What to Wear for a Rehearsal Dinner at 5 of New York's Coolest Restaurants

Location + outfit ideas

Updated 06/18/18
Product Disclosure

Photo by Rachel Red Photography

New York brides have a serious advantage when it comes to planning a city wedding—there are endless venues with an incredible ambiance one after the next, all of which are perfect for hosting a one-of-a-kind rehearsal dinner. With so many places to choose from, narrowing in on a place is difficult, but not impossible. Rather than book a private room in a massive restaurant or an event space that you'll unavoidably need to fill with catering, décor, and music, why not go for something a bit cozier: an intimate restaurant.

Opting for a cozy restaurant for your rehearsal dinner takes a lot of pressure off you as a bride-to-be whether you opt for a private dining room or an entire buyout (that might sound crazy, but depending on how many guests you expect, certain NYC restaurants are so cozy that you’ll fill up the space fast!). Many restaurants have managers whose sole job it is to plan private events—ding, ding, ding. Yes, please! Having someone who can help plan a pre-fixe menu and cocktails to pair is a great way to simplify the evening. Plus, restaurants already have amazing décor (so many come with seriously chic design ) and all you need to be concerned about is what to wear to stand out accordingly.

When choosing a smaller restaurant for your rehearsal dinner, you, of course, want to consider the type of cuisine you want as well as what neighborhood you’d like to host in. Opting for a menu that differs from your reception meal is a great idea for mixing it up and choosing a neighborhood that is convenient to your wedding venue or the neighborhood you live in is a thoughtful choice. If you’re a couple that met and has dated in NYC, choosing a spot that you had a date at early on in your relationship is a great way to pay homage to your time together. D’awww. Perhaps you’ve become regulars at a few spots around town, so why not opt for one of those as a way to share with your guests a gem of a restaurant that is so special to you as a couple.

Another bonus to choosing a smaller restaurant for your rehearsal dinner is that it’s a really intimate way for you to spend time with your guests ahead of the big day. Let’s face it, on the day of your wedding you’ll have quite the busy schedule between getting ready, taking photos, the ceremony, and toasts at the reception, leaving just a few minutes to chat with each guest at a time.

If you think a smaller NYC restaurant is right for your rehearsal dinner, here, we’re spotlighting five super-chic venues to consider. From an edgy spot in Chinatown to a quintessential West Village eatery to an elegantly low-key spot in Brooklyn, you’re sure to get inspired. As a finishing touch, we’ve curated perfect outfits to wear at each one—your guests will not only be impressed with your culinary tastes but your savvy sense of style, too.

01 of 25

Brigitte

Courtesy of Brigitte

Brigitte is a bright and airy French restaurant with a touch of Brazilian flair, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. With a sleek yet feminine atmosphere, the 53-seat venue is intimate, so plan to reserve the entire space. Chef Thomas Besnard’s menu features precise yet delicate combinations of seasonal ingredients prepared in creative and unexpected ways including a tomato and gruyere tart, smoked paprika dusted octopus, and flourless socca chickpea crepes with eggplant salsa. This spot is perfect for a unique dining experience that’s at once elegant and relaxed.

Brigitte | 37 Canal St, New York, NY 10002 | (646) 649-3378

02 of 25

What to Wear: Brigitte

Courtesy of Keepsake The Label

A romantic lace midi dress with asymmetric detailing is perfectly feminine and modern. A velvet bag and heels with a pair of floral hoops are lovely accents.

Keepsake The Label Shine Ruffle Lace Tea Length Dress

SHOP NOW: Nordstrom, was $265 now $132.49

03 of 25

What to Wear: Brigitte

Courtesy of Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon Reveal Velvet Heels

SHOP NOW: Tamara Mellon, $375

04 of 25

What to Wear: Brigitte

Courtesy of Les Néréides

Les Néréides Blazing Nature Lavender's Branch Hoops

SHOP NOW: Les Néréides, $112

05 of 25

What to Wear: Brigitte

Courtesy of Staud

Staud Grace Velvet Tote

SHOP NOW: My Theresa, $250

06 of 25

Chinese Tuxedo

Courtesy of Chinese Tuxedo

For a beautifully edgy rehearsal dinner, Chinese Tuxedo is a buzzy downtown restaurant by Eddy Buckingham and Jeff Lam, set in a former two-story opera house on Chinatown’s historic Doyers Street. Traditional Chinese dishes are reimagined with stylish nuances by chef Paul Donnelly and complimented by a newly launched cocktail menu—the eggplant appetizer is not to be missed. Whether you buyout the entire venue or reserve a semi-private table lofted over the sunken main dining room, the high ceilings and candlelit ambiance will feel ultra-chic yet comfortable. If you want to keep the party going, make your way downstairs to the just-opened lounge, Peachy’s and invite the rest of your wedding guests for a post-rehearsal dinner drink.

Chinese Tuxedo | 5 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013 | (646) 895-9301

07 of 25

What to Wear: Chinese Tuxedo

Courtesy of Fleur Du Mal

What to wear

A black one-shoulder midi dress with pared-back heels, an embellished pouch, and glitzy earrings are glamorously moody.

