Our son got married in San Juan Capistrano, and we wanted the rehearsal dinner to be conveniently nearby in the town. There didn't seem to be a lot to choose from which would nicely accommodate 40-60 people (our family rehearsal dinners are always pretty big), but we sampled a couple on a visit and were satisfied with the Cedar Creek Inn. However, since we live about 3000 miles away from there, I would have to finalize all the arrangements long distance. Over a period of several months I made a number of telephone calls and sent emails back and forth, and felt reasonably sure that we had the room reserved for the right date, but a lot of the other aspects always felt a little bit "fluid", and nobody seemed interested in taking my credit card info, which would have made me feel more secure. A couple of weeks before the wedding I sent an email to the Events Manager outlining all the arrangements (numbers, menu, time, table settings, etc.) which I wished to have confirmed. Ten days later I had to telephone to ask why my email had gone unanswered. Everybody was always friendly and assured me that we had a reservation on file, but I had some difficulty connecting with the actual Events Manager, and was still waiting to receive a copy of the wine list to make our selections. Still, it all seemed to be coming together bit by bit.
I arrived in San Juan Capistrano three days before the wedding day, went immediately to the restaurant, and finally met the Events lady herself -- she did not inspire confidence, not being the kind of outgoing, take-charge person most likely to have that kind of job. She still seemed a little fuzzy about the menu (though she did steer me towards a better dessert choice), and it was only then that I discovered there might be other diners in the room (which was bigger than I had remembered). But I was satisfied that things would be okay, and after all, you want the wedding dinner to be the really big deal.
On the evening of the dinner, the Events Manager was not in attendance. However, she had assembled a wait staff assigned entirely to our dinner (I think it was about six people) with a team manager who was completely on top of things. All the wait staff were friendly and helpful, the room looked great, and our guests from both families were buzzing with excitement. The Food was excellent, proportions extremely generous (that dessert was actually TOO big!), good wine, and we were able to enjoy our dinner without any great notice of other diners in the booths along the wall. We were especially pleased with the scampi entree -- so often such dishes are big on presentation and slim on actual scampi, but this one had plenty of large and tasty scampi, with excellent potato and vegetable sides.
The restaurant has very warm and comfortable decor, and is directly across the street from the historic Mission site. Our dinner was in the large indoor space, but there is also a nice bar and a bid outdoor patio area (where we had previously enjoyed a good lunch). The restaurant has to rent table linens for party events, and does not have its own arrangement with a florist, but these items were all in place and looked wonderful. (I found my own florist and she was GREAT! "Floral Occasions" in San Juan Capistrano.) So, despite the preparation process going a little less than smoothly, the experience in general was very good, and I'd certainly recommend the Cedar Creek Inn to the visitor to this wonderful little mission town.
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