Start off your wedding weekend in style!  Your rehearsal dinner is often your “first impression” and the night to celebrate and spend time with those closest to you and your fiance. Three of my recent wedding couples chose excellent but very different venues to host their rehearsal dinners. Brooklyn Winery, Frankies and River Café.

Get really good food but make sure the experience is different than what will be enjoyed at the wedding. For example, the couple whose rehearsal dinner was at Brooklyn Winery hosted a stand up cocktail-style rehearsal dinner because the next day they had a family style sit-down meal catered by The Cleaver Company at The Foundry. The two events complimented each other but were not repetitive or competitive in any way.

The couple whose rehearsal dinner was at Frankies chose this restaurant because they love the food. It was a sit-down dinner, and their wedding reception the following day was an evening of appetizers provided by Sterling Catering, the in-house caterer at Studio Square.

The third couple whose rehearsal dinner was at River Café treated their family and friends to a formal dining experience.  Their wedding reception at The Green Building, while it was a sit-down dinner, leaned more towards comfort food, with passed desserts of miniature apple pies, espresso milkshake shooters and bite sized molton chocolate cakes prepared by caterer KG Fare. Both evenings were truly lovely but no one felt like they were at the same wedding reception two nights consecutively.

So while they were all very different, they all remained true to themselves, didn’t interfere with the actual wedding and left those closest to them feeling well-fed and catered to.

River Café is magical; the interior is very old school. It’s been around for a long while and is a true classic. The private room is enclosed by windows and offers stunning views of the city. Even on a rainy night, the streets of Dumbo surrounding this highly rated restaurant are some of the most charming to stroll in all of Brooklyn. Guests were raving about the food and service after this rehearsal dinner.

Brooklyn Winery is still new, so if you have friends who have “been there done that,” introduce them to this Williamsburg gem. It’s got a great look and vibe and clearly wine is their business. In addition, they have outdoor options, cool wood tables, barrels and nooks. I strongly recommend you consider this newcomer.

Frankies is all food, in the best possible way. With locations in Manhattan and Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, this restaurant considers itself no fuss, but provides a simple environment for a comfortable evening of warmth, conversation, celebration and delicious Italian fare.

As you can probably tell, one of the big treats and treasures of my job is how my clients shape each experience.  I love how they all value different things, but share common values for quality food, service and space.

Here’s to finding a delicious venue that speaks to you and enjoying good meals along the way until you get there.

Happy planning!