Fleur Du Mal One Shoulder Bias Slip

SHOP NOW: Fleur Du Mal, $525

08 of 25

What to Wear: Chinese Tuxedo

Courtesy of Tony Bianco

Tony Bianco Sierra Heels

SHOP NOW: Nordstrom, $129.58

09 of 25

What to Wear: Chinese Tuxedo

Courtesy of Express

Express Rhinestone Fringe Drop Earrings

SHOP NOW: Express, $26.90

10 of 25

What to Wear: Chinese Tuxedo

Courtesy of Attico

Attico Georgette Bag

SHOP NOW: Farfetch, was $574, now $402

11 of 25

De Maria

Courtesy of De Maria

Situated in the vibrant Nolita neighborhood, De Maria is a stylish female-led restaurant which recently opened in 2017. With a vegetable-forward menu by executive chef Adriana Urbina, the modern eatery has an innovative spirit but with a relaxed elegance. Inspired by conceptual artist Walter De Maria and the Latin translation ‘of Maria, by Maria, the restaurant's sleek interiors were designed by The MP Shift to replicate an artist’s Soho studio in the ‘70s with the Bauhaus movement in mind. Reserve the 60-seat main dining room with an indoor-outdoor flow or choose the subterranean private room for a more intimate setting.

De Maria | 19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 | (212) 966-3058

12 of 25

What to Wear: De Maria

Courtesy of Tibi

What to wear

Nod to 70s Bauhaus with a color-block white and tan dress and sleek accessories for easy elegance.

Tibi Color Block Slip Dress

SHOP NOW: Nordstrom,, $695

13 of 25

What to Wear: De Maria

Courtesy of Zara

Zara Leather High Heel Sandals

SHOP NOW: Zara, $89.90

14 of 25

What to Wear: De Maria

Courtesy of Wknd LA

Wknd LA Cul-De-Sac Earrings

SHOP NOW: Wknd LA, $178

15 of 25

What to Wear: De Maria

Courtesy of Inge Christopher

Inge Christopher Palermo Clutch

SHOP NOW: Shopbop, was $115, now $69

16 of 25

Le Fanfare

Courtesy of Le Fanfare

For an authentic Italian meal in Brooklyn, Le Fanfare is a beautifully laid-back restaurant in Greenpoint with a traditional yet modern feel. The enticing and warm environment includes live jazz with two communal tables that stretch the length of the intimate restaurant (meaning you’ll need to reserve the entire place). The simple and rustic menu by Chef Simone Bonelli— which includes house made pastas and breads—is complimented by a variety of Italian wine and cocktails. After the meal, enjoy a few more rounds of drinks with your guests in the wooden booths and marble tables that flank the main dining area.

Le Fanfare | 1103 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222 | (347) 987-4244

17 of 25

What to Wear: Le Fanfare

Courtesy of Topshop

What to wear

A vintage-inspired tea dress with ladylike accessories is spot on for this cozy venue. Mismatched pearl earrings perfectly embody the restaurant’s timeless and modern aesthetic.

Topshop Satin Embellished Midi Dress

SHOP NOW: Topshop, $95

18 of 25

What to Wear: Le Fanfare

Courtesy of Schutz

Schutz Reanna Heel

SHOP NOW: Revolve, $170

19 of 25

What to Wear: Le Fanfare

Courtesy of Beck Jewels

Beck Jewels Arcilla Mismatched Hoops

SHOP NOW: Beck Jewels, $195

20 of 25

What to Wear: Le Fanfare

Courtesy of Santi

Santi Sequin Minaudiere

SHOP NOW: Shopbop, $195

21 of 25

Left Bank

Courtesy of Left Bank

Left Bank is a New York bistro infused with European élan by Chef Laurence Edelman—perfect for the couple drawn to uncomplicated elegance for their rehearsal dinner. Located in a beautiful landmarked building at the intersection of two historic West Village streets, the venue boasts ever-evolving food, wine, and cocktail menus that are at once delectable and unpretentious. Each dish is simple yet sophisticated—your guests will swoon over the handmade fresh pastas, perfectly roasted chicken, and legendary cheeseburger whether you book the private cellar room or reserve the entire main dining room.

Left Bank | 117 Perry St, New York, NY 10014 | (212) 727-1170 |

22 of 25

What to Wear: Left Bank

Courtesy of Sea

A tailored off-the-shoulder dress with puff sleeves for skosh of whimsy. Simple accessories with sculptural elements offset the voluminous silhouette.

Sea Josephine Floral Print Off the Shoulder Dress

SHOP NOW: Farfetch, was $495, now $297

23 of 25

What to Wear: Left Bank

Courtesy of Mango

Mango Decorative Strap Sandals

SHOP NOW: Mango, $79.99

24 of 25

What to Wear: Left Bank

Courtesy of Ariana Boussard-Reifel

Ariana Boussard-Reifel Estrada Single Earrings

SHOP NOW: Marteau, $325

25 of 25

What to Wear: Left Bank

Courtesy of Halston Heritage

Halston Heritage Elsa Bean Minaudiere Clutch

SHOP NOW: Bloomingdale's, $325

Related Stories