(Closed) Asking guests to pay for dinner the night before?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
Member
1809 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@fascinated: totally true!

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@Pumpkin_Bee:  OP, what about asking the hotel your guests will be staying at if there is a conference room or something (or a public park) you can use, and just ordering in pizza from someplace a little fancy? There was a restaurant in my home town called Mama Coza’s which made hands down the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. 🙂 If we were having our wedding there, I’d use them for a rehearsal dinner (jeeze, I might use them for the reception itself. Oh man… I want Mama Coza’s pizza now so bad…)

Post # 18
Member
615 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

What about something after dinner for everyone?  Like a party or happy hour at someone’s house?   We hosted a “happy hour” instead of hosting everyone for dinner.  It was at a hotel, so we had a hosted bar for 2 hours, but it was WAY cheaper than dinner.

Post # 19
Member
1775 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’ve been to three destination weddings… one at an all-inclusive resort where they did have a rehearsal dinner but since it was AI no one had to pay. Then two in other cities that don’t have all-inclusives. At both of those weddings we were invited to a dinner the night before but it was a very casual (email) invitation and was along the lines of we will be having dinner at this restaurant the night before the wedding, you are welcome to join but don’t feel obligated, kind of thing. Both times we went and both times everyone paid for themselves. It wasn’t a big deal at all!

I guess I’m way in the minority on this one!

 

Post # 21
Member
366 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

 

Do a low-budget and friendly…

 

We had the same situation, and finally just decided on a local pizzeria we loved. We reserved seating for 25 ppl, and ordered 6 different pies with toppings in advance, then let people select. It wound up being under $250 for everyone (including non-alcoholic drinks and garlic knots, etc). 

They also let us bring in a small cake as a surprise to my DH. 

Then everyone broke off to mingle –   Girls night out/bachelorette, guys night out/bachelor party, and the bride’s family for cocktails, groom’s side of family (together for once, as they are stretched across states) went out for drinks. 

Everyone seemed happy and grateful for the jeans/t-shirt atmosphere. 

Post # 22
Member
5360 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

Weird. I’ve been to TONS of weddings where I had to fly in. Any time there was a dinner invitation, I assumed I was paying unless otherwise stated. I went to a tiny Out of Town wedding two weekends ago, got an itinerary from the bride with 3 high end, super fancy meals listed and assumed I was paying for each and every one, including the lunch right after the ceremony that was sort of the reception. I was SHOCKED when dinner the night before and dinner later the day of the wedding were both paid for as well. SHOCKED. 

It would be super nice to pay for your friends’ dinners the night before, but I’m pretty sure they are traveling to hang out with you, not score free food. To me, it would be nicer to invite them to pay their own way and have a nice dinner together than to avoid them the night before because you can’t pay. That’s just silly. 

Post # 23
Member
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@orchidaloha:  I’m in the minority, too. I’d be perfectly fine with this.

Like OP said, out of town guests will have to buy their own dinner otherwise anyway. I’d love to have the option to have dinner with the bride and groom and other guests the night before the wedding, even if I had to pay for it myself. I have the option of going or not going. Sometimes a hosted dinner, even if it’s something as simple as pizza, can get expensive depending on how many people are coming, and we don’t know OP’s budget. But then again, I’m not of the opinion that guests should never, under any circumstances, open their wallets. Of course that’s ideal, but it’s not realistic for everyone. I also think it depends on the crowd and what they’re used to in these kinds of situations and what’s acceptable in their circle.

Post # 26
Member
1953 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Pumpkin_Bee:  I would take that wording to mean its just a casual thing thats not actually a wedding event and guests are paying for themselves. I see nothing wrong with that idea. Our church doesn’t do rehearsals the night before all rehearsals are done the Thursday before the wedding so for anyone to assume your referring to a rehearsal dinner is silly. To avoid any confusion you could hold a potluck at your home. Instead.

Post # 27
Member
1953 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Pumpkin_Bee:  The fact that you are not planning to send out formal invitations to the dinner should be clear enough to the guests that its not a hosted event. Just make sure you stick to word of mouth inviting.

Eta; a great alternative would be to get a space at the campground and have a bonfire. No chance of anyone making any assumptions.

Post # 28
Member
1908 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

I would have no problem paying for myself and based on that wording I would be at least prepared to pay for my own.

This was a huge issue with a close friend of mine. She was flying out to Las Vegas for her wedding. A lot of her friends said they would go to Vegas and just show up to hang out with her etc and go to the wedding. Her mother was insistent though that if people were flying out for the wedding that they had to host a dinner for them. The couple could not afford that so they ended up basically eloping with just their parents and siblings.

The only time I have felt it was rude were weddings I was in where they told me “The bridal party is meeting at 9am to get our hair done by a friend of the family” – then I showed up got my hair done and was told “Hey, it’s $40!”, the same thing with our nails too! That was over $100! I refused and said I would just get a basic manicure. They were pissed but I was not prepared to spend that much. Short of something like that though, I think you’re fine!

Post # 30
Member
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

OP I have been considering similar options. As we aren’t having a bridal party and it wasn’t a “must” in my book, we weren’t going to have a rehearsal dinner. Now I’m getting the feeling this is going to be expected of us by family; however just our family is about 75% of our guest list and we simply cannot afford the feed that many people twice. I’m have made it clear to anyone that asks that it is a dry reception and there are no plans for a rehearsal dinner. I’m hoping one of our parents will take care of this if it is really demanded. Other than that I don’t have a solution. I genuinely hope my Future Mother-In-Law took us seriously when we told her about the reception and lack of a rehearsal dinner. We shall see… I may end up just ordering pizza for everyone at my FMIL’s house; who knows!

Post # 31
Member
2393 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I think you should skip it altogether if paying is not an option.  I don’t think having a potluck is a good solution.  Not sure how people could travel and then prepare something to bring…

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