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Rehearsal Dinner Space for 40-70 People

We are recently engaged and we are just now starting to go through all the wedding planning. I am taking care of picking out the rehearsal dinner venue and I am looking for suggestions. Both of us are pretty big foodies but we just don’t know if it even makes sense to try to have a foodie-oriented dinner with so many people and with many non-foodies invited.

Ideally we would prefer a private room or to rent out the entire restaurant. Also, since we are very new to this whole thing, we would appreciate advice. We have no clue on how much anything costs and how to work menus, drinks, and such. Moreover, if people have any suggestions for wedding venues in NYC for around 230 people, please pass them along.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hello - congrats on your engagement. Try searching on here, cause there are a few threads on wedding venues and rehearsal dinners.

    Our rehearsal dinner will be at Alta. They require you to take the whole downstairs area, which seats around 60+. We are very excited about this, as it was my fiance's choice for wedding venue.

    My research on venues won't help you much cause we're only having 120 guests. Manhattan Penthouse is a nice big wedding loft that we liked; reasonable prices and great food. However, I have no idea what you're looking for and what your budget is.

    1. check Jane, they have a great room downstairs

      1 Reply
      1. re: djsun

        I just spoke to them last week, I believe they only fit 40. The price pp was great, though.

      2. Congratulations on the engagement! I don't have any suggestions for rehearsal dinners (we're still looking!) - but in terms of some spaces - we're going with the Puck Building. Looked at Manhattan Penthouse but they said it maxes out at around 175 or so (there are tons of fantastic spaces when you're <175, but it gets tough at 200+ is what we discovered). The Tobacco Warehouse is also an interesting space. There's also Chelsea Piers or any of the Abigail Kirsch locations. Not quite sure what your budget is though or whether you're looking for an all inclusive -- Good luck with the search!

        1. Hi and Congrats! I am getting married in May and our rehearsal dinner will be at Capsuoto Freres in Tribeca. I am really excited -- they have a great menu, a great wine list, and are really nice. We are only having 20 people but I know they can do parties of more.

          1. In response to a different inquiry, I just recommended the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, which could accommodate your group:

            http://www.bbg.org/vis2/weddings.html

            When I got married 8 years ago with a list of over 200 invitees, I decided to take it out of the city because I really didn't like the feel of the places that could accommodate our group. We ended up taking over Wheatleigh ( www.wheatleigh.com ), in the Berkshires, for the weekend, which allowed us to have our rehearsal dinner, wedding and next-day brunch all at the same location. It was very expensive, but very worth it.

            1. Congratulations! I got engaged last December, and after some extensive and painful research all over the city, we've settled on doing a small party at a restaurant that guarantees good food, wine and service.

              Most venues in Manhattan, especially those listed under "wedding venues" will charge you upwards of $2,000 just to rent the space, then an average of $170 pp for food and drinks, not including tax and gratuity. If money's not an object, you'll find plenty of places in this city. If it is, I would highly recommend looking into restaurants in Brooklyn, at least for your rehearsal dinner. You'll find lots of threads in the outer boroughs board under "private party" or "rehearsal dinner."

              My top choices? Tempo or Frankie's 457. Both would satisfy a foodie. We're going with Tempo because the atmosphere, price ($85 pp, no space rental fee), and service fits our needs. You should really check it out, or at least give them a call!

              www.tempobrooklyn.com
              www.frankiesspuntino.com

              Tempo feels more like an elegant Manhattan restaurant while Frankie's has a rustic, local feel. As for service, I'd say Tempo tops.

              Tempo has a separate private space they rent out in the evenings, and you have the option of renting out the entire restaurant if you do a lunch. Frankie's has a private "stable" space that fits up to 80.

              As for the food, Tempo has a varied mediterranean menu, with a lean towards Italian. I love their farro salad, duck pastilla roll, and bucatini with pistachio pesto. At Frankie's, the crostinis and gnocci are scrumptious, and they use mostly organic ingredients.

              If you're not on a budget, lucky you! There are endless restaurants in Manhattan that have private spaces. For the food-focused, I think the highlights are: Eleven Madison Park, Daniel, Cafe Gray, Le Bernardin, Nobu, Per Se, The Modern. You can search others in the New York Mazine website under "private dining/party space" for hundreds more.

              One more thing, if I could offer some non-food advice without sounding obnoxious, I would say try to stay focused on the forthcoming marriage and don't get sucked into the whole wedding machine! Questioning set wedding traditions, trends and fluff sold as requirements will save you a lot of stress and money. With some creative brainstorming, you can make it yours without making it Martha. Wishing you all the best for a happy future with your loved one!

              1. BTW, Blue Hill at Stone Barns hosts weddings and private brunches and dinners as well.

                1. We had our rehersal dinner at Agave (140 7th Ave S) - we were in the range of people you'll be having - we rented out the whole restaurant and everyone had a blast. Good food and good drinks. Unfortunately, I can't remember the price per head. And congrats!

                  1. Thanks for all the advice, so far all the responses have been very helpful and informative. If you think of anything else, please let me know. If people have more suggestions for venues outside of manhattan that do not require that we stay the night, please let me know. Thanks again.

                    1. hatori - my fiance and i are going through the same steps now. we are having our party at the yale club on 45th and vanderbilt. the food is supposed to be very good. it's about $170 a person. only catch is that you need to know someone from yale. for the rehearsal dinner, we're having a bit more trouble but we may go with something like the jazz room at the blue water grille or the front room at otto or maybe a nice bar. good luck!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jon

                        This was a great post.
                        We are going through a similar situation but for our ceremony and reception for 110-130 people. We would also consider a venue/restaurant in either Westchester, Brooklyn or Hudson Valley. It's quite challenging to find a place that does not scream catering hall but yet affordable- as in 150-170 inclusive of tax, gratuity, rentals, venue and drinks.
                        We are looking IDEALLY for a space that has at least 2-3 smaller areas- possibly some outdoor space. Basically, just not one large ballroom.
                        We are looking at either renting a venue that hopefully does not require rentals of tables, chairs and linens if not a restaurant. A low site/venue fee would be great- under 4,000. The restaurants we have looked at EMP, Public and Kittichai are all 25,000-50,000 options- mind you, that is just for food and site!
                        It's really crazy because some places do not include tax and gratuity as part of the price per person.
                        If anyone who has done catering and site rental, what are the realistic costs involved?

                        Thanks!