Post # 1
My Fiance and I are paying for our entire wedding, including rehearsal dinner and honeymoon all ourselves with no help from our parents at all. We are having a small wedding (50-75 guests), but are getting pretty much everything we want (open bar, good food, a beautiful modern venue, etc.). However, this leaves us with a very (VERY!) small budget for our rehearsal dinner of nearly 30 people. I’m not sure whether we should scale back on the wedding day to afford a nicer rehearsal dinner or just do a very casual backyard rehearsal dinner with panned food and plastic ware. Really, this was the plan all along, but if we go the backyard route, it would have to be at our house, and I’m not terribly keen on having to set up/clean the house the day before our wedding.
We can afford to have a casual sit down dinner at a restaurant, but in order to afford this, we will have to cut something from the wedding day. What’s more important?
I realize that the rehearsal dinner is held to thank everyone for helping and being a part of the wedding, but we only have so much $$$!
(edited to remove snarkiness)
Post # 3
I wish I had the more casual rehearsal dinner. I would have had more time to chat with the people there. I wnated that. I didnt want to get dressed up twice for two fancy events.
I wanted to louge and chat with my family and friends. Not sit primly eating my meal in a nice restaurant.
Post # 4
Girl – Go for the cheaper rehearsal dinner. We’re doing the backyard cookout/BBQ type thing. We’ll use paper plates and bowls and probably plastic silverware. We’ll probably have a keg and a margarita keg and that way everyone can relax. No one has to be fancy, just be relaxed and have a great night (but not TOO great of a night) before the wedding.
Can anyone in your bridal party? Family or friends help you clean up or set up before/after?
Good Luck. But don’t cut your wedding day back for a rehearsal dinner! You deserve everything you want on Yours and FH’s big day:)
Post # 5
less fancy rehearsal dinner = more relaxed bride. Do that!
Post # 6
Do you have to have 30 people there? That’s half the wedding! We also had a small wedding (55 guests), and our rehearsal dinner was only 14 people.
Regardless of that, do whatever YOU want. A rehearsal dinner by no means has to be fancy. On the other hand, if it would stress you out to have it at your house, it might be worth it to pay little more so that you don’t have to play hostess.
Post # 7
Thanks to everyone for the reassurance! I was perfectly fine with a casual Rehearsal Dinner until I started reading all this stuff on the internet about how this was a dinner to thank everyone so “You’d better pull the stops out or everyone will think you’re a cheap asshole”. Seriously. Not listing where that little gem came from though 😉
@Summy00: Yeah, we could round up some help; I was just trying to avoid everyone being super stressed the day before. But I guess if we’re not cooking, we should be fine 🙂
@mightywombat: I know, it’s ridiculous. The number is actually 27, not including us. This includes 3 sets of parents, 5 sets of siblings with spouses, and the bridal party and officiant. It IS half the wedding! I may try again to see if someone outside the party would be willing to host so it wouldn’t be at our house.
Post # 8
beer + pizza = my rehearsal dinner
(and i’m having your stereotypical banquet hall type wedding, so, no, this doesn’t “fit in” with the whole wedding. but i like beer. and pizza.)
Post # 9
I don’t understand fancy rehearsal dinners. Of course, I don’t really understand rehearsal dinners at all–I don’t know what they’re about or why we do them. My wedding party is almost entirely Out of Town, so… are they coming in early so we can rehearse the wedding, and then we take them out to dinner? Is that how it works? What if I can’t get into the wedding space before the wedding to rehearse? Do we rehearse in a field or something?
I am baffled. Please feel free to explain the whole shebang to me.
Post # 10
@kristophine: I believe RDs are traditionally done so that all the closest people to the bride and groom can meet (if they haven’t already), mingle, and relax before the wedding day. The dinner is also a “thank you” to people for being in and helping with your wedding. Gifts to the bridal party and parents are generally given during the Rehearsal Dinner, and there are usually toasts involved. The dinner follows a rehearsal at your venue, which would be arranged ahead of time with the venue, and are generally the day (or 2) before the wedding.
ETA: The Rehearsal Dinner is traditionally hosted by the groom’s family, back when the wedding was traditionally hosted by the bride’s family. It gave the chance for the groom’s family to host a big affair since everything else was paid for.
Post # 11
Definitely go more casual. And since it’s your family/wedding party, ask everyone to chip in with setup and cleanup…after all, it’s the people who love you best, they should want tohelp out 🙂
Post # 12
@cazian: Thanks! I appreciate the info. My main concern is that our (probable) venue is a park that does lots of weddings on weekends, and we’re probably looking at a Monday wedding. So I’m worried that they won’t be able to let us in on Sunday, because there might very well be a wedding there! So in that case, what’s the best way to accomplish the “rehearsal” portion of the rehearsal dinner?
Post # 13
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the backyard, laid back Rehearsal Dinner. Actually, I would much prefer that over the sit down dinner at a Mexican restaurant that we’re having. I totally get the hassle of having to clean up everything the day before the wedding (I certainly wouldn’t want to either) but if you keep it simple enough, there shouldn’t be too much of a mess. If you ask me, a couple pizzas, a few dozen wings, a tossed salad and some beer would more than suffice.
Post # 14
@kristophine: Our venue told us that sometimes the rehearsal has to be done a few days beforehand, depending on if they have another event scheduled for the night before our wedding, so I’d check with your venue and see if they’d let you come either sometime while they’re setting up for other weddings on the weekend. I’ve also heard of rehearsals done the morning of the wedding as well, though I’m not sure where that leaves the “dinner” part…
Post # 15
Definitely have the cheaper rehearsal dinner. I don’t think people really expect much from these and, having been to a bunch of my FI’s friend’s rehearsal dinners because he was a groomsmen, they aren’t that fun anyway. People are going to remember the wedding, not the rehearsal dinner.
Post # 16
In my first wedding, we had a combination, hall decorating/pizza party in lieu of a full rehearsal dinner. It was a blast. I imagine we will do very much the same, this time around.