As an aside, I really love doing my planning primarily online. I didn't even look at venues for our wedding that didn't have a banquet menu (and prices!) available on their website. Choosing a rehearsal dinner venue for a much smaller party and trying to score a deal was a lot more work! We called and ate at restaurants all over Malibu and the San Fernando Valley before we finally found The One--in fact, I'm sure we did more research for the rehearsal dinner venue than we did for the wedding venue! But once we ate there, we knew it was it!
We ended up settling on a Persian restaurant in the Valley recommended by Papa Spaniel. The kebobs were delicious, the prices were reasonable and include a full, premium open bar (which we are not able to provide at our wedding, unfortunately), family style meal service (yay! because we're going to be family! ;), a private room, and awesome, colorful decor.
Conveniently enough, our wedding (and therefore our rehearsal dinner) fall pretty darn close to the Persian New Year. Methinks we have a party theme!
Middle row: source
Bottom row: source, source, source
Was your rehearsal dinner's atmosphere very different from your wedding's?