other parties. The price is also very affordable considering you can bring your own wine and food aboard! $$. www.cheerscharters.com
Old Town Dispensary: Recently opened in Old Town Bluffton, the Dispensary is the perfect combination of southern rustic. It has a fabulous outdoor area with fire pits and an amphitheater for regular live music. It also has an indoor and outdoor bar. This casual location is brought to you by the same owners as the Sage Room. $-$$. www.otdbluffton.com
Vineyard 55: Directly across the street from the Old Town Dispensary in Old Town Bluffton is Vineyard 55. With the exterior of an old house this laid back restaurant bring the feel of a Napa Valley Vineyard to the south. With tables made from old wine barrels and large leather couches, Vineyard 55 is great for an indoor or outdoor event. $-$$. www.vineyard55.com
The Spirit of Harbor Town: The Spirit is the only heated and air-conditioned luxury dinner yacht offered on Hilton Head Island. With an open upper deck and a lower covered deck the yacht can comfortably accommodate 148 passengers. Hilton Head’s only on-board dinner cruise offers a full bar, full crew and waitstaff and beautiful views of the Lowcountry. This one of a kind dinner cruise offers transportation to the annual fireworks at Shelter Cove and beautiful, historic Savannah and hosts over 100 special events each year, including private wedding parties.
Luxury Wedding Design and Planning :: Serving Hilton Head, Savannah and Beaufort
Phone: (843) 757-7762