I’m so glad that you’ve joined us again for wedding rehearsal dinner week!  Planning a rehearsal dinner in the DC area can be overwhelming, but throughout this week we’ll give you the tools to pull off a spectacular affair.  Just don’t make it more amazing than your wedding, OK?!

Choosing a venue for your wedding’s rehearsal dinner might be the toughest task.  There is such a large amount of possible choices, everything from fine dining, to your condo’s roof deck, to boats.

My rehearsal dinner was at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s, MD for all of our family (We didn’t have a wedding party!) followed by a cocktail and dessert reception for all of our wedding guests.  Since all of our guests were from out of town, it was great to see everyone the night before, say our “hellos,” and take the pressure off of our wedding day.  My blog partner, Nole, had a casual BBQ in DC’s Rock Creek Park!  See, I told you the options are endless!


Photo Credit:  Jason Keefer Photography

I took a poll of some of the top weddings planners in the DC area and got their feedback.  What are their favorite wedding rehearsal dinner spots in DC, Maryland and Virginia?  After all, they do this for a living.  (Yes, your wedding planner can help you plan a rehearsal dinner too!)  Here are some of their favorite spots for hosting a wedding rehearsal dinner in the DC area:

On Lincoln in DC:   “It is such a unique space with a floor completely made of pennies (799,997 of them to be exact)!  The executive chef is from Miami and creates very interesting dishes, and is willing to work with you to create whatever menu you have in mind….A private back room features an up-lit wall and mason jar chandelier covering the entire ceiling,” said Lauryn Prattes from Table Six Productions.

On Carroll’s Creek Cafe in Annapolis:  “During the summer, Friday evening traffic near Annapolis can be a beast, so I recommend that my couples hold their rehearsal on Thursday evening or the previous Sunday afternoon.  If most of their guests are local, a Sunday morning rehearsal with a Sunday brunch works well.  One of our restaurant recommendations is Carroll’s Creek Cafe.  Most of the walls in this cafe are glass, so the wedding party can relax with mimosas and a guaranteed view of the water,” said Kawania Wooten, owner of Howerton+Wooten Events.

On the Hay Adams Hotel in DC:  “The rooftop view is amazing at night, and this is a perfect option for a large wedding that cannot fit here for the wedding, but still wants to give their guests the quintessential DC experience,” said Jennifer Stiebel, owner of SoCo Events.

On the National Press Club in DC:  “This DC fixture is a great place to host a rehearsal dinner — particularly when there are a lot of out-of-town guests attending.  The Press Club is steeped in history and walking down the hallways looking at the photos of those who have spoken there over the years creates interesting conversation.  It is also special for toast-making. Friends and family can stand at the National Press Club podium, if they wish, which makes for incredible photo ops,” said Teresa Lee, owner of Rex & Regina Events.


Photo Credit:  Jason Keefer Photography

On Lightfoot Restaurant in Leesburg:  “Lightfoot Restaurant situated on charming King Street in the historic district of Leesburg is my favorite place to send clients to that are in need of a unique and tasty rehearsal dinner space.  This turn of the century old bank was transformed into a gorgeous restaurant with the help of two sisters.  They have outfitted the place with carefully chosen artwork as to not hide the architecture and fun accents like the bank vault, which remains in the building to this day!  Rehearsal dinners can be set in their private dining room which looks down over the bar.  This is truly a gem in Loudoun County and perfect for a couple looking to add local flavor, amazing food and do something out of the norm!” said Lauren and Megan, owners of Events in the City.

On Hill Country in DC:  “If the wedding is a formal celebration then I think a great way to kick the weekend off is by hosting something more casual and relaxed.  It allows the guests to really kick off their shoes and enjoy getting to know one another before the big day.  One of my new favorite places is Hill Country Bbque in the Chinatown area.  They have a great downstairs space that can hold about 100 guests.  Fun and yummy food.  Their sides and desserts are amazing, and you can bring in a great band with the advice and help of their staff.  I can’t think of a better way to say ‘howdy,'” said Jodi Moraru, owner of EVOKE.

On the Darlington House in DC:  “I love the Darlington House (in DC) because their private space is so charming.  It feels like you’re hosting a dinner party in your home!” says Jamie Sears, owner of Simply Chic Events.

On Vintage 50 in Leesburg:  “Vintage 50 in Leesburg is great, especially for those that have their ceremony outside of a religious site in Loudoun County.  Oftentimes there are extra fees or the venue isn’t available for rehearsals if you are having your ceremony and reception at the same site, so at Vintage 50 there is actually a large lobby space right outside of the restaurant’s office building entrance that works great for staging a bit of a ceremony rehearsal,” said Courtney Swierczek, owner of A Sweet Soiree.


Photo Credit:  Jason Keefer Photography

Here are a few more top vote getters for favorite rehearsal spots in the DC area:

And, just one last little bit of advice, because I think it is helpful.  “I always encourage couples to consider choosing a restaurant that’s special to them.  Often restaurants will accommodate couples, even if they don’t typically do rehearsal dinners, if you are a regular and can make a compelling argument for why the restaurant would be particularly meaningful for your rehearsal dinner,” said Sara Bauleke, owner of Bella Notte.

Special thanks and huge hugs to all our wedding planner friends who helped out with this post:  Cherry Blossom Events, Rex & Regina Events, Bella Notte, EVOKE, A Sweet Soiree, Simply Chic Events, Events in the City, Howerton+Wooten Events, SoCo Events, Event Accomplished, and Table Six Productions.

Are you as excited as I am to see the rest of the real rehearsal dinner pictured in this post and earlier today?? Well, hang onto your hula hoops, because it is coming tomorrow.  In the meantime, where is/was your rehearsal dinner?  What venues did we miss?  Leave us a comment and let us know!

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