Planning a rehearsal dinner for your wedding can be just as stressful as planning the big day itself. There are almost as many factors taken into consideration when it comes to location, size, and budget. We wanted to share some tips for planning the kick-off event for your wedding, as well as some of our favorite venues to have one in.
If possible, have your rehearsal dinner either close to the venue where you will be doing the actual rehearsal, or close to where the majority of your guests will be coming from or staying. If your dinner is on a Thursday or Friday, also consider that people may still be coming from work and take traffic into consideration.
The guest list for a rehearsal dinner can almost be harder to determine than the wedding itself. At the very least you should be inviting your wedding party, parents, and anyone who has a job at the wedding, as well as their plus-ones if the size of the venue and your budget allow it. From there, it’s nice to invite out-of-town guests for the actual dinner or at least a more casual meet-and-greet following dinner where there may only be drinks and desserts available.
A bonus to think about: the more people you invite and chit chat with at the rehearsal dinner, the fewer people you will feel obligated to talk to on your wedding day if you don’t get time.
You can go as formal or casual as you want with your rehearsal dinner. If your wedding meal is a pretty formal affair, with a multi-course plated meal, then a buffet or heavy appetizer event for the night before may be more appealing and allow guests to mingle. If it doesn’t fit in your budget to feed everyone a full meal, consider only feeding the wedding party and then invite others later on for dessert and a cash bar. Speaking of the bar, if you are hosting most or all of your bar at the wedding, you don’t need to buy everyone’s drinks all night the day before. Consider doing 1-2 drinks for the wedding party and then cash bar after that, or cash all night if need be. This is also a great way to keep everyone from drinking too much when the next day is going to be a long one!
Now onto some of our favorite rehearsal dinner venues in the Twin Cities, broken out by location:
Salut is a French bistro that is a casual restaurant with a broad menu to please all of your guests. They offer amazing cocktails that you can pair with anything from a cheeseburger to oysters on the half shell to French Onion Soup!
WA Frost serves contemporary American cuisine in a historic Cathedral Hall. With a captivating history, elegant interior, delicious food, and amazing service; this restaurant is sure to impress your guests!
Urban Growler Brewing is a women-owned microbrewery that has two event spaces that are great for rehearsal dinners. Take your guests here for some great drinks, a fun atmosphere, and delicious food!
DeGidio’s is a family-owned and operated Italian-focused restaurant with some American options as well. They offer a large selection of cocktails, wines, and beers for your guests to drink while indulging in amazing food in the old Italian atmosphere!
The Annex at Scout Workshop gives off a warm vibe no matter what time of year. Summertime offers opening the skylight and garage door to get fresh air or the interior trees and tropical plants will add warmth to your winter rehearsal.
Pizza Lucé Downtown is known for its innovative pizzas, but its menu goes far beyond that by offering hoagies, salads, appetizers, and desserts. They also offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options so that everyone on your guest list can enjoy the delicious food and casual setting!
Harriet Place is the perfect gathering place for intimate groups of up to 50 people. The historic house has recently been renovated and offers a beautiful design with an abundance of natural light!
The Meeting Point is located in Rosemount and offers an inviting, flexible setting to host your rehearsal dinner. The space is highly customizable with the ability to give off modern or rustic vibes (and everything in between)!
The Bonus Room provides a versatile event space with neutral colors and can be found in downtown Lakeville. The best part is that you can bring in your own food and beverage from any vendor, caterer or provider you choose!
Pinstripes is an Edina restaurant offering Italian-American dishes with activities like bowling and bocce (an Italian game similar to lawn bowling). Their beautiful indoor and outdoor seating options will provide the perfect social atmosphere for your rehearsal dinner!
Pique Travel Event Space is a historic lumber warehouse located in Excelsior that has been renovated to bring out all of the casual yet sophisticated beauty. The open-concept venue provides the perfect space for intimate groups of 20 all the way up to groups of over 150 people!
Carmines offers live music every Friday and Saturday which is sure to entertain your guests as they enjoy a delicious Italian-American meal. The restaurant also offers a game room filled with arcade games to bring even more fun to your dining experience!
The Machine Shed is conveniently located near Oakdale and Lake Elmo and serves a wide range of American comfort food. The wide menu featuring food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (including cocktails and desserts) is sure to leave your guests feeling full and happy!
Lake Elmo Inn, as the name suggests, is located in Lake Elmo. They have a creative menu known for serving up delicious food and cocktails for every time of day!
Manitou Grill & Event Center is a family owned business located in White Bear Lake. Their menu features creative twists on classic American fare & cocktail inspiration which your guests are sure to indulge in!
The Brickhouse specializes in modern Midwestern food using locally sourced high-quality ingredients in White Bear Lake. The beautiful historic building was built in 1886 and offers rooftop and patio seating!
Mallards provides traditional southern hospitality while serving up award-winning seafood and cajun fare. The Forest Lake restaurant offers delicious eats for all ages all the way from brunch to dinner!
Tria has a menu consisting of fresh regional French Americana and a extensive wine list. Opening at 4pm, this North Oaks restaurant is the perfect destination for your evening rehearsal dinner!
Rock Elm is a Maple Grove restaurant that offers delicious American eats. In the warm months they offer patio seating that is pet friendly, making it the perfect for your Best Dog or Dog of Honor to be included in your rehearsal dinner! If you bring along your furry friends, be sure to ask about their Pup-Fare menu that benefits the No Dog Left Behind Rescue.
WhirlyBall is a non-traditional rehearsal dinner option located in Maple Grove. Your guests will be entertained all night with delicious food and drinks along with an abundance of activities including WhirlyBall, laser tag, bowling, an escape room, and more!
Bacio in Minnetonka has a menu with influences from Italy and the Mediterranean, to Asia and beyond. They have locally sourced food and original recipes made from scratch that your guests will surely love!
Luce Line Brewing Co. offers an expansive tap list with a few food options to eat while you sip on a drink and socialize. The Plymouth space offers indoor, outdoor, and hybrid seating options to meet your desires!
The Muddy Cow in Coon Rapids sources all fresh ingredients from farms within 300 miles of their business. The 2-for-1 drink special, American fare, and late hours (open until 2 am) will please anyone who is looking for a fun, laid-back rehearsal dinner!
The Tipsy Steer in Blaine serves local American dishes that your guests are sure to enjoy. Be sure to ask about their private dining where you can reserve a private patio with 25 beer tickets included!
Buca di Beppo specializes in Italian-American food in a vibrant, vintage setting and has four locations in the Twin Cities area. Serving family-style dishes that are big enough to serve 3-5 people each, your guests will surely be well fed!
CRAVE is an American kitchen and sushi bar with a high-end atmosphere. They have nine Minnesota locations near the Twin Cities with delicious brunch, lunch, and dinner options for all of your guests to savor!
We also want to note that if you are staying at or have a room block at a hotel, this is a great place to start your search. Hotels like to get as much of your business as they can, so some may waive room fees or comp a hotel room if you do dinner there and if you are also staying there. It’s worth asking and how easy would it be for you to just walk up to your room after dinner to get a good night’s sleep? If you need a few tips on booking a room block, check out our blog HERE.
There are many wonderful rehearsal dinner venues located in the Twin Cities, but these are our top choices after working with venues since 2013. We always want you to choose the option that is best for you, but we hope that these tips from professionals will help guide your decisions when planning your rehearsal dinner!