Tampa offers an abundance of luxury hotels and a wealth of renowned restaurants capably equipped to host a soiree, staffed to provide impeccable service, and able to create tantalizing banquet menus that will tempt even the most discriminating groups. 

But couples seeking alternatives for rehearsal dinners have many other options that make equally memorable and beautiful venues for that special occasion. 

Maybe it’s time to look beyond the traditional celebratory locations and opt for a something a bit different but definitely suitable for hosting casual to fancy affairs.

Anyone with a heart for historical sites who swoons over a waterfront view or has a soft spot for a picture-perfect garden spot should consider booking more unique event sites such as the ones listed below.

Armature Works

Imagine having your rehearsal dinner at this stunning addition to the Tampa waterfront aboard a water taxi, which would definitely be more fun than limousine.

This expansive historic building boasts a great selection of event spaces, both indoors and outdoors, that can accommodate whatever size group will be hosted. M.Bird, a recently opened rooftop spot serving craft cocktails and fabulous food, is also available for private functions.

Early arrivals won’t have to wait to get into the spirit of the gathering because those guests can enjoy the great assortments of food and drink available for sale throughout Armature Works.

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Oxford Exchange

Few settings can compare with the flair and fine finishes found throughout this beautifully restored historic building located opposite the University of Tampa. From its grand staircase to its glass-ceiling conservatory, the European-inspired design of Oxford Exchange combines elegance with artistry.

Private celebrations like rehearsal dinners may be booked beginning at 6:30 p.m. seven days a week. It's worth noting that rental fees will be waived for the first three hours for any bookings occurring Monday through Thursday, so flexibility in planning can pay off.

With its high-ceiling atrium, conservatory featuring a large fountain and abundant greenery, and distinctive Italian marble floors, Oxford Exchange is the very definition of dignified design. 

The floor plan allows for a perfect flow for guests to enjoy mingling. Consider cocktails in the atrium, dinner in the restaurant or conservatory, and then finish the festivities with dancing in the atrium. It's closed to the public after hours, so you'll feel like you are enjoying it all in a private salon.

Tampa River Center

Enclosed but also exposed, the 2,880-square-foot Tampa River Center at Downtown Tampa’s Julian Lane Riverfront Park provides all of the climate-controlled comfort any elegant affair may require as well as a covered terrace that overlooks the riverfront separating this gracious space from downtown.

Large and light-filled, this gorgeous space can create a perfect setting and inspire customized place settings for a rehearsal dinner.  

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a location that truly has no equal on the west side of the riverfront make this an incomparable setting.

Ybor City Museum Garden

Most may associate Ybor City with celebratory parades and late night revelry, but within the heart of this historic community is a picturesque, peaceful, open-air garden that, weather permitting, is a perfect place for wedding parties and special guests to convene for rehearsal dinner festivities.

Boasting more than flower beds, this special spot offers scenery and greenery. The Ybor City Museum Garden features a centerpiece fountain, the same quaint streetlamp found throughout Ybor City, ornate wrought iron fence accents, and views of the surroundings including the signature red brick streets. 

And with lots more places to enjoy a nightcap, a late night coffee, or to just continue the partying so close by, everyone has a chance to carry on or call it quits as they see fit.

The Vault

Enjoy views of Downtown Tampa while seated within the tall walls featuring dramatically tall windows found within the distinguished and distinctive venue known as The Vault.

What once housed a bank has been beautifully restored and renovated into a stylish setting that's perfect for any posh affair including a rehearsal dinner.

Built nearly a century ago, The Vault has ceilings that soar 35 feet overhead and neutral hues that make colors from fresh flowers to bold table covers really pop. Plus, the open floor plan easily accommodates formal seated dinners with room to spare for post-dining dancing.

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If there's a wedding in your future, make sure to book one of these venues in Tampa for the rehearsal dinner for a perfect prelude to the big day.

Find more amazing event venues in Tampa by registering on 813area, your free guide to the Tampa Bay area.


Oxford Exchange photo provided courtesy of K&K Photography. Tampa River Center photo provided courtesy of LIMELIGHT Photography.