7 Unique Rehearsal Dinner Locations in the Berkshires
As many of you know by now, I am a destination wedding planner and designer based in the beautiful Berkshires. But what some of you may not know is that I am also the founder of the Berkshire Wedding Collective. And in these two roles--whether it's a question from a TCE couple or an inquiry from a couple contacting the BWC--I cannot tell you how many times I'm asked to suggest a unique rehearsal dinner location.
Now, one thing the Berkshires is known for is our amazing food scene, so we're certainly not lacking in high-quality restaurants. But because the trend-of-late (with destination weddings, anyway) has been to incorporate a welcome reception into the rehearsal dinner portion of the weekend, most of our village-sized eateries just can't accommodate these larger crowds.
Many of our wedding venues...the ones who require you to take over the property for the weekend (i.e. Stonover Farm, Gedney Farm, Berkshire Lake House, Lake House Inn, Blantyre, etc.), will be able to satisfy this need for a space large enough to host your entire guest list (obviously, since all of your guests will be at this same property on your wedding day), but most of our couples prefer to host their Friday evening event someplace "offsite" and reserve the "wow" moment for their wedding day.
So for those of you looking for someplace "different," I've compiled a list of rehearsal dinner "venues" that are sure to please! (Oh, and here's a little rehearsal dinner hint: If you're looking to entertain all of your out-of-town guests with a welcome reception, but don't really feel like paying for essentially TWO weddings, host your intimate seated dinner first, then open the rest of the evening up as a cocktail/dessert reception for guests to come-and-go as they please.)
And without further adieu...
Located in the open central space of the historic train station of the tiny village of West Stockbridge, this is where great food, drink, art, performance and community converge. The gallery showcases local and international artists and also serves as an event space featuring live theater, music, dance, poetry slams, lectures, film series, book launches, classes & tastings, pop up shops and can also be rented for private parties.
Turn Park Art Space’s 16-acre campus (in West Stockbridge, tucked around the corner from No. Six Depot) is available for memorable private parties, weddings and celebratory events of all kinds. It features walking trails, an amphitheater and breathtaking views of the Berkshire Hills with room for tents, music and performances. The Gatehouse provides an intimate indoor venue with options for local catering.
Cantina 229, located in the village of New Marlboro, offers its space and food service for weddings, rehearsal dinners and other special events. These gatherings can take place anywhere on the grounds and/or in the Cantina, utilizing their beautiful 5-acre property in a number of creative ways.
Just down the road from the Old Inn on the Green (New Marlboro) is their sister property, The Southfield Store, a hidden gem that operates year-round as a coffee shop/café by day, and a casual late-week dinner option from mid-May until November 1st. Folks love their made-daily baked goods and gelato, takeaway lunch options, and weekly Oaxacan dinner menu. And what’s more...the store is available 12 months a year for private parties and for catering. (Side note: I recently hosted a private dinner party here for 16 guests and the food and service were out. of. this. world!)
Established in 2007, Berkshire Mountain Distillers (BMD) has created a line of award-winning artisanal spirits including Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gins, Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey. Located in the tiny village (yes, another tiny village!) of Sheffield, the folks at the BMD are now opening up their tasting room, greenhouse and distillery for private, catered events.
An authentic BoHo chic vintage lodge and barn, Race Brook Lodge offers dynamic spaces and a rustic atmosphere to gather with friends and families, creating a festive and unique celebration for parties of up to 150 people. Host your event brook-side by the majestic maple trees, in the spacious post and beam barn, or on the cozy screened-in porch for smaller parties. Seasonal farm to table style cuisine is catered by their very own Stagecoach Tavern.
Brooklyn restaurant pioneer Mark Firth brings the same rustic delicious food he served at his previous restaurants, Diner and Marlow & Sons, to the Berkshires. One review reads, "If you weren’t already jealous of Berkshires residents, you will be after a meal at Prairie Whale, Great Barrington’s house-turned-rustic-kitchen formerly known as Bell and Anchor. The cozy laid-back atmosphere, ultra-fresh food, straightforward but thoughtful flavors, and pitch-perfect execution are a model for any restaurant"...and they're also a fantastic indoor/outdoor space for private events.
Well, I think that's a pretty good start. If you're planning your wedding in the Berkshires and are looking for some fun ways to show your guests what a versatile area we are, I hope you'll give these places a try. And if none of these quite fit the bill, be sure to check out some of our more "mainstream" venues like the Red Lion Inn, Hotel on North and Hancock Shaker Village, whose kitchens are all operated by the Main Street Hospitality group (i.e. the phenomenal Chef Brian Alberg!).