Q: What are some cost-effective rehearsal dinner alternatives?- via the Woman Getting Married Facebook group
A: Rehearsal dinners can be a lot of different things, which is why they sometimes get a bad wrap. They can be formal sit-down dinners at a fancy restaurant. A buffet at a local favorite. Or somewhere in between. Before we get into the rehearsal dinner alternatives, here’s a few important things to note.
-Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, though if a couple is paying for their own wedding they might pick up this expense as well. Or it could be a situation where several parents/family members chip in.
-The rehearsal dinner is usually limited to both sets of your parents, your wedding party, any readers and users, immediate family and sometimes extended family (like aunts and uncles if you are close) as well as the officiant and their spouse. Inviting out of town guests can get trickier, especially if you’re having a destination wedding or an event where most people are flying in. If that’s the case let your budget decide.
If you still want to throw a wedding rehearsal “dinner,” but don’t want all the costs that can come with a white tablecloth restaurant, think about these wedding rehearsal alternatives instead. They all have food involved (something you really shouldn’t skip, especially if you’re serving refreshments/alcohol) but will help keep your budget in line.
A Welcome Cocktail Party
Invite a larger group of friends and family to your favorite bar for 2-3 hours after a small dinner of just your immediate family and wedding party, and include two drink tickets per person. It’s a great way to say hi to everybody, especially if you’re having a destination wedding but can’t afford to invite everybody to a dinner.
Wine Tasting (with cheese or other tasty apps included)
Limit your rehearsal to 10 people or less and invite them to a local cheese or wine shop for an intimate wedding rehearsal tasting. If you’re only serving light apps be sure to make it a pre-dinner event so those who are hungry after still have time to grab a bite!
This can be a really fun for smaller groups. After a small intimate dinner with your core rehearsal group, invite a larger group of friends and family to a bowling alley for snacks and drinks. You can have an open bar or choose to give each guest 2 drink tickets/each.
Taco Truck Party
If you live locally and you (or a friend/family member) have a good size backyard, a really inexpensive yet fun option is to hire a taco truck to make tacos for your guests. The price is usually extremely reasonable, so you might be able to invite 20+ people for a pretty good price. Serve signature homemade margaritas along with wine and beer for a really fun, pre-wedding evening.
Check out more fun rehearsal dinner alternatives here!