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.