16 Questions to Ask Your Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Read these guidelines before you start scouting.
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated May 31, 2024

It's smart to start nailing down the details of your rehearsal dinner at least six months in advance. That includes deciding who's hosting your rehearsal dinner, starting the guest list and looking for a venue, which is where these questions to ask a rehearsal dinner venue come in handy. Typically, wedding rehearsal dinners are hosted at restaurants, country clubs or hotels (venues that usually have in-house catering), but there are lots of other event spaces to choose from. When you're ready to start your rehearsal dinner venue search, visit The Knot Vendor Marketplace to filter, compare and read reviews of different venues in your wedding location. Once you've got a few potential places in mind, schedule a site visit and consider these rehearsal dinner venue questions to make sure it's the perfect spot for your group.

Printable Rehearsal Dinner Venue Questions

We'll be the first ones to tell you that using a checklist for your rehearsal dinner is the best way to keep track of all your planning to-dos. Save this printable list of questions to ask a rehearsal dinner venue for your next site tour or consultation phone call.

Printable Questions to Ask a Rehearsal Dinner Venue
Design by Falak Khoja

1. Is the venue available the night before our wedding?

This is arguably the most important question to ask your rehearsal dinner venue. While you can be a bit flexible with choosing a wedding date, your rehearsal dinner date is fixed—the event takes place either the night before (or sometimes two nights before) your big day, kicking off your wedding weekend. You only want to consider rehearsal dinner venues that are available on those specific dates, so checking their calendar should be your very first question.

2. How long can we rent the space for?

Your rehearsal dinner won't last as long as the actual wedding, but you don't want to feel rushed either. Ask potential venues about any time restrictions or limits they may have for renting out the space—and on the contrary, if there's a minimum amount of time you'll be charged for. During busier times, some venues (for example, restaurants) may require you to rent the space for a minimum number of hours in order to recoup the profits they'd make otherwise if they weren't hosting a private event.

3. How many guests can the space comfortably accommodate?

We highly recommend creating your rehearsal dinner guest list before starting your venue search. Of course, all rehearsal dinner guests should also be invited to the actual wedding, but beyond that, you can approach the guest list in a few different ways. Some couples opt to only invite immediate family members, close friends and wedding attendants (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.). Others extend rehearsal dinner invitations to all out-of-town guests (since they've traveled to your event, it's nice to give them a meal). And still others invite everyone on the guest list to the rehearsal dinner. The choice is yours, but it's important to find a venue that can handle your chosen guest count. After you've invited guests to your rehearsal, you can track their RSVPs and other details using The Knot Guest List Tool.

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4. Will we have the venue or room privately to ourselves?

If you know you're going to have a large, lively group, renting out a private space in a venue or restaurant is a good way to go, since you won't have to keep a check on volume or disturb other patrons. And if you know there'll be a slideshow displaying embarrassing childhood photos or toasts with adult humor, it's best for your group's eyes and ears only. Just make sure the contract states when the rental time frame ends so you don't get charged extra.

5. Who will be the onsite point of contact for the event?

Some rehearsal dinner venues have large in-house event planning teams, which means that you might work with more than one person throughout the process. When you're finalizing the details, find out exactly who (if anyone) from the venue will be present during the rehearsal dinner or who's available to help in the event of last-minute hiccups.

6. Are there rules or restrictions we should know about?

Some venues may have certain rules, including dress codes and noise restrictions, that may affect your event. Make sure you're clear on any venue rules, especially ones that will need to be communicated to your guests in advance (which you can do via your wedding website or rehearsal dinner invitations).

7. What are your prices to rent the space?

According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a rehearsal dinner was $2,750 in 2023, but pricing depends on your guest count, location and venue. As with wedding planning, it's important to set a budget before starting to research rehearsal dinner venues. Be upfront with any venues you're considering about how much you can spend and be realistic about deciding if their pricing is within budget.

8. Do you offer all-inclusive packages?

One way to potentially maximize your budget is to make sure the cost of the rehearsal dinner is full-service or all-inclusive, no matter if it's a buffet, seated dinner or served family style. This means all tables, chairs, linens, utensils, waitstaff and labor should be included in the price (without one-off fees or hidden charges). Most venues have meal packages as well that include appetizers, entrées, desserts and beverages that can be tailored to your budget and taste. You'll also want to ask about their alcohol pricing and whether that's included in the baseline price or as a separate beverage package.

9. Are there additional fees or charges we should know about?

While an all-inclusive package should include all charges, you'll want to double-check on any additional fees, including corkage fees, gratuities and service charges. These can add up quickly, so it's important to know exactly what you're being charged for upfront.

10. What are your policies for cancellations and refunds?

No one ever plans to cancel or postpone a rehearsal dinner, but things happen. This is one of the most important questions to ask a venue for a rehearsal dinner if you like being prepared for anything and everything possible. Ask about your venue's cancellation policy and the latest date you can cancel to receive a refund. There's likely a nonrefundable deposit to book the space, but other fees may be partially refundable within a certain timeframe.

11. Can we bring our own decorations?

If you're hosting a rehearsal dinner at a restaurant or other venue with lots of character, you might not need to provide any decor. However, if the venue is more of a blank slate space, you may want to bring in additional decor and rentals, like centerpieces and signage. There's no need to make this celebration a fully decorated event, but a few small touches and simple rehearsal dinner decorations can really bring everything together.

12. Do you have audio and visual equipment we can use?

There will likely be a few rehearsal dinner speeches and toasts, so in that case, you want to ensure that there's no echo in the room or that a microphone can be hooked up if necessary. Some venues can provide audio and visual equipment, but if not, you'll need to find an outside wedding rental vendor (like a pro DJ) who supplies microphones, speakers or screens.

13. Are any rental items provided or will we need to hire an outside vendor?

Similar to AV equipment, some rehearsal dinner venues might be able to offer in-house event rentals, like tables, chairs, linens and flatware. Depending on the venue, you might need to provide these items yourself or source extra items from a professional wedding rentals vendor.

14. What types of meal service do you offer?

As with your wedding reception, you'll need to decide on a meal service style. Typically, the choices are buffet, seated dinner, family style or cocktail style, and there are advantages to each. You'll want to work with your venue and caterer—or the in-house kitchen staff—to decide how you'd like your rehearsal dinner meal to be served. Don't forget to ask if cocktail hour and dessert will be included.

15. What are your bar and refreshment options?

You might cover this question to ask your rehearsal dinner venue when you're discussing menu options. But either way, it's important to know which types of wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic refreshments your venue is able to serve, and whether or not you need to hire your own bartender(s) separately.

16. Can you accommodate dietary restrictions or menu customizations?

Whether you're hiring a caterer or hosting the party at a restaurant, a big part of any rehearsal dinner is the food—so make sure you like the options. If you're hosting your rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, you can dine there to try different menu items. Or ask your venue coordinator if a tasting would be possible. You'll want to make sure that there are options for all of your guests, especially those who have allergies and dietary restrictions.

Samantha Iacia contributed to the reporting of this article.

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