(Closed) Is a rehearsal dinner mandatory?

posted 3 years ago in Engagement
Post # 16
486 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I dont understand why you HAVE to host a dinner if you have a rehersal.  Doesn’t having dinner take…. like 10x longer than the rehersal?  


I’m going to try my luck and start demanding a thank you dinner every time I do someone close to me a favour…

Post # 17
2730 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Well, my case is a little different than yours. We’re not having a rehearsal, because the venue doesn’t do a rehersal the night before. They’ve said that they used to host them, but now they don’t because they’ve found them to be pointless, with everyone asking what to do the day of. So, anyway, they’re just going to have everyone but me do a run through an hour before the ceremony. However, despite this, FI’s family is still going to treat eveyrone to dinner the night before, just to spend time together.

Your options are to have everyone just come to your house after and have a casual pizza party type affair. Or to forego one. You could also in conversation mention that you were trying to decide if you are going to have one or not, and see what his parents say.

Post # 18
1340 posts
Bumble bee

You don’t have to have one if you don’t have a rehearsal. Otherwise you should provide something. We just ordered a bunch of pizza’s and soda. It wasn’t expensive.

Post # 19
1078 posts
Bumble bee

It’s not mandatory, but it is polite.  I was in a wedding once where the bride and groom were paying for everything and their rehearsal dinner was pizzas, soft drinks, and cookies in the church basement.  It couldn’t have cost more than $100 and everyone had a nice time.


Can you save $100 and go the pizza at the church route??

Post # 20
2266 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

I’m with  

View original reply
abwcmo :  & 
View original reply
heavenlyflower :  Rehearsals are pretty pointless if you ask me. It’s not opening night of Rent, it’s a wedding. Everybody should know the drill. 

While I agree it’s nice to make a gesture to feed everyone as a thank you for participating, it isn’t necessary. If you can make a big ol’ pot of spaghetti and call it good, you pull that off for a large group with very little cost. Have them back to your place. If that feels like too much, then just skip it altogether.


Post # 21
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017 - Sauk Valley Resort

I feel like if people are coming to rehearse for your wedding, it’s polite to feed them. Doesn’t have to be huge or super fancy, but something. We’re just doing pizza and then going to a bar close by and everyone will pay for themselves at the bar.

Post # 22
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I vote order pizza or skip the rehearsal!

Post # 23
7397 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Yes if you are planning on having an actual rehearsal. If you skip the rehearsal, you can skip the dinner.

Post # 24
2629 posts
Sugar bee

I think if you’re having a rehearsal then it’s the polite thing to do to provide dinner.. It’s usually a way to thank your wedding party for the work they’ve put in and for participating. It definitely doesn’t have to be a whole formal affair though, a BBQ or ordered pizza is just fine. 

Post # 25
2876 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

We didn’t have a rehearsal since our ceremony and reception were at the same venue and the venue was booked the night before our wedding.  Since all of DH’s family and friends came in from out of town, we did host a welcome dinner that night.  We had it at a local pizza place (since our city is known for its pizza) and had pitchers of beer and soda.  Dh’s parents offered to pay for it and it really wasn’t that expensive.  We had a blast.

To answer your question, if you are hosting a rehearsal, I think you do need to have something afterwards because those people are taking extra time out just for you.  You can even get a tray of sandwiches from Costco or Sam’s Club.  It doesn’t have to be fancy at all.

Post # 26
1186 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

If you are going to have people make a special trip to attending your rehearsal, travel early, take an extra day off work, etc, the least you can do is serve them pizza or something.  If you can’t afford that just don’t have a rehearsal and go over everything the morning of the wedding.

Post # 27
185 posts
Blushing bee

Yes, if you are having a rehersal, then you need to have a rehersal dinner. 


That being said, if you cannot afford one,  make it simple. 

For my boyfriends baptism (joined our church) many were fasting (vegan during lent) and did not want to spend a lot of money on pasta in a restaurant, wanted to be comfortable and socialize, didnt want everyone to leave right after lunch etc. Not to mention we would be at church from 730am to 1130am and would be starving!


I got our lunch catered from Olive Garden, I was a bit weary, but Maggianos was too far away and we needed something we could pick up immediately after church that was on our way home. 

I fed 30 people for $350 and it was SO much food! 3 different kinds of pasta, marinara, pesto, alfredo, chicken, sausage and meatballs (for those who were not fasting), salad and breadsticks. 

We also ordered 2 party pizzas from Fresh Brothers (for the kids), but Fresh Brothers is SO good and organic that a lot of the adults ate it as well. 

For dessert, we had a fruit tart (fasting approved) and a regular cake 🙂 

I decorated tables in our backyard – actually boughy bouquets from costco with sunflowers and split them up into mini mason jars with burlap and lace ribbon, and table runners to match. 

Got chalk for the kids to keep them occupied. It really was a great success for a little gathering. 

Anything is possible within a buget – just think outside the box. Keep in mind your bridal party, (im not sure if you paid for their dresses etc) got their dresses, shoes, will pay for hair and makeup (if you didnt pay for them) and will get your party started. Besides, they are the closest people to you.  That’s the very LEAST a bride/groom can do to show their appreciation. 


Why doesnt your family split the cost with the grooms family? 

Post # 28
998 posts
Busy bee

Nothing is mandatory except for death and taxes.  That said, it would be nice to do but I understand that as you get closer to the wedding you start getting fatigued from all the planning and spending money even if it is something as simple as ordering pizza.  To get around planning a full rehearsal dinner you could make rehearsal “optional” so that the wedding party doesn’t feel obligated to go.  

Aside from matters of etiquette, I do think the rehearsal dinner is a worthwhile endeavor.   I really valued mine because I got to spend some time with a smaller group of people before the wedding (where I think I got to speak to each guest for an average of 30 seconds each).  

Post # 29
3238 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
bellsprout :  🙄 Or you could try from the other perspective – when someone does you a favor, you could thank them. Sounds a lot nicer putting it that way since none of the bridal party are DEMANDING a dinner. But why wouldn’t you want to treat them politely?

Post # 30
2355 posts
Buzzing bee

View original reply
engie :  That’s assuming she has $350 to spend. I know we didn’t. 

I’m not sure where everyone gets their pizzas from but around here its usually at least 15 bucks and thats with cheese, none of the toppings. Unless you go the 5 dollar domianos route, but then why even bother? And then some people can’t eat pizza, myself included and my aunt. Then lets fight over the toppings. ughh. 

We did a rehersal because the majority of the wedding party, including my father, had never been in a wedding before. So we wanted a dry run. If you go to three weddings a year and have been in them since you were six, yeah OP you probably don’t need one. 

Then again I think its also important to note your social circle. Do they expect these things? I think mine would have been fine without a dinner even if they had to show up to the rehersal. 

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