Eat, Drink, and Be Married

The best spots for your pre- and post-wedding fetes, from the engagement party to the rehearsal dinner to the morning-after brunch.

The Rehearsal Dinner

Like a series opener, a rehearsal dinner is the amuse-bouche of a wedding, a taste of what’s to come. It’s also an opportunity to make travel-weary guests feel comfortable. The dining room should be quiet and private, and the fare should include both a meat dish for Uncle Bob and a vegetarian option for cousin Jade.



In Harvard Square, RIALTO fits the bill with Italian fare—lobster bucatini with tomatoes and saffron, gnocchi with rabbit Bolognese—and the 75-seat Parker Room. Bona fide celebrity chef Jody Adams’s cooking chops routinely impress diners, and the eatery’s Charles Hotel location means no inconvenient taxiing around town.



The South End’s MISTRAL has long been a favorite of Boston’s elite, and not just because of its signature grilled pizza with beef tenderloin, mashed potato, and truffle oil. Thanks to seamless service, the place runs as smoothly as a luxury yacht, and its 60-seat private dining room, the Salon, is one of the loveliest such venues in the city.


L’Espalier; Photograph by Bob O’Connor

A few blocks away is the hot spot for haute French cuisine, L’ESPALIER. The restaurant offers multiple private spaces for parties, including the Library, a cozy room complete with a fireplace, and an ambitious menu filled with plates like chili-glazed soft-shell crab and Colorado lamb loin with eggplant purée.

Rialto, from $90 per person, One Bennett St., Cambridge, 617-661-5050,; Mistral, price upon request, 223 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-867-9300,; L’Espalier, from $180 per person, 774 Boylston St., Boston, 617-262-3023,