I am hosting a 'rehearsal dinner' for 35-40 people the night before my son's wedding (in three weeks -- yes, I've been putting this off). He is marrying an Indian woman and she and her family--who will be coming to the U.S. from India for the first time ever--are vegetarian (although not vegan), while our own relatives will be wanting non-veggie options.
Trying to keep it personal and keep the costs down, my plan has been to bring in food to my home and have a buffet. My daughter-in-law-to be has nixed the idea of catered Indian ("they can have that any time at home -- why would they want it here?"). I then thought of Lemonade, but honestly I like their braises better than their salads, so my latest thought is to get a medley of pastas, salads and antipasti from an Italian place. I'm hoping Chowhounders have other suggestions. There was a post not long ago where someone who asked for something similar ended up choosing Komodo, which looks like a great menu except that I don't see much for vegetarians. I'd like my vegetarian options to not include soy things that try to emulate meat.
So that's been my main worry -- what food to have. But now it's just hit me that the cost of renting heaters for my back yard (can't seat everyone inside) is really going to knock my costs up. So I'm suddenly wondering if I should move this event to a private room somewhere -- in which case, my second question is, do you have a recommendation for an INEXPENSIVE restaurant with a private room? We're in Santa Monica and would like to stay on the Westside.
Thank you for your thoughts.