Post # 1
I am having the most difficult time trying to plan an informal, cost-effective rehearsal dinner for my wedding. The total attendance would only be about 20 people, pretty small and casual, and originally I was thinking that I would rent a small party room at a local restaurant and have them set up a buffet. But the restaurant is closed for repairs until November 2013 (our wedding is in October) so that went out the window. There really aren’t many other restaurants near our venue (though lots downtown, obviously).
My FI and I discussed just throwing a super laid-back pizza party (with gourmet pizza and wine, etc.) but we’re completely lost as to where to hold it. Our hotel only rents out meeting rooms if you agree to have them cater it, but at a minimum of $90/pp it’s not really the inexpensive route. I checked out the other hotel in the area and found their policies to be almost identical (they must cater it, cheapest catering is $90/pp).
We have no family that lives in the city and while we live here, our apartment is tiny and couldn’t accommodate 20 people.
I considered renting a pavilion and throwing a BBQ, but by the end of October the weather is not going to be nice for an outdoor evening dinner.
We’re really trying to keep costs down for this because we’re getting no financial help and are really trying to focus our money and efforts on throwing a beautiful wedding.
Post # 3
There isn’t another nice, but casual, restaurant in town that has a private room? Since your options are limited near the venue, I wouldn’t be shy about asking people to head downtown for dinner after.
Post # 4
Do you need to have a private room? A lot of restaurants can accomodate a group of 20, then you could just order off the regular menu without the additional charges for a private room. I went to a rehearsal dinner last week where the bride and groom did just that. We all had a good time.
Post # 5
@princess_r: Even the smallest towns have caterers. If you do not know one, then call the church secretary at a local church and ask if she knows of any: they may be local housewives who also cater various church events and, being known for it among their circle of customers, they may not see the need to advertise. In a larger town use the yellow pages to look up caterers and party companies. Then, call the caterer and explain what you want to her, and ask her for suggestions. Caterers serve meals in clubrooms, church halls, heritage sites, community centres, arenas, theatre party rooms, and any number of venues where rooms of different sizes can be rented. You might have to try one or two different caterers, but make notes of all their suggestions. Even if you decide to self-cater you may use one of their leads to find a room in which to hold your party, but you should be able to find a caterer to do the party with costs similar to the buffet you had originally planned.
Post # 6
Do you have a bowling alley? There have been a few posts in the past about bowling party rehearsal dinners where the guests had a fabulous time. They had pizza delivered.
Can you rent a suite in the hotel and host the party there? You can have any takeout you want delivered to your room and supply the wine yourself.
Post # 7
Does your apartment complex have a clubhouse? We are renting our neighborhood clubhouse and pool area to host our laid back cheap fun party of a rehearsal dinner for about 30 people. The local park idea is good and very affordable, if you can plan for weather.
Post # 8
For a party that small, you might ask a family member or a member of the briday party to host it at their home.