Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Groom's Side Part X, Finally, The Rehearsal Dinner "I've got this...I think"!!

The deck...once totally submerged in the bay!!
It is just a week till the big event and everything is coming into play. Reading back over the last several Groom's Side postings gave me relief that falling into one of life's sinkholes early in the process, didn't alter my perspective. In fact, since then, we have covered everything from workouts, white teeth, Hawaiian shirts, alligator wrestling, bachelor parties, Spanx, funerals and showers! This blog has been a fun ride and now we are taking it home to the one responsibility that every wedding source researched, every website, expert, family member and friend, agreed was the groom's parent's responsibility...the rehearsal dinner.

Not that it has happened yet, but we are ready! And it wasn't the slam dunk I thought it would be. Let me explain. First, the wedding is being held on the beach in the summer seasonal resort known as Ocean City, NJ (I clarify this for the readers who have been following from England, Ireland, and Dubai - Hi!), okay, anyway, the bay side restaurant that both the bride and groom and been to and loved was heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy last October. The turbulent bay crashed over the bulk head, collapsing the deck and wiping out the entire ground level. It was rumored that they wouldn't be re-opening until at least July, obviously too late for June gathering. And why every message I left on their unanswered phone was not returned. So the search began...and this is where I began to panic.

Calling several shore area restaurants I was given the same answer - they do not offer a dinner or catering package for a large bridal party (there are 36 of us) in June because they would be sold out on every Friday night through July, so basically, why bother. However, if the wedding was being held in August, they would have been more than happy to accommodate us. Come on! Are you kidding me? I have to admit, I had never thought of this scenario. I even called a food writer/critic that I know from a large Philadelphia newspaper for suggestions. He gave a few, I called and emailed, no response. Working my way down the southern NJ coast, no phone number was left untried. Sleepless nights and a turning stomach led to me to believe that pizza and beer delivered to the beach after the rehearsal, might be well received by a young wedding party?

And then, after several weeks had past, sitting in work at my desk, my cell phone rang with a number I didn't recognize. I usually don't answer at work, but so glad I did. "Hi, this is Ed, the head chef of Baia's restaurant, I heard you were trying to get in touch with us. How can we help you?" I swear I heard music from the heavens! Could they help? Would they help? Of course! Their goal was to re-open by Memorial Day and would be more than happy to hold our event! He immediately faxed over a menu and two weeks later the bride, the groom, his father and I were on our way down for a tasting. It was amazing!
Baia's beautifully restored...just in time!

As the four of us sat around sampling our menu choices, I told them about my desperation of almost having to order pizza delivered to the beach after the rehearsal. Trevor and Kat, looked at each other, then back to me. "There is no rehearsal, it's a beach wedding."


No! The rehearsal dinner has to follow a rehearsal. Right? The New York Times may have told me to "show up, shut up and wear beige", but it also told me to arrange a dinner to be held after the rehearsal! "But, we'll still need a place for the wedding party to gather before the wedding, so this works" my son added trying to get the shocked look off of my face. Has my family invented the groom's side "night before the wedding gathering dinner"? No. A few weeks later, the bride and her event planner decided a short rehearsal run through on the beach would be best. So the Phelps/Emhof Rehearsal Dinner is back on and tradition survives. Whew! Stay will be posted!

Next up: The Wedding!

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