1. Sound Selection
Music lovers? Then strike a high note with a soulful rehearsal dinner setting. Jazz buffs should look to Detroit’s Seldom Blues, a 60-seat private dining room with views of the Detroit River. The menu: continental cuisine with a French flair.
2. Gallery Space
Modern couples with an appreciation for the camera (and their own caterer) may want to consider The Photography Room. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, this studio space decorated with stunning works by well-known and emerging artists can accommodate seated dinners for 20-60 guests.
3. Beer Garden
Make room for the groom: The Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor has a Beer Cellar that seats 25 and a Tap Room that seats 40, each with its own European-style pub decor. The menu: Southwest-inspired comfort food paired with signature microbrews.
Green note: They offer free-range chicken, Fair Trade coffee, and locally baked breads and cheesecakes.
4. Sunset Cruise
Take to the seas aboard the Straits of Mackinac II. Wedding planner Carole Erbel of For the Love of Mackinac! suggests a summer sunset cruise, where you and up to 150 guests can feast on a full dinner or heavy hors d’oeuvres while sailing around Mackinac Island.
5. Café Comfort
Having a formal wedding? Set the rehearsal dinner apart with a relaxed gathering at a cozy café. Brooke Messing of Simply Weddings & Events loves Café Solace in downtown Grand Rapids for its fresh décor -- it has colorful artwork, vases and jars dangling from the ceiling, and an eclectic mix of comfy seating. Don’t end the meal without the café’s signature chocolate chip cookies.
6. Country Time
Treat your guests to a slice of countrified charm (complete with a round of croquet) at The English Inn outside Eaton Rapids. Shirley Parsons of To Have and To Hold Wedding Planning Services suggests hosting a rehearsal dinner indoors before a roaring fireplace or al fresco on the terrace overlooking English gardens. The menu: international delicacies like Châteaubriand and roast duck.
7. Foodie Find
If to you, the rehearsal dinner is really about the dinner, check out The Earle restaurant in Ann Arbor. In a private room, 50 guests can feast on award-winning country cooking, inspired by the provinces of France and Italy. After the meal, oenophiles can linger at The Earle’s wine bar, which offers an extensive selection of wines by the glass.
8. History Buff
Those with a penchant for the past should consider The Dearborn Inn. Originally founded by Henry Ford, the hotel has hosted presidents (Ronald Reagan), movie stars (Bette Davis), and distinguished queens and kings. If it’s fit for royalty, it’s fit for your own regal guard.
-- Christa Vagnozzi
Photo: Courtesy of Southern Hospitality Restaurant Group
See More: Rehearsal Dinner , Rehearsals + Brunches