How to Choose a Rehearsal Dinner Venue

A table set for dinner at a restaurant overlooking a waterfront with boats.

The wedding rehearsal dinner is an exciting event filled with anticipation of your big day. This is a special and memorable time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and get ready to walk down the aisle. Choosing a venue for this event is a fun process, too, as there are so many options and it’s a night you can get creative with to make it your own. Below is a guide on how to choose your perfect venue and plan the rehearsal dinner of your dreams!

Step One: Work out the Logistics

There are a few housekeeping items that need to be determined before you can choose your rehearsal dinner venue. The first is who is hosting the event. Traditionally, the parents of the groom host and pay for this event, but that certainly isn’t always the case. For whoever is hosting it, discuss a general budget for the event and what is important to all parties involved.

Step Two: Settle on a Vision

A table set for a dinner with potted flowers.

Next, work with whoever is hosting the event to figure out what the vision is for it. Does anyone have a theme in mind? A particular setting? A specific type of food? Figure out the general parameters of what you’re looking to do with this dinner. While it can be something formal and a more traditional plated dinner, it could also be an event that is far more casual, like a bowling night or a Mexican fiesta with a taco bar. This event can be creative and there’s tons of flexibility in it, so be sure to make it your own!

Step Three: Decipher the Guest List

Most rehearsal dinners include the bride and groom, parents and siblings of the bride and groom, grandparents, the wedding party, and their plus-ones. However, that’s not set in stone. Figure out who you want to invite. It can be as small and intimate or as inclusive as you want. This really depends on personal preference and budget, but it’s important to figure out before embarking on the hunt for the perfect venue.

Step Four: Make a Short List of Venues

Now that you have all the important information about the event nailed down, it’s time to start researching venues in the area of your wedding. Start a short list of places you like and reach out to them for date availability, pricing, packages, and more information on the space. Start a running list of information and cross off places that don’t make the cut after you learn more. Discuss each place with applicable parties once you have all the relevant information. During the research process, read reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp on the venues. If you’re having trouble finding spots you might like, ask your wedding venue for suggestions in the area. You’ll want to choose a spot that is not too far from where all of your guests are staying for your wedding, so be sure to keep this in mind throughout the search process.

Step Five: Tour Venues

A table at a restaurant with a pink peony in the middle.

If your location and schedule allows for it, tour the venues you’re most interested in. This allows you to really get a feel for the space and understand how it would work for your rehearsal dinner. It’s also nice to meet the staff in-person and get to know who you’d be working with for your event.

Step Six: Final Decision

After this, you should be able to make a final decision of where to host your rehearsal dinner. Go through all the pros and cons of the venues you toured and make your choice, officially book the venue, and continue the planning process from there!

Your rehearsal dinner venue is somewhere you’ll never forget as a part of your marriage story. Choose it with care and make this event everything you dream of by following this guide in the selection process.

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